UC Butte County Master Gardeners
University of California
UC Butte County Master Gardeners

The Real Dirt Blog

Using Integrated Pest Management to Control Slugs and Snails

Brown garden snail by Jack Kelly Clark

By Brent McGhie, Butte Coounty Master Gardener, April 21, 2017. Snails and slugs are similar in structure and biology, but snails have a characteristic spiral shell while slugs lack a shell.  They both chew irregular holes on a variety of plants, preferring to feed on succulent plant parts such as leaves and flowers as well as seedlings.  These pests will also feed on fruits that are close to the ground.  Snails and slugs require a moist habitat, so they are most active at night or on cloudy or foggy days.  They are also hermaphroditic, meaning every individual has the potential to mate and lay eggs.  Thus, slugs and snails have the potential for rapid...

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Planning Your Hardscape

Permeable hardscapes

By Eve Werner, Butte County Master Gardener, April 7, 2017. Hardscapes are the constructed features such as paths, patios and pergolas that make a landscape human-friendly.  Their permanent and relatively costly nature calls for careful planning before construction.  Here are some questions and suggestions to help in planning hardscape features for your yard: 1.  How you want to use the space?  Today's home landscapes reflect individual lifestyles.  Features such as shaded dining areas, private nooks for relaxing, fire pits, BBQ or cooking areas, and places for outdoor games and children's play can create a space that enhances household life.  For...

Posted on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Tomato Transplanting Tips

Transplanted tomato by Randy Swett

By Randy Swett, Butte County Master Gardener, March 24, 2017. It is time to think about transplanting your tomato seedlings.  Most tomato seedlings are ready to move from the seed starting trays and into a larger container when they are three to four inches tall and have three or more sets of leaves.  They should be transplanted into a larger container at least four weeks before planting outdoors so the root system has a chance to develop. The planting container should be at least four to five inches deep.  Recycled flower pots or even soda and coffee cups with a drain hole cut into the bottom can be used.  If transplanting into a recycled flower pot be sure it is...

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Mason Bees

Bee Boxes by Tom Hansen

By Carol Koenig, Butte County Master Gardener, March 3, 2017. As concern grows over the impact from the decline in the honey bee population, alternative pollinators are gaining attention. Mason bees, which are native to North America, are one option. These gentle natured bees do not produce honey but they excel at pollinating and are easy to raise. Mason bees look similar to house flies – they have black bodies and a dark blue iridescent sheen. One advantage for the family backyard is that the males do not have a stinger and the females will only sting if trapped or squeezed. The mason bee is a solitary bee which lives in natural cavities such as woodpecker holes or hollow...

Posted on Friday, March 3, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Echeveria and Sempervivum and Graptopetalum, Oh My!

Echeveria elegans

By Barbara Ott, Butte County Master Gardener, February 17, 2017. The current emphasis on water-wise gardening has created an interest in succulents.  All succulents are able to store water and food in their leaves, stems and roots.  These stored nutrients can be released when needed.  This makes them drought tolerant.  Succulents require good drainage, deep but intermittent water, bright light, and good air circulation.  The soil should be open and airy with low organic matter. Many gardeners grow succulents in the Crassulaceae family.  Among the most popular are Echeveria, Graptopetalum, Aeonium, and Sempervivum.  Echeveria, Graptopetalum, and...

Posted on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Fruit Scarring of Nectarines

Nectarine scarring by Western Flower thrips.

Brent McGhie, Butte County Master Gardener, February 3, 2017. Do you have a nectarine tree that has a history of producing scarred misshapen fruit? If so, the damage to the fruit is probably caused by western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) and the time to think about controlling these pests is sooner rather than later. Western flower thrips are tiny insects. Adults are only 0.8 – 1.4 mm long. They range in color from dark brown in the spring to a lighter white and yellow form that is prevalent during the rest of the year. They are hard to spot because of their minute size and their habit of sheltering inside flower and leaf bud scales. Thus, a history of thrips-damaged...

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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Oroville, CA 95965

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