- Author: Anne Schellman
Beetles are the most plentiful of all insects on the planet, so it's understandable to get a few of them confused. Let's compare photos and other details about each of these beetles, and also mention the green June beetle, a beetle that is commonly mistaken for the Japanese beetle.
Japanese beetles do not have an established population in California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture* (CDFA) maintains traps for detecting this pest throughout the state. When Japanese beetles are found in California, they are targeted for eradication (complete elimination). Read more about this invasive species on the UC IPM website at https://ipm.ucanr.edu/Invasive-and-Exotic-Pests/Japanese-Beetle/
Green Fruit Beetles
Green fruit beetles are a dull green color and much larger than Japanese beetles. You may notice them in late spring and summer as they zoom around your garden. Fortunately, they are rarely a pest. https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/FRUIT/PESTS/grfruitbeetle.html
Rose Chafer Beetles
The rose chafer beetle resembles the hoplia beetle, however, this pest is not found in California. You can read more about these beetles on this informational page from University of Minnesota https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/rose-chafers
Hoplia beetles are small, brown, and their undersides look like they've been dusted in gold. If you hold one in your hand, they will “play dead” and not move, making it easy to examine them.
*it's important that we help prevent invasive pests from taking hold in our communities and threatening agricultural crops. You can help by saying "yes" when asked if the Agricultural Commissioner's Office can place traps in your landscape.
Hibiscus are one of many flowers that are edible. Edible flowers can be used to add color, fragrance, flavor, and texture to foods. They can be added to soups and salads raw, used in entreés or desserts, make tea or flavored water, candied, breaded, or fried. They have the benefit of often being healthy while providing few calories.
Before consuming edible flowers, one should always proceed with caution. As with any new food item, slowly introduce specific flowers to the diet to see if any allergic reactions occur. The flowers should come from your garden or trusted source that has not been sprayed with pesticides. Do not use flowers from plants or bouquets that have been purchased from a floral shop, nursery, or garden center, as they may have been treated with pesticides. Many flowers share common names, so always look for the scientific name (genus and species) to ensure you have the right flower.
Choose flowers that have just fully opened, harvesting in morning right after the dew has dried. Flowers need to be carefully washed out, and in many cases, remove the stamens, styles, pistils, and sepals (the parts that hold the pollen and the green stems that hold petals together). Use as soon as possible for maximum flavor.
So Many Flower Choices!
Nasturtiums: these flowers have a delicious, peppery taste similar to watercress and their colorful blooms look lovely in summer salads.
Pansies: come in a wide range of colors with a mild lettuce-like taste which makes them popular for salads. The entire flower can be used.
Marigolds: some varieties have better flavors than others, so experimenting is a must. French marigolds have a bright, citrus-like flavor and a colorful addition to salads. The petals can be cooked in dishes and are sometimes referred to as “poor man's saffron.” Dried petals of African marigolds can be used to make a tea.
Dianthus or pinks: Their petals can be steeped in wine or sugared for use in cake decorations. The petals are unexpectedly sweet, if the bitter white base of the flowers is cut off.
Honeysuckle blossoms, as the name suggests, have a honey-like flavor. They bring a fragrant sweetness to jams, jellies, cakes, candies, and other sweet treats.
Roses: are often used in Middle Eastern dishes in the form of rose water which can add an intense flavor to a dish. The petals can also be sugared or used as garnishes.
Lavender: not only smells wonderful, but English and French lavenders have a sweet flavor used in a wide range of baked goods, ice creams and other recipes. However, use sparingly, as the flavor can be overpowering.
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a Stanislaus County Master Gardener with UC Cooperative Extension since 2020.
- Author: Dr. Anthony Fulford
What is subsoil?
There are several layers (also known as “horizons” to soil scientists) that can be found when we dig deeper and deeper down into the soil. We can imagine all the individual layers of a soil stacked one on top of the other like a layer cake, this is called the soil profile. The surface soil is the uppermost layer of the soil profile, and the one we are most familiar with, because this is where most of the action takes place. Soil mixing with tillage, compost and fertilizer application, irrigation, plant root growth, and animal activity (including microbes) are mainly concentrated within the soil's surface layer. Additionally, decomposition of plant and leaf litter occurs most rapidly in the surface soil, this eventually leads to the formation of new soil organic matter. In comparison, the subsurface soil, or subsoil, is composed of one or more soil layers that lie below the influence of surface soil activities. There is not a consistent depth at which every surface soil layer changes into the subsoil layer(s), rather the subsoil occurs at a different depth from place to place depending on numerous factors, including some of the factors mentioned previously. This is the reason why it is difficult to determine where the subsoil layer begins in the soil profile.
What does subsoil contain?
What does subsoil look like?
What is subsoil used for?
In general, the subsoil is a less suitable medium for plant growth compared to surface soil because of some of the factors mentioned previously. There are properties of subsoil however that make it suitable for other uses such as a source of “fill soil” for “cut-and-fill” construction operations, as a source of clay for building materials, and as an absorption layer for on-site wastewater disposal.
What can home gardeners do to keep their subsoil in great shape year after year?
What is the substratum layer of soil? Does that layer affect gardening at all, and if so how?
What is the bedrock layer? Does that layer affect gardening at all, and if so how?
Bedrock is the bottom layer of the soil profile layer cake. The bedrock layer consists of solid rock that has not yet been exposed to the chemical, physical, and biological processes of the surface soil and subsoil. In some places, bedrock is the foundation from which the overlying soil layers developed, while in other places, the bedrock layer may have become “buried” by windblown sand or sediment. Bedrock does not directly influence plant growth, but it can determine the type of clay minerals found in different layers of the soil profile.
Dr. Anthony Fulford is the Area Nutrient Management and Soil Quality Advisor for Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin Counties./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
- Egg: The female Monarch lays her eggs on their sole host plant, the milkweed (Asclepias). She generally lays one egg per plant. Each egg is about the size of a grain of salt.
- Larva (Caterpillar): After 3 – 5 days, the Monarch egg hatches to a larva, also called a caterpillar, eating only milkweed leaves. They go through five instar stages over a period of 10 – 14 days as they grow from 1/16th of an inch to about two inches, molting their exoskeleton at each stage.
- Pupa: The caterpillar finds a protected place to develop its chrysalis for the pupal stage. During the next 11-15 days the pupa will change to an adult by liquifying its body while inside the chrysalis, ultimately emerging to the adult butterfly.
- Adult: In the final hours before emergence, the chrysalis becomes translucent, a crack will appear, with the Monarch butterfly freeing itself from the case. Hanging from the now-empty chrysalis case, it will spend the next few hours pumping fluid into its wings until they are firm enough to fly. Eventually it will take flight and start seeking out nectar for its 1st meal. Adult Monarch butterflies feed on flowers, which makes them pollinators. The nectar provides energy for flight, mating, and migration.
The Monarch migration is extraordinary with none quite like it in the butterfly world. A Monarch butterfly begins an epic one-way journey south up to 2,800 miles to a specific place where they have never been to before, where their great-grandparent spent the previous winter. It remains largely a mystery how successive generations know the route and where to spend the winter months.
Late in summer or early fall, a final generation emerges. Triggered by changes in temperature and sunlight, this generation will migrate south. Known as the “Methuselah” generation (after the biblical patriarch said to have lived 969 years), they can live up to 6 – 8 months. They do not emerge as sexually mature butterflies, being in a “sexual diapause,” so their energies can be focused on developing flight muscles and storing lipids for their long journey south and surviving the winter months.
Come spring, with warming temperatures and longer days, these butterflies will become sexually mature, feed on nectar, mate, and start moving northward, laying eggs, which will hatch to continue the annual migration cycle.
You may see migrating Monarchs this fall in your garden feeding on nectar flowers, resting on flat flowers or rocks, or drinking from water sources. Admire them, but leave them be, since they still have some distance to go to reach their wintering grounds. In California, their wintering spots are along coastal areas from Monterey area (Pacific Grove) to San Diego.
Monarchs in Trouble
In temperate areas like the Central Valley, the tropical milkweed plant (Asclepias currasavica) does not go dormant. A parasite that lives on the plant is ingested by developing caterpillars and is linked lower migration success and reductions in lifespan. Choose milkweed species that goes through winter dormancy such as narrowleaf milkweed and showy milkweed (A. fasicularis and speciosa.)
The IUCN announcement states: "The western population is at greatest risk of extinction, having declined by an estimated 99.9%, from as many as 10 million to 1,914 butterflies between the 1980s and 2021.” In addition, "The larger eastern population also shrunk by 84% from 1996 to 2014. Concern remains as to whether enough butterflies survive to maintain the populations and prevent extinction."
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Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
Time: 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Where: Stanislaus Agricultural Center, 1800 Cornucopia Way, Harvest Hall
- Art Shapiro's Butterfly Site https://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/butterflies
- Butterflies in Your Garden https://ucanr.edu/sites/CEStanislausCo/files/345791.pdf
- Xerces Society - Pollinator Plants: California https://xerces.org/publications/plant-lists/pollinator-plants-California
- UC Davis Arboretum – Larval Hosts for Butterflies https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/blog/larval-host-plants-butterflies
- California Native Plant Society – Native Planting Guides https://www.cnps.org/gardening/choosing-your-plants/native-planting-guides
- Tropical Milkweed - a no grow https://xerces.org/blog/tropical-milkweed-a-no-grow
- Calscape CA native plants https://www.calscape.org/
- UC ANR Bug Squad Blog https://ucanr.edu/blogs/bugsquad/
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) https://www.iucn.org/
- The Monarch: Saving Our Most Beloved Butterfly, by Kylee Baumle, St. Lynn's PressMilkweed Poisoning: https://www.poison.org/articles/milkweed-can-cause-serious-poisoning-204
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
My first step was to go to the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) website to possibly determine what the manzanita plants had. IPM is a wonderful resource with a wide range of links with information on science-based home, garden, turf, and landscape pest management. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/
After doing some exploring on IPM I learned the plants probably had Manzanita leafgall aphid (Tamalia coweni). I knew of galls caused by tiny wasps existing on some trees such as oaks but learning that some aphids can cause galls was new and fascinating knowledge to me!
This website also includes links to the Stanislaus Sprout which is a weekly blog packed with information, upcoming classes and workshops, and gardening publications. https://ucanr.edu/sites/stancountymg/
Managing the Manzanita Pest
One IPM solution given was to avoid frequent irrigation or with excessive amounts of water. Once manzanita plants are well-established, they thrive with less frequent watering, so I was already not watering them often. Pruning was not recommended since it would stimulate new growth, which could attract more aphids, though I did remove leaves with the galls on them.
Take Advantage of These Resources
You do not have to be a Master Gardener to take advantage of the science-based resources I have discussed, the Integrated Pest Management website and the Stanislaus County Master Gardeners' Help Desk. They are available to all, not just to Master Gardeners. Like me, you can continue to learn new information that you can apply to your garden!
Resources and Information
- Aphids: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html
- Beneficial insects, including lady beetle larvae and paper wasps: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/beneficialpredatorscard.html
- Beneficial insects: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/beneficialinsectscard.html
- Oak Galls: (http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/INVERT/oakgallwps.html