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From the UC Blogosphere...

Seeing Spots at the Bohart

The Bohart team includes (front, from left) graduate students Charlotte Herbert and Jessica Gillung and undergraduate student Wade Spencer. In back (from left) are UC Davis biology student Emma Cluff; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology; and Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If you walk into the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, you'll see spots. No, don't...

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 4:43 PM

California peaches are in good shape

The warmest winter since 1907 in south-central Texas has left its peach crop with inadequate chill hours this year, reported Lynn Brezosky in the San Antonio Express-News.

Without sufficient chill hours over the winter, the buds didn't get the re-boot they need to bloom in proper synchrony, which is important for blossoms to set fruit. The leaves have also been slow to emerge. "The trees look like it's still winter," said Jim Kamas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extenson horticulturalist.

“The lack of chill hours is a big deal,” said Larry Stein, extension horticulturalist with AgriLife Research & Extension Center.

The Texas trouble combined with a cold blast that destroyed half the crop in Georgia and North Carolina this spring mean peaches are likely to be in short supply this year.

The sweet spot, Brezosky wrote, may be California, the No. 1 peach producer in the nation. Roger Duncan, UC Cooperative Extension pomology adviser, could think of no major problems affecting the southern part of the state's fresh market peach crop.

“I think in general it's probably going to be just fine,” he said.

The Elegant Lady peach is one of many excellent varieties that are produced in abundance by California peach growers.
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 1:10 PM

'Show Me the Honey' and 'Show Me the Bugs' at UC Davis Picnic Day

There will be lots to see during Picnic Day at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. These butterflies are among the museum's nearly 8 million insect specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It wouldn't be a picnic without bugs. They are, you know, everywhere. However, when the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic...

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 5:54 PM

California trees are under attack at many fronts

Trees in several parts of California are suffering greatly in recent years due to pests, fire, drought and now heavy rain. UC Cooperative Extension is working with landowners and communities to protect the state's natural environments, including its beloved trees.

UCCE plant pathology specialist Matteo Garbelotto said the wet 2016-17 winter is bad news for oak trees in North Coast areas because it has created conditions that support the spread of Sudden Oak Death, reported Bay Nature. He is recruiting volunteers for 15 “bioblitzes” in April and May to track the spread of the disease. See more on the Garbelotto website.

A mature live oak dying from Sudden Oak Death at the Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County.

UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor Susie Kocher held a workshop in Sonora for owners of forestland in the Sierra Nevada, where the epic 2010-16 drought killed millions of trees. Sally Shilling of Capital Public Radio attended and reported on the meeting. "There's just a lot of changes that need to be made to get to a resilient forest and hopefully this situation will help people notice that we have a crisis and that we can move forward and make some changes in how we do business," Kocher said. The federal government and CalFire have programs that can help landowners remove dead trees and replant.

Dead trees in the Sequoia National Forestd. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service)

In Southern California, the polyphagous shot hole borer could kill as many as 27 million trees in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including parts of the desert, reported Louis Shagun in the Los Angeles Times. Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension biocontrol specialist, said that the tree loss is starting to cascade across the urban landscape. “Without shade trees, water temperatures will rise and algae will bloom in riparian areas, for instance,” Hoddle said. “As a result, fish, frog and native insect populations will diminish, along with the pleasure of hiking, because there'll be nothing to look at but dead boughs of trees.”

Polyphagous shot hole borer introduces a lethal fungus when it bores into trees.

In Lake County, UC Cooperative Extension director Gregory Giusti gathered with 400 members of the community to replant trees in a park that was left treeless by the devastating Valley Fire of 2015, reported Elizabeth Larson in Lake County News. While a lot of people lost their houses, “It was the trees that made it their home. People wanted to live in the forest. They wanted to live among the trees. So this is a way to rebuild their home, to get back what was lost,” Giusti said.

A wall of flames and smoke across Lake County, part of the fast-moving Valley Fire in California, Sept. 13, 2015. (Photo: CalFire)
Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 8:35 PM

'B' Is for Bugs: Bugs at the Bohart and Briggs

Honey bees at work in the UC Davis bee observation hive, to be displayed April 22 in Briggs Hall during the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"B" is for bugs. Bugs at the Bohart and Briggs. That would be the Bohart Museum of Entomology and Briggs Hall. Both...

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 6:37 PM

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