Master Gardener News Blog
Everything's coming up Roses!
By Jackie Woods UCCE Master Gardener
I love roses and would like to plant a few in my landscape. What basic information should I know before I begin this journey? Cynthia M., Paso Robles.
Roses… a timeless symbol of love, sympathy or gratitude; an esthetically pleasing-to-the-eye flower that oftentimes produce intoxicating fragrances loved by many. There are over a hundred species of roses and thousands of different cultivars or varieties. Roses are easy to grow and, with a basic understanding of that they require, any garden enthusiast can be successful with growing them in their gardens.
There are many different varieties of roses. Hybrid tea roses are a large bloom on a long stem. (Double Delight, Mister Lincoln.) Grandiflora are a combination of Hybrid tea and floribunda and can have one bloom per stem or cluster of blooms on a stem. (Gold Medal, Queen Elizabeth) Floribundas are shorter bushes with shorter cluster blooms but will sometimes bloom singularly. (Iceberg, Betty Boop.) Polyanthas are small bushes with clusters that are approximately one inch in diameter. (China Doll, The Gift.) Other varieties include miniature, miniflora, tree, shrub and climbing roses.
Roses can be purchased in bare root or plant form. Bare root roses are dormant, soil-less, leafless plants that are usually packed in moist sawdust for ease of storage and shipment. With our mild Central Coast climate, the best time to plant roses is in early spring. Pruning of existing rose plants should be done at the end of winter or in January- February with clean, sharp pruners. Cuts should be made ¼ inch above the bud eyes. Throughout their growing months, prune off dead leaves, spent rose heads and sucker shoots as needed. Feed roses in early spring and again in early summer.
If you want to know more about growing roses, please join us at the UCCE Master Gardener's Advice to Grow By workshop on Saturday, October 21, 2017 in our demonstration garden at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, 10:00 am to noon. Please visit our website to register at http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/. If inclement weather, please meet in the auditorium. If you would like to walk through our demonstration garden, docents will be available after the workshop until 1:00 p.m.
By Polly Nelson UCCE Master Gardener
Some of the fruit on my navel orange tree splits before it ripens. What's happening? Nell P., SLO
The problem is likely caused by the internal pressure inside the orange increasing more than the rind can handle, so the fruit splits like an over-inflated tire. It usually occurs in green fruit between September and November. Drought-stressed navel oranges are affected; other orange varieties not so much. This may be because the split usually starts at the navel end, the thinnest part of the rind. The split can be short and shallow, or deep and wide. Fortunately, it is not caused by pests or diseases. Fruit split is likely the result of stress to the tree. One or more environmental and cultural conditions contribute to the problem, including extreme temperature changes, wind, humidity, insufficient soil moisture, and potassium deficiencies. Hot weather, especially with winds, causes the tree to take water from young fruit, softening it. If the tree is then irrigated heavily, the dehydrated fruit swells, causing the rind to split. Most susceptible are young or dwarf varieties with small, shallow root systems, or trees grown in sandy soils that don't retain sufficient moisture.
Factors you can control include irrigation and fertilizer applications. Consider the age of the tree and the weather when deciding how much and how often to water. Younger trees need to be irrigated more frequently because their developing root systems dry out more quickly than older trees. Check the moisture of the soil below one inch to decide if the tree needs water. Follow the weather forecast and prepare to irrigate before hot windy days, then irrigate lightly for a few days if needed. Apply irrigation to a large area of soil around the tree while keeping the base of the tree trunk dry. If trees are fertilized, water first, apply according to the label instructions and water afterwards. Do not over-fertilize. Consider smaller monthly applications of quick-release fertilizer from February through May instead of a single large application. Time-release fertilizers conveniently supply nutrients at an even rate throughout the growing season.
Remove and discard damaged fruit to prevent unwanted insects and the spread of bacteria, and fungi.
For more information go to: http://ucanr.edu/repository/a/?get=54110
Controlling Asian Citrus Psyllid
By Leonard Cicerello UCCE Master Gardener
Is Asian citrus psyllid still a problem for citrus in California? Greg, Los Osos
Efforts to detect the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in California, including San Luis Obispo County, is ongoing. These psyllids can infect trees with Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease which can kill trees in about five years. The most recent HLB find was confirmed in Riverside County in July 2017. The psyllid has been found in various locations in San Luis Obispo County, however, HLB has not.
Both commercial orchards and citrus trees in yards and other landscapes are equally at risk. County Ag departments continue to hang yellow sticky traps on citrus trees in urban areas and in commercial orchards and check regularly for signs of the pest. They also inspect flushes of new growth, the preferred location for ACP.
If you have a citrus tree in your yard or commercial landscape, you can help. Volunteer to have a sticky trap placed in your tree if one is not yet in place. Call the County Ag Commissioner's office at 805-781-5910 and sign up for the trapping program.
Inspect your trees regularly for any signs of feeding damage and the psyllid. Look for new flush that's twisted. Look for eggs, nymphs and waxy tubules among that twisted new growth. Look for feeding adults that sit at a 45 degree angle with their head down and abdomen up.
If you're looking to plant new citrus, purchase only from local licensed nurseries and use only certified budwood. Visit the Citrus Clonal Protection Program for more information.
Avoid moving citrus trees, fruit, or cuttings between counties and states, not even with friends and family. This is the quickest way to spread insects and disease.
Managing the psyllid is a key step in preventing the disease. HLB has devastated the Florida citrus industry resulting in an estimated loss of 7,500 jobs per year and $3 billion in lost revenue. Help protect California citrus to avoid a similar fate.
If you suspect the presence of ACP, secure any evidence in a clear glass jar, plastic bag or container and contact the CDFA pest hotline - 1-800-491-1899./span>
Flying Ants Vs. Termites
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
How do I tell the difference between flying ants and termites? Annie W.
Distinguishing between flying ants and termites is a bit of a challenge especially for the myopic. Small, agile, and capable of flying, both insects give meaning to the term 'flyweight.' Typically, they are found swarming around your best resting location on the one day when you had the time to prop your feet up. Figuring out exactly what type of pest you have on your hands, or more exactly, around your face and inside your right ear, is important.
At entomologist parties, flying ants are discussed with words such as ''nuisance'' or ''irritating.'' Termites, however, are on the other side of this spectrum; whole sentences are used, as in, ''have you had a termite report done?” Terms, such as, ''structurally unsound,'' or ''condemned'' may slide into the conversation. Termites are associated with significant damage.
Both insects are found near wood—particularly moist or rotten wood. Ants generally live in the soil near trees or plants that potentially carry honeydew-producing pests. Termites also live underground, but for them, the soil is just a tunnel that leads to their real objective--wood or cardboard. It is not objectionable to them to set up their household inside your household. Wood that looks bubbled, warped, or that has holes bored into it, are red flags that should alert you to the possibility of termites.
In order to discern what's flying about, you will need to catch the insect and have a look at it. Use a magnifying glass or the camera app on your cellphone to magnify the bug for better viewing. Flying ants have three body segments and a distinctly thin waist, while termites have a more blocky, solid body. The antennae of the ant are bent, or 'elbowed,' while the termite's are straight. The ant's wings are different as well; the top wings are smaller than the lower wings, while the termite's wings are all the same length and have conspicuous veins throughout.
If ants seem to be the culprit, eliminate access to entryways and keep food out of reach. If you find evidence of termites, it is best to consult with a licensed pest management professional.
Turf Replacement And Groundcovers
By Leslie E. Stevens UCCE Master Gardener
What steps can I take to eventually make my yard less thirsty? Karen B. Paso Robles
Now that the punishing drought is officially behind us, it's the perfect time to retool our landscapes to better adapt to a drier future. This is especially true when you consider it often takes about three years for drought-tolerant replacements to become fully established.
This Saturday's UCCE Master Gardener's Advice to Grow By workshop is designed to get you started. Master Gardeners will discuss two planting strategies home gardeners can employ to reduce water demand, while enhancing their landscapes and reducing maintenance. The focus of both methods is to shrink or replace water-demanding lawns with drought-tolerant alternatives.
Groundcovers will be discussed and is a category of plants which includes numerous low growing shrubs and perennials. Workshop attendees will learn about California native and Mediterranean climate plants that adapt well to our Central Coast wet winters and warm, dry summers. Since many of these groundcovers grow only 2 to 18 inches tall, they make excellent lawn replacements or transitional plants between lawns and taller shrubs. They also provide opportunities to add color, texture and movement to your landscapes.
A segment about turf replacement will focus on several drought-tolerant grasses native to California and other Mediterranean climate areas that can serve as potential replacements for our traditionally water-hungry lawns. These alternatives use substantially less water and many require little to no mowing or fertilizers to remain attractive and healthy. Workshop attendees will see examples of how these plants vary in appearance depending on the level of water provided and how they look if mowed or not.
Saturday's workshop, September 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Garden docents will be available after the workshop to answer questions until 1 p.m. You may want to bring sunscreen and a bottle of water. Come and join your fellow gardeners under the pergola in the garden.
For more information about UCCE Master Gardeners or to register for workshops, visit their website at http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/.
Are you interested in being a UCCE Master Gardener but need more information? Join us at the New Master Gardener Class Informational Meeting on Thursday, September 14th from 1-3 in the UCCE auditorium at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo.