- Author: Anne Schellman
- Author: Ed Perry
- Why are the leaves on my orange tree turning yellow?
It's common for citrus tree leaves to turn yellow in winter*. Fertilize to provide the tree with nutrients now, then watch as leaves green up in spring. Avoid fertilizing in fall, which encourages new growth favored by pest and can leave the tree susceptible to frost injury.
- How do I know if my oranges are ripe/when should I pick my oranges?
You don't have to pick all your oranges once they ripen. In fact, the best place to store oranges is on the tree, where they stay fresh! Pick as needed, unless temperatures below 28 F are predicted, then you'll want to harvest.
- What is this pest?
Scales and whiteflies suck plant juices and weaken the plant. Ants do two things:
- Protect pests from predators like ladybugs, parasitic wasps (very tiny wasps) and lacewings.
- “Harvest” honeydew (a sticky sugary substance excreted by these pests) for food, in a symbiotic relationship that does not include the gardener.
- Why are my oranges splitting?
The reason this happens is not well understood, although it's often related to changes in weather conditions. However, allowing the soil to dry out too much between irrigations is believed to result in increased splitting. Make sure your tree has a constant supply of moisture by watering monthly during the dry season.
- When should I prune my orange tree?
When pruning deciduous trees like peach, plum or cherry, after leaf drop, don't be tempted to prune citrus! Citrus trees are evergreen and require little if any pruning except to control size. If you'd like to keep a new citrus tree under 5 feet tall, you can carefully prune it in spring to manage the height. This way, you won't need a ladder to pick fruit again!
Avoid pruning in fall or winter, which encourages new growth favored by pests and can leave the tree susceptible to frost injury.
*if your tree leaves turn yellow and it's not winter, this may be a different problem.
With Halloween coming up I am seeing lots of scary faux spiders among front yard Halloween decorations. I must admit I am guilty of feeding into the arachnophobia that so many people have by placing a big fake hairy tarantula in my yard.
Most spiders are solitary creatures, but some form groups and even cooperate in brood care, caring for other spiders' offspring.
Not all spiders spin webs but those that do can create an incredible assortment of web designs, depending on the species, including spiral orbs, funnels, tubular, or ground sheets.
In some cases, two or more males will perform for a female to compete for her favor.
Some drop their silk to act as parachutes so they can drift on the slightest breeze
While spiders do not have brains in the traditional sense, a type of jumping spider appears to remember similar prey it has encountered, using trial and error to determine what works in capturing it.
Common and Beneficial
Spiders are the most common miniature living things living in our homes (besides micro-organisms). We are seldom aware of them because they conceal themselves in hidden spots (thus camouflaging themselves from their prey), tend to be active at night, and avoid humans. After all, we are much bigger than they are!
Spiders are beneficial organisms because they feed on common indoor pests such as mosquitoes, flies, roaches, earwigs, and moths. An additional benefit: many of the indoor pests that spiders consume can transmit diseases, i.e., mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and cockroaches. If left alone, spiders will consume most of the insects in your home, thus providing effective pest control.
The jaws of most spiders are too small to bite humans. Of those that can bite, they will bite only if provoked, but very few spider bites are dangerous to humans. If you are bitten, the bite area may swell slightly and itch.
The adult female black widow is the primary spider in California capable of seriously injuring people. If bitten, remain calm and seek medical help.
Contrary to common myth, the brown recluse spider does not reside in California.
If you do have a spider issue around your home, the most effective way to manage them is to do regular housecleaning. Sweep or vacuum up their webs both indoors and outdoors, and prevent clutter build up that can provide hiding places for them both indoors and outdoors. If you do come across one, capture it in a jar and release it outside in an out-of-the-way spot. Avoid using pesticides since the chemicals will also kill other beneficial insects.
Appreciate Spiders Beneficial Role and Help Protect Them!
I will continue to put out my big “scary” tarantula out with the Halloween décor because spiders are so awesome. However, I do not put out the fake webbing, because like real spider webs, they can trap beneficial insects, spiders, and even small birds such as hummingbirds.
I will continue to allow spiders to share my home and garden, so they can do their crucial work of reducing pests. I much prefer having a few spiders around than mosquitoes, flies, moths, or cockroaches!
You do not have to love spiders like I do, but I hope you can appreciate the vital role arachnids play in our homes and gardens, and generally let them be.
Pests of Homes, Structures, People and Pets: https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7442.html
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener since 2020.
The past few weeks have been “fun” with pest challenges in our garden and home. In the kitchen we battled ant infestations and pantry moths. In the yard the milkweed plants have been covered with oleander aphids, the California lilac (Ceanothus) was attacked by mealybugs accompanied by ants, and paper wasps (Polistes) have been trying to build a nest on the front porch.
Inside the House:
In the garden:
Milkweed and oleander aphids (Aphis nerii)
I hoped I had escaped getting the detested orange oleander aphids this year, since in recent years they usually showed up earlier in the summer, but ultimately, they appeared. Most established plants can tolerate some aphids, but all aphids produce honeydew, which can attract ants and sooty mold. Since milkweed is the sole food source for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar, pesticides are not recommended. Thus, using strong sprays of water every couple of days helps manage them. Based on previous experience, I know they will reach the end of their life and ultimately disappear. https://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/aphidscard.html
Paper wasps (Polistes gallicus)
Thanks to UC IPM, which provides information on garden issues and pests, along with giving scientifically researched options on how to deal with them, I have managed to either control or eliminate these pesky pests.
UC IPM Resources:
The above links are to Quick Tips, short, to-the-point cards on each topic. They are available for free at local UC Cooperative Extension offices. The references below are for Pest Notes, which may have multiple pages and offer more detailed information about each topic.
Pantry Pests: https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7452.html
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener with Stanislaus County since 2020./h3>/h4>/h4>/h4>/h3>/h4>/h4>/h3>
- Author: Anne Schellman
In years past, I would get bitten by mosquitoes when out late at night. But in the past decade, I've been bitten frequently during the day, and this year seems to be particularly bad, possibly due to favorable weather conditions for mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus
How can you protect yourself?
Although day biting mosquitoes can bite through clothing, it can help reduce bites. You can also wear an application of repellent underneath. The CDC recommends using an insect repellent containing the active ingredients DEET, Picardin, IR3535, or the plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. Please note, the last active ingredient is not an essential oil.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes
For more in-depth information and tips for how to protect yourself and your family in and around your home, visit the UC IPM Website at https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7451.html
California Department of Public Health https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/pages/Aedes-aegypti-and-Aedes-albopictus-mosquitoes.aspx
UC IPM Pest Notes: Mosquitoes https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7451.html
West Nile CA https://westnile.ca.gov/
UC IPM Quick Tips: Mosquitoes https://ipm.ucanr.edu/legacy_assets/pdf/qt/qtmosquito.pdf or if you prefer in Spanish, https://ipm.ucanr.edu/legacy_assets/pdf/qtsp/qtspmosquitoes.pdf
Stanislaus County, Human West Nile Virus Cases in Stanislaus County, https://www.schsa.org/pdf/press-releases/2023/WNV%2023-06.pdf
Anne Schellman has been the UC Master Gardener Coordinator in Stanislaus County since the program started in 2018./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
The warm weather has arrived, and so have the pests! By now you've probably noticed a few munching on plants in your vegetable garden. If you are looking for solutions, we suggest taking our free Pest Management in Vegetable Gardens class at Turlock Community Gardens on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 9:00 a.m*.
During this class, you'll learn to identify pests that plague warm season vegetable garden crops like tomatoes, squash, and peppers. You'll also take home colorful and handy reference cards called Quick Tips to help you easily identify pests while you are out in the garden. We suggest you bring a chair, water, hat, note pad and pen (if desired) and wear comfy shoes.
Turlock Community Gardens
Turlock Community Gardens was a project that was "born" in 2020 and in just a few short years has become an amazing place for the community. The garden is located at 4105 Crowell Road in Turlock at the back of the property. Read more details at https://www.turlockcommunitygardens.org/
Need something to do THIS Saturday?
Drop by the Gardens for community day. They host this fun event on the second Saturday of each month! As you can see by the flyer, there are a lot of fun activities planned.
Visit Turlock Community Gardens website for more information at https://www.turlockcommunitygardens.org/, or contact them with questions about garden plots, classes, and more at email@example.com
*feel free to put insect pests in a plastic bag or vial to show our Master Gardener along with your information. They can bring it back to the office so we can help you identify it.