- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Whenever a drought happens in California, most of us look for ways to conserve water in our gardens and home. However, with droughts becoming the norm, rather than the exception, practicing water sustainability needs to become a way of life.
How can we conserve water in our daily lives? Our gardens are a good place to start, since about half of urban water is used for outdoor irrigation. The following are some suggestions which can have an impact on the amount of water you use in your gardens.
Practice water-wise garden irrigation by changing sprayers to drip system whenever possible, since sprayers decreases the amount of water going to your plants due to evaporation. Water according to the season, reducing or eliminating watering during the cooler, wet winter months – investing in a water timer with a rain sensor can help with this. Water early in the morning or late in the day when temperatures are cooler. Check your irrigation system regularly to check for leaks, repairing or replacing as needed.
Plant water-wise plants that need little water once established. The above link will provide you with many suggestions. Another wonderful source of plant information is the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/arboretum-all-stars
There are ways to reduce our water use in our homes also, including having a water-efficient washing machine, dishwasher, shower and toilet, and not letting the faucet run while shaving, brushing our teeth, or washing our hands.
These are a few of the many ways we can make being water-wise a way of life in our gardens and homes. Every drop of water counts!
To learn more about our water and ways to use it wisely, join the UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardeners on Tuesday, June 29th at 6:00pm on Zoom for our talk “Water-wise Tips for Your Garden and Home.” You can sign up at: http://ucanr.edu/water-wise/2021
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Why do some trees change color and drop their leaves before winter? And why are there different colors?
Leaves are colored by pigment molecules. Most leaves appear green because they contain an abundance of the pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the site of photosynthesis where the sun's energy is converted into the carbohydrates that are plants' food source. During the cold winter months when there is less sunlight, it would take too much energy for some trees to keep their leaves healthy. So deciduous trees lose their leaves for the winter. Evergreen trees have a different strategy for dealing with winter's challenges (which is a topic for another time!).
Elevation, latitude and weather all affect the timing and intensity of fall colors. Higher elevations and northern latitudes produce earlier autumn colors in trees. In general, autumn weather with lots of sunny days, dry weather, and cold, frostless nights will produce the most vibrant palette of fall colors. Some trees that can produce vivid colors include maples, gingkos, aspen, birches, Japanese maples, liquidamber, cherry, redbud, Chinese pistache, and dogwood.
In the Central Valley we usually don't get the glorious colors like the Sierra Mountains or the east coast, but we do get some color which usually starts in early November. So, enjoy the autumn jewels since it occurs only for a brief period each fall!
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener since July 2020.