June 2019 News clips (June 1-15)

Jun 30, 2019

In Full Bloom: Choose natives adapted to our climate to cut down on watering

(Virginian Pilot) Allissa Bunner, June 15

Mulching is also a great way to help your garden beat the heat. The University of California Cooperative Extension Center for Landscape and Urban Horticulture in a review submitted a long list of the benefits mulch can give a garden. Besides reducing weeds and increasing soil nutrients, mulch will retain moisture and lower soil temperatures by dissipating radiant heat. Organic, low density mulches like pine straw are great for this, but hardwood mulch will get the job done as well. Lay mulch thickly, around four inches deep, keeping it pulled away from plant stems or tree trunks.



Growing the red, green and black: table grape farmers work to overcome weather woes

(Bakersfield Californian) Steven Mayer, June 13, 2019

…Donald Luvisi, a Kern County farm advisor emeritus who retired from the UC Cooperative Extension in 1999, still keeps his hand in grape production, and owns a wine grape vineyard near Calistoga in Napa Valley.

The viticulture specialist said he's not surprised that harvests in Southern and Central California are being delayed, but he's not too concerned about it.

The big concern is rot, such as botrytis and similar diseases that commonly infect the grape tissue through injuries in the skin.

"When the grapes reach sugar, it can wipe out the whole bunch," Luvisi said.



California dairies experiment with milking robots

(Feedstuffs) Jeannette Warnert, June 12

Early in the 20th century, dairy operators traded their milking stools for machines to produce enough dairy products to meet growing consumer demand, according to the University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources.



As Riverside County ponders spending cuts, public outcry saves 4-H, Master Gardeners

(Press Enterprise) Jeff Horseman and Matt Kristoffersen, June 11

In the grand scheme of Riverside County's $6.1 billion budget, a cut of $562,000 is little more than a nick.

But to the Master Gardeners and youths in the county's 4-H program, the idea of the county spending less on UC Riverside's Cooperative Extension was a threat to something that they say enriches their lives.

Supporters of both programs turned out in big numbers Monday, June 10, to attend a public hearing on the county budget. And many in that audience, which included teens in green and white 4-H uniforms, cheered after the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to restore the extension's funding, reversing a cut made as part of a larger plan to trim spending at a time when government expenses are rising faster than the county's tax receipts.

The Master Gardener program, which trains volunteers to share tips on backyard gardening and water-saving landscaping with the community, and 4-H, which uses farming and animal husbandry to teach leadership and life skills, are supported by UCR's extension, which receives almost $700,000 annually from the county.



Why planting shade trees helps reduce the temperature of urban heat islands

(Orange County Register) Janet Hartin, June 11, 2019

Why? In order to accommodate growing populations, cities have large areas of paved concrete and asphalt surfaces that create ‘urban heat islands (UHI)'. These hard surfaces absorb large amounts of heat that builds up during the day and is released at night, leading to much higher night temperatures in cities than in surrounding areas.

The good news is that trees offer many benefits that offset the impacts of UHIs. Cities with larger tree canopies are a testament to this fact and have fewer adverse impacts from UHIs than do cities with low tree canopies.

Trees reduce the impact of UHIs by releasing heat back into the atmosphere faster than do concrete and asphalt surfaces. In addition, well-placed trees produce shade that cools the surrounding environment and reduces air conditioning needs. They also cool the air through transpiration and absorb and store carbon which moderates the impacts of pollution from fossil fuels.



Riverside parent navel orange tree getting new protection

(Riverside Press-Enterprise) Ryan Hagen, June 11

…The new screen is a synthetic material made by the company Econet. The screen's lifespan is five to eight years, but it will be inspected regularly before that, said Georgios Vidalakis,  professor and director of the citrus protection program at UC Riverside.

“This one will buy us a few years so the city can design a more elegant structure like you see in arboretums — maybe a wood hexagonal pavilion that will be aesthetically more pleasant,” Vidalakis said. “Unless in the next few years we find a solution.”

That's the ultimate hope: That a cure for citrus greening disease can be found and the structure removed so crowds can better admire the historic parent navel orange.

But until then, he said, protection is vital.



Surplus university property in Davis is put up for sale

(Sacramento Business Journal) Mark Anderson, June 11

Some former greenhouse and lab space once used by Monsanto's Calgene subsidiary along with bare land just off Interstate 80 in Davis is being offered for sale in a sealed-bid process.

The 6.6-acre parcel at 3031 Second St. is excess land owned by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Division, which is offering the land for $4.25 million.

Such space is in demand in Davis and in the region for agricultural and scientific research, said Jim Gray, a commercial real estate broker with Kidder Mathews, representing UC-ANR, along with Nahz Anvary.



LA Crawling With Rodents Even After City Cleans up Some Trash Piles

(NBC LA) Joel Grover and Amy Corral, June 10

…"I've never seen this many droppings, ever," Niamh Quinn, Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, told the I-Team after inspecting an area near the Produce District last Friday.

…"Rodents will eat human feces," Quinn says. "They will eat scraps." 

…"Rats are everywhere," Quinn says. "And it's just not acceptable to expose people to this amount of disease."



Who's Checking Your Neighborhood for Flammable Brush? Maybe No One

(KQED) Lauren Sommer, June 10

… "We should be doing more, doing better," said Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension, after reviewing the findings. "We need to have more people aware they live on a fire-prone landscape and taking action."

Cal Fire, for its part, says it's struggling to meet its inspection goals due to a lack of inspectors and resources.

For many Californians, a defensible space inspection will be the only exposure to wildfire planning they get.

“There's not too many other ways people will learn about the vulnerability of their own home other than having an inspector or firefighter at their property,” Moritz said.



John Garamendi: UC Davis is a hub for real impact

(Davis Enterprise) John Garamendi, June 10

 …Where did all the students learn the care and feeding of sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, and quail? From UCD graduates who became teachers, mentors, veterinarians, parents, and from the University of California's 4H program.

You bet UCD has made an impact in the community, in the economy, and in my family's life.



Name droppers: UCCE farm adviser receives sustainability award

(Davis Enterprise) Enterprise staff, June 9

UC Davis entomology alumnus Rachael Freeman Long, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm adviser for field crops and pest management for the three-county area of Yolo, Solano and Sacramento, is the recipient of the 2019 Bradford-Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award.

Long received the award at a presentation on Tuesday, May 28 in the Alpha Gamma Rho Hall (AGR) room of the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center.



Protecting the watershed

(Chico News & Review) Meredith Cooper, June 6

…To echo the mantra of 2017's Standing Rock protest, “Water is life.” That was what brought many people out to Chico State's University Farm Tuesday (June 4) for the daylong Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium. Organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension, it included presentations from researchers who have been studying fire's impact on ecosystems, in particular ground and surface water.



Manage forests to burn again, scientist says

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, June 5

Forest conditions created after catastrophic wildfires like last year's Carr and Camp fires in Northern California can be conducive to another major fire in the same area just a few years later, University of California scientists say.

Along with leaving dead trees and branches and other burned debris in their wake, hot fires seed a more fire-adapted underbrush that can come back ferociously, explains Ryan Tompkins, a University of California Cooperative Extension forestry advisor.

"In the last 10 years, we've seen systems change before our eyes," Tompkins told about 100 researchers, government officials and growers at a June 4 symposium on the Camp Fire's environmental fallout. The event was held at the California State University-Chico farm.

"Restoration isn't just a one-off event," he says. "We need to play a long game."

… Throughout history, forests "adapted with fire -- frequent, low-intensity fire," Tompkins told the Chico gathering. However, after a century of fire suppression and land management, researchers notice that landscapes are re-burning sooner than imagined, he says.

For one thing, there's often a very vigorous native shrub response to the initial fire. Existing shrubs can sprout from their roots after being top-killed, and many new shrubs can germinate because the seeds in the soil are often stimulated by wildfire, UC researchers Kristen Shive and Susan Kocher write in a 2017 essay on wildfire recovery.



Scientists find little taint in wildfire runoff

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, June 5

Winter rains quickly flushed contaminants from last year's Carr and Camp fires into Lake Oroville and other Northern California waterways, causing elevated levels of heavy metals such as aluminum and cadmium and raising hydrocarbon levels above the human health threshold, preliminary research has found.

But the good news for agriculture -- at least so far -- is that very little of the contaminants appear to have ended up in rangeland plants or soil as a result of runoff, says Tracy Schohr, a University of California Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor based in Quincy.



Scientists share on-going research at Camp Fire Resource Monitoring and Research Symposium

(KRCR) Briona Haney, June 4

…However, Tracy Schohr with the University of California Cooperative Extension program says this research will likely be a multi-year process.

"I think one of the important aspects of today is that no one is done looking at the impacts of the Camp Fire. There's a vision going forward looking at water quality long term in this community,” Schohr said.



High-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar

(LA Times) Jaclyn Cosgrove, June 4

…California is home to about 200 species of ladybugs, including the convergent lady beetle, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program.

In early spring, after temperatures reach 65 degrees, adult convergent lady beetles mate and migrate from the Sierra Nevada to valley areas where they eat aphids and lay eggs.

In the early summer, once the aphid numbers decline, beetles become hungry and migrate to higher elevations, according to the UC program.



Pet dog killed by coyotes south of Cedar Glen Park in Cypress

(Orange County Breeze) Shelley Henderson, June 3

The Council ad hoc committee strongly recommends that citizens report encounters with coyotes using the University of California Coyote Cacher webpage. https://ucanr.edu/CoyoteCacher/ Using this online tool allows the City to collect data on where, when, how often, and how serious encounters with coyotes are.

On Sunday, June 1, Coyote Cacher reported on an attack that took place the prior week. Multiple coyotes attacked a pet dog in a backyard. The dog was killed. The attack took place in the area south of Cedar Glen Park, between Ball Road and Cerritos Avenue.



By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach