- Author: Anne E Schellman
Why Not Move Firewood?
By bringing wood from home, you can unknowingly spread invasive pests and diseases that can harm trees. This includes dry, aged, and seasoned wood. Once you arrive at your destination, pests can emerge from the firewood and spread to the trees and forests where you camp. Invasive and hard-to-control pests kill several million native trees every year, causing environmental and economic problems.
Did you Know?
New infestations of tree-killing insects and diseases are often found in campgrounds and parks as a result of campers moving firewood!
This trip, tell your friends and family why you aren't bringing firewood. For more information about firewood pests and resources for finding good firewood, visit the Don't Move Firewood web site. To learn about many of the invasive wood-boring pests and associated diseases and problems, visit the UC IPM web site.
First posted on August 30, 2021
Anne Schellman has been the Coordinator for the Stanislaus County Master Gardeners since 2018./h4>/h4>
- Author: Ed Perry
During the first two to four years after planting a new fruit tree, fruit production is either light or absent. However, this is the time when major root growth takes place and the basic framework of the tree is being developed. Actually, the first year that the tree is in the ground is the most important for root development. Stress caused by diseases, nematodes, weed competition or insufficient water can slow or stop root development, and hence top development. If your tree's growth is stunted from the beginning, there is little chance that it will grow satisfactorily in later years. After the first years, young trees become more tolerant to many of these stresses.
The second and third growing seasons are critical ones for developing your tree's framework for fruit production. Deciduous fruit and nut trees must be properly trained for structural strength while developing maximum fruiting area. The system most used is the open center or vase system. Citrus and avocado trees, on the other hand, do not require extensive pruning. Pests such as twig boring insects that cause distortion of early limb growth are most serious during these early years, because their damage affects the ultimate shape of the tree.
Young trees are often most susceptible to certain diseases such as bacterial canker or verticillium wilt. If your trees reach eight or nine years of age without being badly injured by these diseases, chances are good that they will survive future attacks.
Of course the most common and serious cause of poor tree development is improper watering practices. Too much or too little water will prevent the vigorous growth of young fruit trees, and make them more susceptible to pest, disease and sunburn problems as well. More than any other cultural practice, irrigation will affect the growth, development, and long term health and productivity of your fruit trees.
Ed Perry is the emeritus Environmental Horticultural Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Stanislaus County where he worked for over 30 years.
Learn more about planting and pruning bare root fruit trees by watching the recording of our past class on our YouTube Channel.
Take our Pest Management in Vegetable Gardens class to learn how to identify pests and manage them using less toxic solutions. You'll also learn how to recognize beneficial insects, too.
Where: On Zoom. You will receive a link the morning of the class.
When: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Register at: http://ucanr.edu/vegpests/2021
Instructors: Rho Yare & Anne Schellman
- 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: Anne E Schellman
Over the past few months, gardeners have asked the UCCE Master Gardeners for help with their grapes. They want to know:
- What's this white powdery substance on my grape plants?
- Why are my grapes so small?
- What's causing my grapes to split?
- What can I do to “save” my grape plants?
The culprit is a common grape disease called powdery mildew. This fungus leaves a telltale white powdery coating on plants. It also deforms leaves, shoots, and grapes. Young grapes can be stunted or scarred, and sometimes split open.
We've told gardeners that unfortunately, powdery mildew can't be eradicated. For now, gently hosing down plants weekly with water will help to wash off and kill the spores.
In winter, prune grapes and remove and destroy infected materials. During spring, use fungicides to protect grapevines. Timing is important. Read about how and when to prevent and control this disease in the publication Pest Notes: Powdery Mildew.
Small grapes are a result of too many clusters of grapes on a vine. The clusters will need to be thinned. Sometimes gardeners have trouble doing this. It may feel like you are throwing away perfectly good fruit! However, thinning out grape clusters is a necessary task that should be done in early spring during the first three to four weeks after fruit has set.
Study up on grapes now! Then you'll know what you need to do next year. For information on pruning, thinning, and growing grapes, visit The California Garden Web page Growing Grapes in Your Backyard.