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UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance

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Greywater Made Easy

By Lee Oliphant  UCCE Master Gardener


Q. Where do I start in setting up a graywater system for my garden?  Carol, Cambria.


Using greywater is an excellent way to reduce the waste of a valuable resource and minimize water that enters waste water collection systems. Greywater is used household water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, and washing machines. It does not include water from toilets, kitchen sinks (remember that raw chicken you rinsed), or dishwashers. Greywater should not be used on any edible plants in the garden.


While you can carry out buckets from your sink, shower, or tub, there is an easier (on your back and shoulders) way to use non-potable water for outdoor irrigation. A greywater system uses gravity to redirect wastewater from a washing machine to the yard, rather than to the sewer, and is called Laundry to Landscape Greywater System. A construction permit is NOT needed for this system as long as the system does not alter plumbing by cutting into pipes. A hose to the house exterior is attached to the washer hose and must follow the Health and Safety code 17922.12. This system requires a 3-way valve that allows you to switch between a greywater and sewer system. Water must be diverted to the sewer if used for dirty diapers, infectious contaminants or if it contains cleaning products harmful to plants such as bleach, softeners, and dyes.


According to chapter 16 of the California Plumbing Code, greywater cannot be stored and must be used within 24 hours from the time of collection. Immediate use minimizes the development of bacteria and other harmful pathogens.


There are other, more complicated systems than the Laundry to Landscape Greywater System. However, both require permits and plumbing alterations. It is always wise to check with SLO County and your specific city before beginning your greywater project.


Identify detergents that are safe for the environment before using the Laundry to Landscape Greywater System. Become familiar with plants that do well with greywater such as madrone, western redbud, coffeeberry, toyon, manzanita, rosemary, ceanothus, salvia, lavender, and penstemon. They will survive the alkaline environment created by greywater.


For more information on using greywater in the landscape, download Use of Greywater in Urban Landscapes in California: http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu.


Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 11:20 AM

William Hazeltine II: His Passion, His Work Live On

UC Davis graduate students who received the Hazeltine mosquito research awards in both 2015 and 2016 are (front, from left) Maribel Portilla, Sandy Olkowski and Stephanie  Kurniawan. In back are Lee Hazeltine (left) of Woodland and Craig Hazeltine of Scottsdale, Ariz. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Noted medical entomologist William Hazeltine II (1926-1994) made a difference. Today he continues to make a difference...

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2016 at 6:30 PM

Citrus Thrips Field Day Planned for Lindcove REC on Sept 13

Come one, come all - no reservations necessary.  We are going to discuss the latest citrus thrips insecticide trial at Lindcove including walking in the orchard and looking at the level of thrips scarring.  We will have a group discussion about the approaches being taken to manage citrus thrips in young and mature orchards.

Citrus Thrips Field Day at Lindcove

 Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9:30-11 am

Lindcove Research and Extension Center

22963 Carson Ave., Exeter, CA 93221

(559) 592-2408 ext 151. 

 Instructor: Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell

 Course Objective: To teach PCAs how to recognize the various life stages of citrus thrips and the predatory mites that attack them.  A pesticide trial was conducted in April-May this year at Lindcove, and PCAs and growers will have the opportunity to look at the scarred fruit in that trial and examine the results.  

9-9:30 a.m. Registration: Lindcove REC

9:30-11 a.m.

A. Powerpoint presentation by Beth Grafton-Cardwell on efficacy of insecticides for citrus thrips control and resistance management

B. Microscope identification of citrus thrips life stages

C. Field discussion of citrus thrips and predatory mite monitoring methods and examination of the scarring damage in the experimental field plots. 

 Continuing Education 1.5 other units have been awarded


Posted on Friday, August 26, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Protect bees from pesticides by using bee precaution ratings from UC IPM


—UC Statewide IPM Program

Various insects, birds, and other animals pollinate plants. Bees, especially honey bees, are the most vital for pollinating food crops.  Many California crops rely on bees to pollinate their flowers and ensure a good yield of seeds, fruit, and nuts.  Pesticides, especially insecticides, can harm bees if they are applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering. 

Our mission at the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR), Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) is to protect the environment by reducing risks caused by pest management practices.  UC IPM developed Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings to help pest managers make an informed decision about how to protect bees when choosing or applying pesticides.  You can find and compare ratings for pesticide active ingredients including acaricides (miticides), bactericides, fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides, and select the one posing the least harm to bees.

Ratings fall into three categories.  Red, or rated I, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering.  Plants include the crop AND nearby weeds.  Yellow, or rated II, pesticides should not be applied or allowed to drift to plants that are flowering, except when the application is made between sunset and midnight if allowed by the pesticide label and regulations.  Finally, green, or rated III, pesticides have no bee precautions, except when required by the pesticide label or regulations.  Pesticide users must follow the product directions for handling and use and take at least the minimum precautions required by the pesticide label and regulations.

A group of bee experts in California, Oregon, and Washington worked with UC IPM to develop the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings.  They reviewed studies published in scientific journals and summary reports from European and United States pesticide regulatory agencies.  While the protection statements on the pesticide labels were taken into account when determining the ratings, it is important to stress that UC IPM's ratings are not the pollinator protection statements on the pesticide labels.  In a number of cases, the ratings suggest a more protective action than the pesticide label.

The UC IPM ratings also include active ingredients that may not be registered in your state; please follow local regulations.  In California, the suggested use of the bee precaution pesticide ratings is in conjunction with UC Pest Management Guidelines (for commercial agriculture) and Pest Notes (for gardeners).  Each crop in the UC Pest Management Guidelines has a link to the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings database and provides guidance on how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides.

For more information on protecting bees from pesticides, see UC IPM's Protecting Natural Enemies and Pollinators, and use the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings.


Posted on Friday, August 26, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Have a Rice Day! (Except for the Armyworms)

Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a pest of rice. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia: Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility)

It's a day that rice growers look forward to. Bugs, not so much. Because they're targeted. Especially the fall...

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 5:51 PM

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