- Editor: Pamela M. Geisel
- Author: Aubrey Bray
I love the taste of summer. For me the taste of summer is that first charcoal-grilled hot dog of the season, sun brewed iced tea, and the big bowl of slightly chilled cherries that is always present at summer BBQs. If you are about to start collecting your summer bounty of beautiful, red ripe cherries be aware that this year might not be the bumper crop you expected due to one pesky little problem.
Spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is a fruit fly that infests soft-fleshed fruit such as cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. A native of Japan, SWD found its way to California in 2008 and has been giving commercial and home gardening operations problems ever since. Unlike its relatives, SWD attacks fruit as it ripens as well as damaged or overripe fruit. This is due to the female’s serrated ovipositor that allows her to literally saw into healthy, intact fruit to lay eggs. Females oviposit or “sting” healthy ripening fruit and deposit 1-3 eggs per sting site, and can go on to sting many more times. Eggs hatch and grow into maggots that feed on the fruit, turning it brown and soft.
Bill Krueger, Farm Advisor and County Director for Glenn County Cooperative Extension, found SWD on his cherries this week. He identified the pest on an early-ripening variety, but hopes he’ll be able to protect his second variety that ripens a little later. He's lucky to have caught it, as most backyard gardeners won't see the microscopic punctures or other signs of SWD until it is too late.
Because SWD infest healthy fruit it is essential to identify early and take appropriate measures. Waiting until harvest to spray or take other measures will not be of any use because maggots are already in the fruit. Some management options highlighted in “Pest Notes” a publication of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management System Program, include: securing a fine mesh netting over whole plants pre-ripening to exclude adult females, early harvest to reduce exposure, and spraying organic insecticide spinosad (“Monterey Garden Insect Spray”) 2-3 weeks before harvest just as fruit turns from yellow to pink. Another application may be needed 7-10 days later.
For more information about SWD identification and management options see the UC IPM Pest Notes.
- Editor: Pamela M. Geisel
- Author: Aubrey Bray
Hello, everyone! I wanted to take a second to meet all of you. My name is Aubrey Bray and I am the new Program Representative for the Statewide Master Gardener Program. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of such an incredible organization!
A little about me….I was born and raised in Lake Isabella, CA a quaint little town nestled in the Sierra foothills. I found my love for agriculture through high school agriculture classes and the FFA. I attended Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and received a B.S. in Agricultural Business. While at Cal Poly, I discovered my love for gardening through numerous Horticulture classes and competing with the floral design team. Living in a small studio on the Central Coast has limited me to container gardening for the past 5 years, but my husband and I are excited to move to Red Bluff and put down roots—literally and figuratively! I love my puppy “Tule,” any sort of outdoor activity, and learning new things. I truly feel that this position will allow me to pursue the things that I am passionate about and can’t wait to get into the thick of it all!
Speaking of which, I’ll be taking a little tour over the next month or so to visit county programs. I am looking forward to meeting all of you and visiting some of your programs in the next few weeks to get a glimpse of what Master Gardeners looks like at the local level.
So tell me, what is your favorite thing about Master Gardeners?
- Contact: Pam Geisel
- Author: Sam Foushee
This is the first of a series of short articles about the benefits Alameda County Master Gardeners have received from the establishment of a statewide office and the hiring of a statewide coordinator in 2006. We were very fortunate to be able to hire Pam Geisel, a longtime farm dvisor and local MG coordinator in Fresno County for this role. She has been excellent-- knowledgeable, politically savvy, foward-thinking and very competent. I have had the privilege of serving on a state advisory committee to Pam the past four years and have been able to see from the inside just how she and her office work to support and improve all county programs.
Of the many benefits that can be credited to the state office and coordinator, I think the one that has directly impacted me and all ACMGs the most has been the creation of the Volunteer Management System (VMS). There are still a number of us who remember what it was like pre-VMS. It seems now that our previous recordkeeping system for hours and contacts, our ability to schedule events and activities and our ability to commuicate with one another was like something out of the Stone Age. And the VMS, thanks to our statewide office, keeps improving to meet our needs even better. Currently they are working on version 3.0, which should be done in the next 3-6 months.
Anyone else remember our Stone Age past? Are you looking forward to the new VMS system?
- Author: Pamela M. Geisel
- Author: Chuck Ingels
This year was a tough year for the peaches and nectarines. It seemed that even though we sprayed with a copper oil spray and with a registered fungicide at the right time, the PLC was very noticeable on the trees this spring. Treating now is useless as is pulling off the infected leaves. Never the less, many people do it because it makes them feel better and they don't see the infected leaves anymore. Chuck Ingles on the other hand is trying to do something about it! He has been working on methods that home gardeners may use to thwart PCL withouit the use of the chemical recently removed from sale to home gardeners, specifically Lime Sulfur and the copper fungicide Microcop. The only fungicide products left for treating peach leaf curl are those containing lower levels of copper (such as Liqui-Cop), copper soap, and the non-copper synthetic fungicide chlorothalonil. Because the level of copper is quite low in these products they are not as effective as Microcop was. Chuck conducted the trial at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center demonstration orchard (and one tree in a private yard) to determine what works best for controlling peach leaf curl now that the most effective products are no longer available.
The treatments that Chuck used included: Lime sulfur, Liquicop, Concern Copper Soap Plus Oil, Agribon medium weight row cover fabric, Agribon plus Liquicop, Kelp Extract
The results: Compared to untreated branches, those treated with Liqui-Cop averaged about 70% control, copper soap 80% control, and Agribon by itself just under 60% control, but these treatments were not statistically different. Agribon generally kept the branches dry, although some moisture was evident after heavy rains. Two treatments provided nearly complete control: (1) Agribon plus Liqui-Cop, and (2) lime sulfur (late fall) followed by Microcop (late winter). Maxicrop (kelp) did not work at all and substantially increased the severity on some of the branches.
The two liquid copper products have fairly similar efficacy—they improved control and perhaps sufficiently, but still not great. The control achieved, although resulting in some unsightly damage, is probably enough to allow the tree to produce good shoot growth with enough healthy leaves to nourish the rapidly growing young fruit. Agribon likely allowed some rain to penetrate to the branches. It may be best held up with a post in the middle to allow rain to run off down the sloped sides rather than having a flat surface on top, but it must be fastened securely because of strong winds. Agribon plus Liqui-Cop worked quite well, probably because the fairly good control with Liqui-Cop was enhanced by drier conditions. The combination of lime sulfur (in late fall) followed by Microcop (in late winter) was highly effective, as expected. Normally only one of these products was used for both fall and winter applications, but insufficient product was available for both. Maxicrop (kelp), even sprayed eight times, provided no control at all.
For more details on Chuck Ingels Peach Leaf Curl Trials, go to the Sacramento County Website at: http://cesacramento.ucdavis.edu/Pomology/____Tree_Fruit_Crops/2012_Peach_Leaf_Curl_Trial_at_the_Fair_Oaks_Horticulture_Center/
- Author: Pamela M. Geisel
- Contributor: Janet Hartin
As a long-term UCCE environmental horticulture advisor, I would like to express my appreciation to Master Gardener Program Director Pam Geisel and Program Representative James Sigala for providing outstanding statewide leadership.
In a mere six short years under Pam’s direction, the UC ANR Master Gardener program has received $ 300,000 in grants that provided support to the CA Garden Web; updates to the Backyard Orchard; the FAQ system; outreach materials such as posters and tips; sustainable landscape ‘train the trainer’ workshops and PowerPoint presentations; ‘Your Sustainable Backyard Training’ (in collaboration with CCUH); a SARE grant to support further sustainable landscape training; and, a recent ANR competitive grant to develop and extend training in edible landscapes across the state.
A great example of what the statewide Master Gardener office has accomplished is the formation and regular updating of timely information found on the CA Garden Web website (http://ucanr.org/sites/gardenweb). If you haven’t taken a look at it for awhile, it’s well worth a visit. The website serves as a portal for organizing and extending the University of California's vast collection of research-based information pertaining to home horticulture. Information focuses on sustainable gardening practices and includes how to select and maintain edibles as well as ornamentals. Be sure to take time to scroll down to the ‘Advice to Grow By – Ask Us!’ feature which includes questions and answers that you are very likely to encounter in your county.
While the tremendous service the statewide Master Gardener program provides is evident up and down the state, it’s important to note that although UC ANR provides some hard funding to support the statewide Master Gardener office, support for the statewide MG office at the local level is crucial, as well. At our recent statewide Master Gardener steering committee meeting, we discussed priority needs at the statewide level such as the development of online training modules; several additional continuing education WebEx’s; updating the Volunteer Management System, and many other dynamic enhancements. We also discussed potential mutually beneficial strategies to provide funding support for both local programs and the statewide office. Stay tuned for updates on this important topic and ways in which your voice can be heard.
Environmental Horticulture Advisor
San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties