- Author: Mary Louise Flint
When people move wood from place to place, they may also be moving invasive insects and diseases that threaten California's landscape and wildland trees. The goldspotted oak borer, which is devastating native oaks in San Diego, was likely brought there from Arizona in firewood. The polyphagous shothole borer, walnut twig beetle and thousand cankers disease, and the pathogen causing sudden oak disease, all continue to spread to new areas on infested wood chips, plant debris, or wood moved for woodworking or firewood.
Over the past year, the California Firewood Task Force has asked the public to "buy it where you burn it"—that is, don't bring wood from home when you camp, do use wood from local sources, and leave leftover wood at the campsite for the next camper. Even if wood does not appear to have borer holes or other evidence of pests, don't assume that the wood is pest free. Be on the safe side and don't move it.
The California Forest Pest Council established the Task Force in 2011 to educate Californians about what they can do to prevent movement of invasive pests in wood. The Task Force developed a Web site, put up billboards across California, sponsored children's activities at parks and fairs, encouraged campgrounds to sell only local firewood, gave presentations across the state, and developed best management practices, posters, and other information to engage the public.
For more information visit www.firewood.ca.gov
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
Annual reappointment is a requirement for all volunteers working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Please read this update thoroughly and direct any questions regarding the appointment process to your program's Master Gardener / Master Food Preserver Coordinator, Advisor or County Director.
Reappointment starts May 12, the process for reappointment can be done in three easy steps!
Step One: Select “Complete Agreement Now” in VMS
- Log into VMS, https://ucanr.org/mg
- Select “Complete Agreement Now” from prompt box at top of VMS home screen
Step Two: Complete all three sections to fulfill county requirements for participation
Step Three: Verify Date Completed Displays and Print a Copy for your Records
Quick Tips and FAQ's:
Who must complete the reappointment process?
The Appointment process is mandatory for all UCCE Master Gardeners / Master Food Preservers, including:
- Limited Active
- Gold Badge
- Platinum Badge
How many hours do I need to volunteer for reappointment?
The minimum hours required to remain a certified Master Gardeners / Master Food Preservers are:
- 25 hours - Volunteer
- 12 hours - Continuing education
Note: First year Master Gardeners / Master Food Preservers are required to complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours (no continuing education requirement) before the next certification cycle.
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
Despite recent rain in California, the state has experienced record dry conditions with the potential to result in an explosive wildfire season. California has declared May 4 -10, 2014 “Wildfire Awareness Week,” urging residents to prepare homes for potential wildfires.
"Creating and maintaining Defensible Space is critical for the protection of homes," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. "It has never been more critical to strengthen our fire prevention efforts in light of the elevated fire conditions we have been experiencing in California. We have increased our inspection staffing and now we need the public to make sure they, too, are prepared for the increased fire risk due to drought."
Homeowners can easily create a defensible space to help protect their home and improve the homes chance of surviving a wildfire through easy maintenance practices. A minimum defensible space of 100 feet around your home is required by California law (Public Resources Code 4291). Check with your local fire department for specific defensible space requirements in your area.
Creating a 100 foot defensible space around the home is oftentimes the easiest and most effective first line of defense in protecting a home against wildfires. According to Landscaping Tips to Help Defend your Home from Wildfire, the goal of the law is to protect your home while providing a safe area for firefighters.
Create a Lean, Clean and Green Zone
A buffer between structures and trees, grass and shrubs and helps slow or stop the spread of wildfire. Break the property surrounding your home down into two zones:
Zone one extends 30 feet* out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate wood piles into Zone 2.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
* San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in zone one. Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
Prepared homeowners are not only protecting their property but also providing a safe environment for firefighters responding to the call of duty. Visit California Garden Web or ReadyforWildfire.org for more information about preparing your home for wildfire season and fire-resistant landscaping.
- Author: Aubrey Bray
This in-depth publication provides research based information for individuals interested in adopting sustainable landscape practices. These practices include: plant selection, water conservation, pest management and providing wildlife habitats.
The free publication contains helpful figures, photos, and references for individuals looking for detailed and more complex information. “Sustainable Landscaping in California” can be a powerful tool for new volunteers working at a helpdesk or for developing workshop content or use in a presentation.
The sustainable landscaping publication is available as a free downloadable Adobe PDF from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Catalog. Don't forget to check-out some of the other high-quality gardening publications available. Ask a local UCCE office about publication discounts for volunteers!
One of the most profound ways in which UC touches people's lives is through the work of Cooperative Extension.– Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
UC Cooperative Extension launches its first crowd-sourced science project on May 8 to commemorate the organization's 100thanniversary! On May 8, 1914, the president signed an act of Congress to channel scientific advances from university research to everyday people working and living in the United States. On May 8, 2014, California residents will collaborate on a dataset that further connects public higher education with community.
“UC Cooperative Extension is all about science and service,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which administers Cooperative Extension in California. “To celebrate the anniversary of Cooperative Extension, we are asking Californians to help us collect scientific data so that all of us will better understand our natural, agricultural and urban communities.”
How to participate
Everyone in California is invited to take part. To participate, go to http://beascientist.ucanr.edu and record your observations on three questions:
- How many pollinators do you see?
- How do you conserve water?
- Where is food grown in your community?
Many UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Programs are holding special events on May 8 where the public may join in the celebration of science and service. Participants can easily access and record observations using a mobile device with Internet connection.
Spread the word, #BeaScientist
Help spread the word. Share images, events and encourage friends and family to participate on May 8th using social media. Include the hashtag #BeaScientist in your posts!/span>