- Author: Janet Hartin
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Office/Promotion Manager: Robin Rowe (email@example.com)
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)
- Author: Janet Hartin
Topping a tree is the process of giving a tree a virtual crewcut by making one or more horizontal cuts across the top of the tree (see photos below) to shorten it. Why is topping trees harmful? Topping trees results in unstable, unsafe, and unattractive trees. It also reduces the ability for trees to reduce high temperatures and provide adequate shade in urban heat islands, sequester (store) carbon produced by fossil fuels, and provide wildlife habitat.
In some cases, trees are topped because a tall tree that should not have been selected in the first place is growing into utility lines. In other cases, topping occurs due to a lack of knowledge about the dangers of topping and/or simply wanting to save money by going with the lowest bid. In all cases, topping should be avoided. The combination of improper balance and weak, poor-quality growth following topping creates a much higher likelihood of personal injury and property damage than occurs from properly pruned trees. (Top photo below: topped tree; Bottom photo below: untopped tree.)
Trees should be properly thinned and pruned rather than topped. Proper pruning involves maintaining the natural integrity and balance of the tree. Often this entails selecting a central leader and removing competing leaders, removing crossed branches, water sprouts, suckers and deadwood. In all cases proper pruning maintains the correct balance of weight and foliage in the upper, middle, and lower portion of the tree. (For more detailed information on proper pruning visit the International Society of Arboriculture's (ISA) consumer website: www.treesaregood.org). It may be useful to contact a Certified Arborist who is trained in tree health and care if you are in doubt about caring for your landscape trees. S/he will determine the proper pruning and thinning procedures and otherwise assess the overall health of your tree. Consult the ISA website for a Certified Arborist near you: https://www.isa-arbor.com/Credentials.
There are also several reliable and useful search engines to help you select the right tree for the right location. These user-friendly sites allow you to include several criteria in your search such as tree type (deciduous or evergreen), flower color, ultimate size, drought tolerance, pest resistance, and ability to attract pollinators among others. Grab a cub of java or tea and enjoy perusing such informative sites as: Urban Forest Ecosystems Institutes (https://selectree.calpoly.edu/); California Native Plant Society (https://calflora.org/); and UC's California Center for Urban Horticulture Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) (https://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/wucols-iv).
Do you have a home garden or landscape question? Contact a trained UC Master Gardener volunteer serving your county using this link: http://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/. San Bernardino MGs may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (909)387-2182.