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UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County

UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County

Master Gardener Training Interest

Want to learn more about the Master Gardener Training for 2018?

See the Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County Training webpage for more information.

University of California Cooperative Extension Central Sierra

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Gardening Tips for October

  • Clean out flower and vegetable gardens to discourage diseases and pests from overwintering in your beds.
  • Rake leaves from ditches to make way for the rain that's coming.
  • Re-program drip system timers for cooler weather and rain.
  • Update your garden journal, noting what worked and what didn't work.  Look around at the fall color you might want to plant for next year
  • Mulch or mow leaves on your lawn and add to your compost pile - either an existing one or a new one.
  • Apply a thick layer of compost to enrich your soil for spring planting.
  • Apply mulch to bulbs and tubers left in the ground.
  • Deadhead spent flowers.
  • Lift tuberous begonias.
  • Lift and divide dahlias, dust with sulfur before storing.
  • Divide lilies.
  • Cut back and divide spent perennial phlox asters.
  • Cover compost bins with plastic tarps once the rains begin.
  • Clean out bird houses and bird feeders.
  • Cut old berry canes and tie the new canes to support wires. It's easy to identify the old canes now - they're turning brown.
  • Finish pruning any fruit trees after the last fruit is removed.
  • Check dates of Master Gardener classes.

Get more of this month's tips...

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Have a Gardening Question?

Contact the Master Gardener Hotline: 209-533-5912 or fill out the "Ask a Master Gardener" online form.

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Have a turf lawn in the summer-dry foothills?  Go to to learn how to test your sprinkler output.

Calendar of Events

Event Name


UC Davis Lecture by Science Journalist Richard Harris: Why You Shouldn't Miss This
Posted 10/20/2017 - "Biomedical science was not always the hypercompetitive rat race that is has become in recent years. Consider the story of Charles Darwin, as he developed his theory of evolution through natural selection. That discovery became the organizing principle of biology. And the story of how it arose bears almost no resemblance to the way biology and medicine advance today. Darwin spent decades gathering observations and gathering his thoughts….He pored over collections of insects...” So...

Musical Flowers: Jockeying for Position
Posted 10/19/2017 - You've heard of "musical chairs," that anxiety-driven elimination game involving chairs, music and players.  When the music stops and a chair is eliminated, the players race for the remaining seats. No one wants to be the first loser. Well, insects, too, play "musical chairs," but with flowers as chairs. The music: the flapping or buzzing of insect wings. Such was the case this week as two syrphid flies, aka hover flies or flower flies, kept jockeying for the same Mexican sunflower...

Autumn's Majesty: Tithonia
Posted 10/18/2017 - If there's any flower that should be crowned "Autumn's Majesty," that would be the Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), aka "Torch."A member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae), it carries "the torch of life" throughout spring, summer and autumn, but it's especially important in autumn when few plants offer sustenance to insects, especially to migrating monarchs.  The colorful annual has been blooming in our yard since April, reaching 10-to 15-foot heights (thanks, drip irrigation)....

Why This UC Davis Course Is Sweet
Posted 10/17/2017 - "The bee hive is the ultimate home sweet home," Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center,  told the crowd at the Western Apicultural Society's 40th annual conference, held in early September at UC Davis. She's right. Just as birds maintain a "home tweet home,"  honey bees and honey connoisseurs insist on a "home sweet home." But how much do we know about honey? We know that European colonists brought the honey bee to Jamestown in 1622 and we know that a...

The Amazing Bee-Parasite Research of Leslie Saul-Gershenz
Posted 10/16/2017 - Evolutionary ecologist Leslie Saul-Gershenz goes places where many have been but few have ever really seen.  Bees and blister beetles, yes. We remember writing about her work in April of 2013 when she addressed the Nor Cal Entomology Society (now folded) about her research on how blister beetle nest parasites cooperate to mimic the sex pheromone of a digger bee. She had just returned from the Mojave National Preserve, tracking the solitary bee Habropoda pallida and its nest parasite, a...

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