We previously wrote about what we are seeing in 2020 with our early observations of the leafing failure problem.
Researchers have historically been unable to pin down a cause for leafing failure because it was a rare event, only being reported periodically in the last couple decades. The problem was noted periodically before 2000, but most recent reports were made by farm advisors of leafing failure symptoms in 2000, 2006, 2010, 2017, 2018, and 2020. In each of these years farm advisors and specialists attempted to link the leafing failure back to clues in that...
First, remember that the desire to avoid any kind of an interaction is mutual. Rattlesnakes are an important part of the ecosystem, feeding on rodents, birds, and other small animals. Snake season in Southern California runs from April through October, but the warmer the weather, the more the reptiles are likely to be out and about. Rattlesnakes are California's only native venomous snake, with some adults reaching up to 6 feet long.
According to the California Poison Control Center notes, rattlesnakes account for more than 800 bites each year, with one to two deaths. About 25 percent of the bites are "dry," meaning no venom was injected, but the bites still require medical treatment.
- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
- Author: Tom Willey, Madera County organic farmer
- Author: Paul Muller, Guinda organic farmer
Though humans thrived here for millennia without planting seeds or herding animals, the phenomenal success of California's short-lived agricultural experiment is staggering on a planetary scale, and represents barely over a century of building the highly productive food systems that benefit us all today. The farmers who manage the fields, orchards and vineyards of our Golden State contribute greatly to the common good by providing abundant food from an astonishing variety of crops.
Yet, present and looming challenges of water supply, climate change, air quality and the long-term fertility and sustainability of California's agricultural soils threaten continued productivity. Such challenges compel farmers, researchers and the...
In addition to anchorage, a key role of roots is the uptake of water and nutrients. Although roots are responsible for water uptake, roots do not function well when exposed to too much water and will stop growing and eventually die in stagnant and/or saturated soil conditions. We consider how a better understanding of root biology can inform best irrigation practices.
When do roots grow?
There is a false understanding in walnut production that there is a flush of root growth in both spring and fall. In fact, there's even a figure in the 1996 UC Walnut Production Manual that shows these two flushes of root growth where the fall peak is larger than the spring peak. Recent work in the Chandler variety by Bruce...
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" holds true in entomology as well!
The activity of natural enemies of pests (beneficial insects) is a key component of Integrated Pest Management in alfalfa to prevent pest resurgence and secondary pest outbreaks.
This is especially true for blue alfalfa aphid (BAA), a challenging pest in alfalfa (see companion article on managing BAA). Although BAA is frequently the most damaging and troublesome aphid to control, spotted alfalfa aphid, pea aphid, and cowpea aphid can also be problematic.
In alfalfa, aphids have many natural enemies. Some, like lady beetles, syrphid flies, and...