Landscape trees provide shade, reduce interior energy use and related costs, and beautify our communities. They also help clean our environment by absorbing carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles and other producers of fossil fuels. Taking care of your trees is an important way to maximize these benefits.
Here are some ways you can help ensure a healthy tomorrow:
• Remove any tree ties that are cutting into the trunk or branches of your trees. If trees must be staked due to windy conditions, make sure that the ties are loose enough to allow trees to gently flex in the wind. This helps trees develop the necessary lower trunk strength and stability to support the tree as it matures. Over time, you may be able to completely remove the ties and stakes once the lower trunk becomes stronger and self-supporting.
• Keep all plants and mulch several inches away from tree trunks.
• Keep tree trunks dry. They should not come into contact with water from sprinklers or hoses.
• Water mature trees infrequently and deeply. Watering too often reduces the level of oxygen in the rootzone and can lead to waterlogged soils prone to crown and root rots. During fall, trees require only about 15% of the water they required in the summer.
• Prune trees only as needed and avoid topping them. Invest in the services of a credentialed and knowledgeable professional to correctly care for your valued trees. Find a list of International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists in your area here: https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist
• Identify and correct problems due to diseases, insects, or non-living (abiotic) disorders early. Most of the time, these problems are due to poor drainage or other soil/water management issues rather than pests. Here is a lengthier article with additional photos I recently wrote for Parks and Recreation Business Magazine:
https://www.parksandrecbusiness.com/articles/2019/9/whats-wrong-with-my-trees Do you want to plant a new tree? Make sure you have adequate space. Large growing shade trees require up to 3,000 cubic feet of underground space and should not be planted under power lines. Smaller drought resistant trees that are better choices under these conditions include some cultivars of acacia, palo verde, redbud, and toyon.
- SelecTree: http://selectree.calpoly.edu. This searchable database is maintained by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Users may search multiple criteria to select trees based on climate zone, ultimate height and width, above and below ground space requirements, root damage potential, water requirement, flower characteristics, disease, insect susceptibility, and other criteria.
- Water Use Classification of Landscape Species: https://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS/Plant_Search/ This searchable database is maintained by UC ANR and classifies over 3,500 woody and herbaceous landscape plants into very low, low, medium, and high water-use categories based on the observations of regional committees consisting of knowledgeable horticulturist combined with research-based data when available.
- CalScape: https://calscape.org/. This searchable database is maintained by the California Native Plant Society and contains thousands of woody and herbaceous plants listed by city and other criteria such as plant type, flower color and season, water use, ease of care, use, and nursery availability.
For additional assistance with your landscape questions, contact:
UCCE Master Gardener volunteers in your county: http://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/
Local nurseries and garden centers in your area: https://plant.cdfa.ca.gov/nurserylicense/nlscanp.asp
Agrilus auroguttatus, commonly called the Goldspotted Oak Borer (GSOB) continues to kill susceptible species of oaks in Southern California, with the most recent infestation (larvae, pupal and adults) found in dead and dying native California black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) in Sugar Loaf (near Big Bear) in August, 2019. Although GSOB was initially identified in San Diego County in 2004, it was not associated with extensive oak tree mortality until 2008. By 2010, GSOB killed over 20,000 oak trees growing in forests, parks, and neighborhoods in San Diego County. Other infestations occurred in Oak Glen (2018), Los Angeles County (2015), Orange County (2014) and Idlyllwild (2012).
Unfortunately, most infestations have impacted large oaks valued for their shade, wildlife habitat, ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and beauty. Areas with large numbers of native oaks are particularly susceptible to attack and many popular hiking trails and campsites are closed to minimize the risk of spread from dropped branches from dead trees. The GSOB is native to southeastern Arizona. A closely related species (Agrilus coxalis) that looks very similar to the GSOB is native to Central Mexico and Northern Guatemala. In its native range, GSOB is not a pest perhaps due to control by natural enemies and resistance by oak species that have likely co-evolved with GSOB. Susceptible oaks in California include coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis), and California black oak (Q. kelloggii).
GSOB larvae feed near the interface of the vascular (phloem and xylem) system, damaging both of these tissues and the cambium. As the photo indicates, infested trees have black regions of stained bark or sap oozing underneath red bark blisters. Adult GSOB are primarily black and about 0.4 inch long and 0.08 inch wide and have a bullet-shaped body. They can also be identified by an iridescent green sheen and six gold spots on their forewings. Eggs are very small (0.01 inch), laid singly or in clusters in bark cracks on main stems and branches. Larvae are about 0.8 inches long, white and legless. C--shaped spiracles and two pincherlike spines on the end of their abdomen make larvae unique. Mature larvae cluster in a hairpin pattern in the outer bark from early fall through early summer. Pupae resemble the adults in size and shape and are found in the outer bark from late spring to early summer. They are soft bodied.
Tree mortality is caused by larval feeding. Adult beetles emerging from the pupal cell in the bark use a distinctive D-shaped emergence hole and feed on foliage, making notches along leaf margins. As the photo indicates, infested trees have black regions of stained bark or sap oozing underneath red bark blistershttp://ipm.ucanr.edu/PDF/MISC/GSOB_field-identification-guide.pdfFor a wider array of photos visit: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PDF/MISC/GSOB_field-identification-guide.pdf.
Unfortunately, susceptible oak species that are injured over several years from multiple generations of the GSOB often die. Prevention is imperative since there are no known control methods once oaks are infested. Since GSOB is spread by moving infested wood, infested firewood should be used only on site. Dr. Mark Hoddle, UCR Entomologist is working in collaboration with a team from UC, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies and entities to educate the public about the pest and greatly appreciate your assistance reducing the impacts of this devastating insect by helping the public report suspicious trees.
If you believe a tree is infested on your property, please complete and submit the identification request form found here: http://help_monitor/Report_Goldspotted_Oak_Borer_Symptoms/ Comprehensive information on GSPB suitable for homeowners can be found here: https://ucanr.edu/sites/gsobinfo/
I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the 56 newly accepted trainees in our UC Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County Master Gardener class that starts Tuesday, October 1st in Loma Linda. We are excited to meet and greet those of you taking the class in person as well as our online desert and mountain students. The first evening we will go over the syllabus outlining the subject matter we'll be covering over the next 18 weeks, distribute training materials, and discuss expectations. Our team is here to help you navigate the volunteer management system (VMS), become familiar with events and activities current Master Gardeners are involved in, and - most of all - to help guide you and to address questions and any concerns you have along the way.
Thank you for choosing to become a UC Master Gardener volunteer. We look forward to helping you help your community save water and reduce the impacts of urban heat islands through the incorporation of drought-resistant sustainable landscaping; enhance food security and health by expanding home, school, and community food gardens; and enhance the health, well-being and sense of community by promoting an appreciation of nature and outdoor activities.
I also want to assure you that both the midterm and final exam are intended to help you help the public, not memorize endless facts and figures with little practical value. Therefore both exams are open book, open notes. Our main goal educationally during the class is to familiarize you with credible UC ANR resources to enable you to provide accurate information to the public. Topics include the selection and care of fruits, vegetables, and landscape plants; integrated pest management stressing prevention; soil/water relations and irrigation to maximize plant health and minimize water waste; sustainable food systems; plant propagation; prevention and control of weeds and invasive plants; helping mitigate the impacts of climate-change with well placed trees; and more.
Main contacts for the UCCE Master Gardener Program of San Bernardino County:
Master Gardener Coordinator: Maggie O'Neill (email@example.com)
Office/Promotion Manager: Robin Rowe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
See you Tuesday!
Janet Hartin, UCCE Area Environmental Horticulture Advisor (San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties), Master Gardener Manager (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), UCCE County Co-Director (San Bernardino County)
European Flower Boxes Provide Beauty and a Welcoming Ambiance. Many European countries pride themselves on colorful displays of geraniums, ivy, and other flowers adorning window planters of hotels, restaurants, and even train stations. I had always marveled at their use, particularly by Austrians and Germans whose love of these colorful planters seems equal to their affinity for weiner schnitzel. What a surprise to find them plentiful in Ireland, as well! As I strolled through picturesque cities in both Ireland and Northern Ireland the last few days, I noted the great care that both shopkeepers and plant care companies exercise in tending these lovely and delicate works of art. I walked by the same restaurant one morning and again in the late afternoon to find the same two horticulturists tediously fussing over a dozen or so planters sporting bright hues of blues, yellows, and reds with over twelve varieties of annuals. With plentiful natural rainfall, most are not on irrigation systems which reduces maintenance costs and time. I asked ‘Carol' (one of the crew) what she liked most about her job and she quickly answered “seeing smiles on so many faces from just seeing the flowers”. Well said! I hope these photos help brighten your day as well.
Forget the ‘Boom Box': Here's How to Create your Own ‘Bloom Box'.
1. Select a location where you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
2. Select a box that has drainage holes and line wooden boxes with plastic (punch holes to match drainage holes) to prevent chemical leakage from certain types of wood.
3. Draw a rough sketch of what you hope your final box will resemble once mature.
4. Select annuals that won't outgrow the space and that tolerate the sunny or shady microclimate and that require similar amounts of water (eases hand-watering).
5. Select plants with a wide array of colors and forms. Adding trailing varieties with upright plants enhances the beauty and adds interest.
6. Fill the planter box half-way with loose garden soil or compost. An alternative is to use potting soil. Avoid heavy soils with poor drainage. Moisten the soil until it resembles a well rung-out sponge.
7. Take one last look before you plant by carefully setting your plants on top of the soil. Consider the final size of the mature plants to avoid overplanting.
8. Once you're satisfied with your design, plant your selections at the same depth they were in their pots, gently tamping the soil around them for support.
9. Thoroughly water in the plants, making sure water drains through the holes.
10. Water as often as needed the first few weeks after planting since container boxes dry out faster than garden plants. The frequency of irrigation can decrease as plants mature.
11. Hand-weed and apply fertilizer as needed.
12. Pinch back annuals to encourage lateral growth; remove dead leaves and flowers.
13. Take time from your busy day to enjoy the display!
The University of California Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County Master Gardener program is now accepting applications for the October 1, 2019 - February 18, 2020 Master Gardener class on Tuesday evenings in Redlands. (There are no classes on Dec. 25 and Dec. 31.)
The class provides 50 hours of training on sustainable landscaping and growing food in home, backyard, and community gardens and is taught by University of California experts and knowledgeable practitioners. Master Gardeners come from all walks of life and no college degree is required. What successful applicants have in common is a passion for sharing knowledge gained from the training class with residents of San Bernardino County. Accepted applicants agree to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours by June 30, 2021 via one or more outreach methods: answering email and phone helpline questions; making presentations at workshops and community events; staffing information booths at Farmers Markets and other non-profit events; writing blogs and promoting the program via social media; working with communities and schools to develop gardens; and working with Healthy Communities throughout San Bernardino County to encourage outdoor exercise and activities. Accepted applicants must pass two open-book exams, present a group class project, and pass a background check (approximately $30). The class fee (includes training materials) is $175. Visit our UCCE Master Gardener website for more information and to complete an online application: UCCE San Bernardino County Master Gardener Website. Applications must be received through the online system by or on August 31, 2019 to be considered.
There is a hybrid partially online option for residents of the high desert and mountains. Simply select this option on the application if this pertains to you. All costs and requirements remain the same as for in-class students.
Questions? Contact UCCE Master Gardener Coordinator Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com
We hope to hear from you!