The Benefits of Trees
Trees provide so much more than shade. Here are a few reasons trees are important, courtesy of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA):
- Air-conditioning costs are lower in tree-shaded homes & businesses; heating costs are reduced.
- In workplaces with trees, people report decreased workplace stress and fatigue.
- Cleaner air: leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particles.
- Cooler environment: trees reduce heat in and around parking lots and paved areas.
Trees and the Drought
California residents are being asked to lower their water use by 15%. One easy way to do this is to turn off your sprinklers. But wait! What happens to the trees? Although they may look okay for now, the stress of going without water will take a toll. Lawns can be easily replanted and replaced, but trees take many years to become established.
What do Trees Need?
How Should I Water My Tree?
There is no “silver bullet” on how often or how much to water. This depends on many factors. Instead, after you water, take a shovel (away from tree roots) and check your soil. How deep did the water penetrate? Then check again several days later, a week later, etc. Make sure water is reaching the top 18” of the soil, then water again once soil dries out somewhat.
Prioritize Watering Trees with the TRIC
For more information about the value of trees, visit the following resources.
California Center for Urban Horticulture. UC Davis. Tree Ring Irrigation Contraption. https://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/tric
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Trees are Good. https://www.treesaregood.org/Portals/0/TreesAreGood_Benefits%20of%20Trees_0321_1.pdf
Water Talk. Janet Hartin. Podcast Episode 21. https://water-talk.squarespace.com/episodes/episode-21/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
In August we featured an article by former Environmental Horticulture Advisor, Ed Perry, called "Save the Right Seeds."
This article discussed how to successfully choose which vegetable seeds to save to plant in your garden next year.
Now, we wanted to follow up with tips for how to save your chosen seeds. Master Gardeners Royce Rhoads and Heidi Aufdermaur taught this class last year, and plan to teach it again in 2021.
Here is a list of items to gather. Most likely you already have most of them:
-Marker and masking tape
-Knife and spoon
-Jars and rings; or just use paper cups
-Paper towels or cheesecloth
-Fine mesh or strainer
-Paper plates for drying
Most people save tomato seeds, so let's go over the steps to save them. Tomato seeds have a gooey covering over them that needs to be removed first.
Allowing the seeds to sit in water lets “good” bacteria break down that covering. The empty seeds will float and you can skim them off. The seeds you want are at the bottom of the jar.
Step 1: Label the outside of your jar with masking tape and a permanent marker.
Step 2: Cut tomato, scoop out seeds & put into jar.
Step 3: Fill your jar, with the seeds in it, 1/2 full of water. Cover with paper towel/cheesecloth.
Step 4: Two days later, skim off floating seeds and remove.
Step 5: Wait a few more days until a film forms on the surface (fermentation* process).
Step 6: Strain the pulp through a screen until seeds separate. Spread onto labeled plate until dry for a few days.
Step 7: Label a paper mailing envelope and add seeds. Make sure to include the date.
Your seeds can last up to 4 years if stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Did you save any seeds using this post? If so, please tell us how you did in the comments below!
Vegetables such as peppers, eggplants, and melons are much easier to save than tomato seeds. Just remove and spread them out to dry. Squash seeds are also easy, but may need a little bit of cleaning by straining and rinsing with water.
Wow! Its been a busy, productive year. The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program started it's first training class in January of 2019. Twenty-three Master Gardeners graduated in June and have been volunteering in the community ever since.
Before you read a synopsis of what we've been up to, I'd like to ask you to support our programs. #GivingTuesday is TODAY! Help us continue on our mission by visiting http://bit.ly/MGStanislaus to give directly to our program. If you give early, ANR will MATCH your donation!
Here are just a few of the events and classes we've held so far:
July 2019 - Stanislaus County Fair
We were excited to have a booth in front of the horticulture building to announce the start of our program! We connected with over 350 people in just a few days! This was a great way to recruit volunteers for our 2020 class.
July to present - Modesto and Oakdale Farmers Markets
Volunteers were present every week at the Oakdale Farmers Market, and at the Modesto Farmers Market on various Thursdays and Saturdays. We gave out free vegetable seeds and instructions on how to grow your own healthy produce.
October 23, 2019 - Imagine a Day Without Water
Volunteers created a poster board to show best practices for conserving water, as well as handed out a low-water-use plant list. If you'd like to have this list, email us at email@example.com to request a copy.
November 9, 2019 Salmon Festival, Knights Ferry
Although a small town, Knights Ferry is a part of Stanislaus County too! Volunteers connected with many community members and enjoyed participating in the Eco-Quiz that taught attendees about wise water use.
November 14, 2019 - Vermicomposting Basics Class
This is one of the first classes the Master Gardeners taught on their own! Five volunteers learned everything you need to know to start a worm bin, why worms eat our garbage, and how they can help reduce adding waste to the landfill.
Wednesdays, August 2019 through December 11 – Master Gardener Help Line
Master Gardeners are available at our office to answer gardening and pest management questions! Since we started in August, we've had pest management questions about ants, cockroaches, powdery mildew, fireblight, and giant whitefly, just to name a few. We had a lot of gardening questions regarding shade trees and fruit trees, as well as vegetables. Our favorite question was “what are the best tasting tomatoes to grow for our area?”
If you have a question for our helpline, you can submit it online at the email address above or leave us a message at (209) 525-6802. Or stop by and see us at the Agricultural Center. Our office is in the Stanislaus Building, Suite A at 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, 95358. We are here Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon each week.
- Author: Ed Perry
Container gardening is popular both for growing annual and perennial flowers, herbs and certain vegetables. When discussing the topic with gardeners, nearly everyone agrees that the best growing media to place in the container are the mostly organic potting soils readily available at retail nurseries and garden stores. However, some gardeners still insist on adding a layer of gravel or other coarse material in the bottom of the container in the belief that drainage will be improved. I recently came across an article entitled "The Myth of Drainage Material in Container Plantings," by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor at Washington State University. According to Chalker-Scott, "This is just one of those myths that refuses to die, regardless of solid scientific evidence to the contrary."
Chalker-Scott writes that nearly every book or web site on container gardening recommends placing coarse material at the bottom of containers for drainage. The materials most often recommended for this practice are sand, gravel, pebbles, and pot shards. Some of these recommendations are quite specific and scientific sounding. To illustrate her point she refers to this piece of advice from a 1960's book on container plants: “Adequate drainage is secured by covering the hole in the bottom of the pot with a piece of broken flowerpot, concave side down; this in turn is covered with a layer (1/2" to 1" deep) of flowerpot chips. On top of this, a 1/4" to 3/8" layer of coarse organic material, such as flaky leaf mold, is placed.” The advice seems to make perfect sense, says Chalker-Scott, and it's presented so precisely. After all, we know that plants need good drainage, so their roots receive adequate oxygen, and we also know that water passes through coarsely textured material faster than it does fine material So, what's not to like?
Chalker-Scott then explains that nearly 100 years ago, soil scientists demonstrated that water does not move easily from layers of fine textured materials to layers of coarser textured materials. Since then, similar studies have produced the same results. Additionally, one study found that more moisture was retained in the soil underlain by gravel than that underlain by sand. Therefore, the coarser the underlying material, the more difficult it is for water to move across the interface. Imagine what happens in a container lined with pot shards! Chalker-Scott states that, despite popular belief, gravitational water will not move from a fine textured soil into a coarser soil until the finer soil is saturated. Roots suffocate in saturated soil, because water replaces oxygen in the soil pore spaces, and roots require oxygen. Concludes Chalker-Scott, since the stated goal for using coarse material in the bottoms of containers is to "keep soil from getting water logged," it is ironic that adding such material will do just the opposite. The bottom line: fill the container from bottom to top with a well-drained potting soil, and don't block the drain hole.
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.
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.
If you haven't already, please “like” us on Facebook and Twitter @UCMGStanislaus so you never miss an announcement for a class or workshop.