SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture is joining with government partners, NGOs and private industry to celebrate the inaugural California Soils Week, scheduled to correspond with World Soils Day on December 5, 2017 but also including events in northern and southern California from December 4 to December 7.
The week's theme is “Healthy Soils, Healthy Lives,” in recognition of the fact that California's soils help feed the world, conserve water, improve air quality, and fight climate change.
“California Soils Week will highlight all the remarkable gifts healthy soils have to offer,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We hope that by telling the story of California soil we can help Californians better understand how vital it truly is.”
The events for California Soils Week are as follows:
Monday, December 4 (Kickoff Day) – Viewing Healthy Soils information panels at State Capitol; 10 am, outside of governor's office.
Tuesday, December 5 (World Soils Day) – International webinar on climate smart agriculture to discuss the barriers, strategies and success stories related to soil health; 9 am – 11 am. Join athttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5217479928986888962
Legislative briefing on Healthy Soils at State Capitol, room 317, 3 pm.
Wednesday, December 6 (Food Waste and Compost Day) – Soil drop/compost education outreach to legislature, State Capitol, 9 am – 10:30 am.
Compost and farm tour for legislative staff – 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Jepson Prarie Organics, Vacaville, CA (Media contact – Robert Reed, 415-606-9183); Sierra Orchards, Winters, CA.
Thursday, December 7 (Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Day) – Urban Farm Tour, 11 am, GrowGood Farms, 5600 Mansfield Wy. Bell, CA.
Note – Social media postings for the week will be identified with #CASoilsWeek, #Healthy, #Soil.
–California Department of Food and Agriculture
In most coastal areas of California, avocados are grown in hilly areas up against wildlands. This is done for various reasons, often for improved frost control amongst other reasons. It also puts them near areas that are home to bobcats, bears, mountain lions, coyotes and increasingly with the Invasive Shot Hole Borer that carries Fusarium Dieback that can affect avocados. The Santa Monica Mountains Resource Conservation District which abuts and includes many orchards has been monitoring for the ISHB borer along with two other borers that affect coast live oak. These studies are focused on the riparian and wildlands areas, but will give some idea of the pest movement towards orchards This is a wonderful example of the collaboration of volunteers and various organizations involved in the better understanding and management of this and other invasive pests.
Click on the link RCD Santa Monica Mountains below to read the report.
So if you have lemons, read this. And if we have rain, really read this. I think because we prune lemons so much, this is more of a lemon problem, because I've never heard of other citrus getting it. It is a wood decay fungus on a lot of other tree species, though. Does anyone know what "sambuci" translates as?
Chlorotic, undersized, sparse leaves and branch dieback are common symptoms of wood decay fungi infecting roots, the basal trunk (root crown), or limbs. These fungi include Armillaria mellea, Hyphoderma sambuci, Ganoderma spp., and Oxyporus spp. These fungi are called white rots because they often cause decayed wood to become soft and white or yellow. Brown rots, such as those caused by Antrodia sinuosa and Coniophora spp., primarily decay cellulose and hemicellulose. They leave behind the brownish wood lignin, which is usually dry and crumbly.
Wood decay fungi produce fruiting bodies on the bark, root crown, or stumps or growing from soil near trunks. Fruiting bodies may be obvious toadstool- or umbrella-shaped mushrooms like those of Armillaria spp. or large and shelflike as with Ganoderma spp. Oxyporus spp. produce bracket-shaped, seashell-shaped, or thin and pale fruit bodies. Some decay fungi, such as Antrodia and Hyphoderma spp., form relatively inconspicuous crusts on infected bark. Fruiting bodies produce numerous tiny spores that spread in wind or splashing water.
Decay fungi initiate infections when their spores contact injured tissue on living trees, such as wounds from pruning, vertebrate chewing, or infection sites of Phytophthora or other pathogens. Decay fungi can colonize stumps and infect through root grafts to adjacent trees. Spores landing on dead limbs initiate infections that spread to the attached living wood. Most decay fungi are saprophytes that can only grow on severely stressed or injured hosts, or they must first produce substantial inoculum on dead wood.
Avoid wood decay by providing trees with good growing conditions and optimal cultural care to promote vigorous tree growth. Protect bark from injury. Avoid making large wounds (such as pruning cuts), especially during the rainy or foggy season. When a tree is cut down or disease is spreading from an infected tree (such as by root contact), remove the entire tree—including the stump and major roots.
If it rains or we finally have some Valley/Tule Fog or if we have a winter with heavy dew and you have lemons, read further about Hyphoderma sambuci.
Hyphoderma gummosis is reported in the field only on lemon. It occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and coastal growing areas. This wood decay fungus causes branch wilting and dieback that ultimately results in tree death. It cannot infect its host through intact bark. To initiate infections, it requires injuries such as pruning wounds. Spores colonize exposed wood and during moist conditions produce new infections. A crust of pink to white fungal growth of Hyphoderma sambuci appears around infected wounds after wet weather.
Provide good cultural care that encourages vigorous tree growth. Prevent irrigation water from directly wetting bark. Avoid wounding bark. When pruning trees, wait at least one month after the end of the rainy season before making cuts, because Hyphoderma basidiospores require moist conditions to survive and cause infections. Prune out all infected wood during dry conditions and remove it from the orchard.
Plant Shield is a product of an antagnonistic fungus - Trichoderma harzianum- that can be painted on wounds to prevent this gummosis. It's best to just avoid pruning in wet weather, though.
photo: Crusty pink fruiting bodies and wet area on lemon branch
The whole group of plants we lump under the taxonomic classification of citrus are really changeable. It's out of this changeability that we get new varieties. Some of these can be quite fanciful, almost dream like fruit which is where the origin of the name chimera comes from. Buddha's Hand is a pretty dream-like fruit.
These changes are a genetic mutation that occurs in a branch or twig, and if that tissue survives, it can produce new shoots (called sports or chimera) with characteristics different from the those of the mother tree. These mutations can affect the color of the rind or pulp or the shape of the fruit.
Leaves on these twigs can have a different shape or size have a variegated color.
Mutations can cause the development of multiple buds, creating bunchy growth or “witches' broom.”
A chimera can produce an improved crop: some of today's cultivars were propagated from chimeras, such as the variegated pink lemon.
Usually sports are of inferior quality and should be avoided as propagation material. Prune sports that obstruct normal growth or interfere with harvest.
But some of them are so weird you just want to keep them around. This one showed up on one and only one tree branch in a lemon orchard. It looks like citrus scab, sort of, but on only one branch of one tree.
Some of the changes that you see in a tree can also be symptoms of a whole lot of other problems, like nutrients, Huanglongbing or herbicide damage. Check out some of the symptoms:http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/C107/m107bpfruitdis.html
Some chimeras are yet to be found out. This image of spiral tattooing showed up for several years ago in a Meyer lemon orchard. It was erratic and inconsistent in a tree, not typical of a chimera. The orchard was finally removed because it wasn't making money. Now it just seems like a dream and will never know if it was a true chimera.
Growers are looking for alternative crops and drought tolerant ones are better than water intensive ones, right? So, here's a recent question from someone who wants to grow the latest, new food crop. “What about growing a drought tolerant (in fact, it doesn't need any water) cactus fruit that will make money?” Cool.
My first response is that it should do no harm. That should be a mantra when it comes to food, especially in this age of hyper-food safety vigilance. People are clever, though and foods that might be dangerous are often produced so that they can be eaten by most people. We do have acorns with tannic acid that need to be leached if you don't want to get severely sick. Olives that need to be processed to edible. Puffer fish that with a wrong slice of the knife can kill you. There are any number of other foods that people have figured out a way to safely eat.
Rumpa is cactus fruit from Chile that has a lot going for it – high nutrient content, high polyphenolic antioxidants, high C, small seeds like kiwi and pitahaya, and tada, drought resistant for our drought prone state. So, it's a cactus, yeah, but it doesn't have the teeth crunching seeds of opuntia cactus fruit – the tunas or prickly pear – that can scare some people. Too vigorous chomping on the wondrously flavored prickly pear fruit leads to the small, hard seeds. Shocking, although they are safe to swallow, mostly.
There are spines, but the fine spines on the rumpa fruit surface can be removed by rubbing on an abrasive surface. Not too vigorously, though since the fruit is quite delicate. This would be the same for the tuna fruit, too. You can get rid of those spines with rubbing, too. So, eating the rumpa should be relatively safe.
The safety issue pops up with the spines on the stems. They are wicked thorns that protect the fruit with all the defenses needed to protect fruit in a hostile environment. This is going to be a tough fruit to harvest. Which may add to it glamour, like puffer fish. Although in this case, it's not the consumer who is taking the risk, but the harvester.
Or you could grow dragon fruit, which is a cactus relative, which has no spines on the fruit and a few on the modified stem/leaves. It's got entirely edible, beautiful seeds. The right variety of dragon fruit can be quite tasteful, although many are quite bland.
So back to the question posed by the grower. If it's safe to eat, do you want to grow it?
According to Francisco Meza in the link below (google translation):
“Its fruits, called rumbas, have a bitter taste similar to lemon, but less tart, which would prevent them from being consumed fresh. However, thanks to its nutritional qualities, such as a high content of vitamin C, and good flavor once sweetened, could be used in the processing of processed foods such as jams, juices and drinks. But that's not all, since according to experts it can also be used in the manufacture of cosmetics.”
So, the advantage California coastal ag has is its climate. That's the competitive advantage. If it can be grown cheaper, processed and shipped here from somewhere else, it's not going to work competitively here. It's hard enough competing with similar climates like Mexico's and Chile's where the shipping becomes a problem for perishables. But that is being dealt with and it's becoming hard for out-of-season coastal blueberry growers to compete with imported fruit in the season that the coast has dominated for the last several years.
So grow rumba/rumpa/copao in Ventura commercially? It's safe to eat. But it doesn't sound like something that you gotta have….now. It sounds like it needs to be jazzed up, which means processing. It's hard to pick. And the market needs to be developed. So, it's probably not a good idea to grow it commercially on the coast.