- Author: Ed Perry
Do you keep notes on how your garden performs each year to help you remember what is working well and what is not? Maybe this is your year to start. Barb Fick, Home Horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, explains that there are many good reasons to keep a garden journal. A blank bound book or a ring binder filled with loose-leaf paper can make a great place to record what you do in your garden.
Having a year-to-year record of where things are planted will also help with crop rotation, which is the system of changing the types of vegetables and flowers planted each year in each garden location. Rotation discourages depletion of soil nutrients, pest outbreaks and soil borne disease. Without a good record of where each crop is planted however, it's easy to forget where a particular species may have been growing last year.
By recording each year's seasonal “landmarks” such as rainfall patterns and amounts, unusual weather such as rapid temperature changes, the date of the first daffodil bloom, the first frost and the arrival of the first hummingbird, you will be able to compare different years to one another and relate them to plant performance.
Fick writes that it's a good idea to record pest outbreaks in relation to what plants they are found on. It's also very important to include any control measures used, and the success or failure of those measures. This information will help you prepare for the same problem next year, or may help you decide not to grow that particular species next year. Also, record the appearance and activities of beneficial insects and their host plants. For instance, you may record that aphids on your rose bushes were brought under control by ladybird beetles and other natural enemies by mid-April. This information might help you make a decision on whether to use an insecticide to control the aphids the following year, or to let nature take its course.
To keep track of the amount of money spent on seed, fertilizer and garden tools, a journal can come in handy. It can also be a good way of keeping track of yields and a safe place to record the identities of the things you plant. You can keep a good record of species and varieties simply by taping the plant identification tags onto your journal pages, along with the planting dates and garden locations.
Fick says that along with being very practical, a garden journal can give you a feeling of accomplishment. When you add up the many hours spent, the numbers of species planted and the various garden methods used, most gardeners will feel proud of what they've done.
- Author: Heidi Aufdermaur
The Master Garden handbook defines a weed as “a plant growing where it is not wanted.” For the home gardener, a plant can become a weed when it interferes with intended use of land and water resources.
I recently purchased “Weeds of California and other Western States” a two-volume resource book. It lists over 1600 pages of plants considered weeds. As I read through this book, I see many plants listed that I would not have considered as weeds, such as the broadleaf forget-me-not. I love the look of this annual. I scattered their seeds several years ago in one area of my yard and this year I found them growing in several other places. This isn't surprising as I've observed their seeds attached to my clothes and garden gloves.
So, is it a weed if this pretty flower shows up somewhere else? According to the California Invasive Plant Council, the answer is “yes,” since this particular plant is also considered invasive. It can escape landscapes and move into natural habitats and pastures. The control of invasive plants in California costs over $82 million dollars per year.
One “weed” I enjoy came from my grandmother's garden, it's called the “three-corner leek”. This “weed” looked so pretty in her yard, I brought it home many years ago. Now, I see it made itself comfortable all over the yard. This perennial bulb, with white umbel-like flowers, has “escaped cultivation as a garden ornamental”, according to the “Weeds” book. It has been somewhat easy to control, and I dig out the bulb when it appears. I think of Grandma when I see it, so in the garden, it's staying.
A Weedy Menace
I am slowly winning the fight in two areas where these weeds are located. However, under the birch trees, I have surrendered to taking my garden knife and cutting off the greens just below the surface of the ground. I know it may not be a permanent solution, but it looks good until I need to cut the greens again, in a few weeks. The “Weeds” book says this process eventually “depletes bulb energy reserves.” I have learned not to let this plant set flowers as it also reproduces itself using seeds.
I am determined to win this battle against the weeds with perseverance. Wish me luck!!! I hope to see your comments on how you are doing controlling weeds in your garden.
UC IPM Home and Landscape Pests - Weeds
California Invasive Plant Council
Weeds of California and Other Western States, vol. 1&2, UC ANR publication 3488
For more information about Stanislaus Master Gardener's program and upcoming classes, sign up for the Stanislaus Sprout blog at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/StanislausSprout
A Help Desk is also available to help with other gardening questions or concerns: https://ucanr.edu/sites/stancountymg/
Heidi Aufdermaur is a graduate of the 2019 Class of Master Gardeners in Stanislaus County.
- Author: Lisa Cherenson
Fields of weeds abound
Challenge faced with sturdy hoe
Sweat, aching back-Spring!
Purple hues, blue sky
Buzzing bees laboring-gentle hum
Lisa Cherenson is a graduate of the 2019 Class of Master Gardeners in Stanislaus County.
- Author: Cheryl A. Wilen
Nurseries and garden centers often sell a wide range of plants for use in gardens and landscapes. As a consumer, you may manage a complex array of different landscape plantings, including woody trees and shrubs, woody ground cover beds, annual flower beds, herbaceous perennial beds, and mixed plantings. This complexity often makes weed management difficult. An integrated approach is the most economical and efficient way to control weeds, so knowing strategies for managing weeds in a variety of landscapes can help.
Woody Trees and Shrub Beds
Control perennial weeds before planting, although weed control can also be done after planting. Densely planted areas will reduce weeds. Geotextile (landscape) fabrics rather than black plastic used with a shallow layer of mulch will keep weeds from emerging. If you mulch without a geotextile base, the mulch layer must be thicker to prevent weed emergence.
If needed, you can use a preemergence herbicide to control annual weeds and supplement with hand weeding and spot applications of postemergence herbicides for weeds that are not well-controlled by hand weeding, such as perennial grasses.
Woody Ground Cover Beds
Mature, woody ground cover beds should exclude most weeds; however, when ground cover is just establishing, weed growth is likely. Perennial weeds must be controlled before planting, although perennial grasses may be selectively controlled after planting with a grass-selective herbicide like sethoxydim (Grass-Getter). Annual weeds may be controlled with mulch plus a preemergence herbicide but rooting of stolons in new plantings may be affected. You will need to supplement with some hand weeding.
Annual Flower Beds
A dense planting in annual flower beds will help shade out and compete with many weeds. Flower species should be carefully selected for weed management compatibility. Periodic cultivation at 3- to 4-week intervals and between flower beds plant rotations will also suppress weeds. Perennial weeds must be controlled before planting. Annual weeds can be controlled with mulches, preemergence herbicides, frequent cultivation, and/or hand weeding. Control perennial grasses with grass-selective herbicides like clethodim, sethoxydim, or fluazifop. Avoid nonselective herbicides in annual flower beds after planting.
Herbaceous Perennial Beds
Weed management options in herbaceous perennial beds are similar to those for annual flowers, except that it is more important to eradicate perennial weeds as there will be no opportunity to cultivate or renovate the bed for several years; and fewer species are included on herbicide labels. Geotextiles may be used in these types of plantings. Manage weeds with mulches and supplement with hand weeding. If needed, use preemergence herbicides after hand weeding.
Mixed Plantings of Woody and Herbaceous Plants
Weed management in mixed plantings is complex because of the diversity of species. Different areas of the bed could receive different weed treatments. Site preparation is critical because post-plant herbicide choices are few. Plant the woody species first and control perennial weeds in the first two growing seasons, then introduce the herbaceous species. Plant close together to shade the soil. Group plants within the bed that will receive similar weed management programs.
In most landscape situations, herbicides should not normally be needed by home gardeners. Mulching, removal by hand, and proper irrigation (pattern and amount of water) are sufficient in most cases. Find more information in the UC IPM Pest Notes: Weed Management in Landscapes.
- Author: Anne E Schellman
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners of Stanislaus County are teaching a free Managing Pests in Your Vegetable Garden class on Thursday, July 18, 2019 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Agriculture Center on 3800 Cornucopia Way in Modesto at Harvest Hall, Rooms D&E.
Join us for a free class about common pests that plague warm-season vegetable gardens. Learn how to identify insects, diseases, and weeds and how to control them using less-toxic methods.
This family-friendly class is open to everyone. Participants will receive free seeds (while supplies last). Our instructor for the class is Ed Perry, Environmental Horticulture Advisor (emeritus) for Stanislaus County. This class is free, but please visit http://ucanr.edu/vegpests2019 or call Anne Schellman at (209) 525-6862 to sign up. Space is limited, so please reserve your seat today.
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