Hello Sprout readers, We have a few questions for you…
- Are you tired of your landscape and ready for something new?
- Have you been thinking about replacing all or part of your lawn?
- Are you confused about how to transition from sprinkler to drip irrigation?
- Do you want to attract insect pollinators and birds to your landscape?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this is the workshop for you! Learn how to replace your sprinkler system and convert to drip, hear about some low water use plants, including a list of plants that can provide bloom year-round.
Bring your questions! This is an especially great opportunity to speak with Tim Long, an expert in drip irrigation systems, as well as our other speakers who have experience with growing CA natives and lawn removal.
Workshop cost includes seeds, plants, and presentation materials and helps support our program. If you are unable to afford to pay for this class, not a problem! Just sign up so we know you are coming.
Where: Ag Center, Harvest Hall rooms D&E, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, 95358.
When: Saturday, October 7, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Questions? (209) 525-6800
Sign Up: https://ucanr.edu/new/front/yard
Instructors: UC Cooperative Extension, Stanislaus County Master Gardeners - Heidi Aufdermaur, Tim Long, Rhonda Allen, Doone Cockrell, and Bobbie Green.
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Pollinators that hang around our gardens include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, and flies. While all these pollinators are important, bees make up about 50% of pollinators.
Native Bees Prominent Role
When you see bees in your garden, you likely see many European honeybees (Apis mellifera), who are crucially important to the Central Valley's agriculture since Honeybees pollinate 90% of the almond crop. But Honeybees are not the only bees in search of nectar in farmers' fields and our gardens. There over 4,000 species of native bees in the United States, with about 1,600 in California.
Native bees play an important role in pollinating our plants since they are 200 times more efficient at pollination than Honeybees. Studies in the Central Valley have shown three dozen or so native bee species provide sufficient pollination services for a single farm. For example, pollinating an acre of apples requires 60,000-120,000 Honeybees; the same area can be pollinated by 250-750 Mason bees (Megachile).
Social Characteristics and Nesting Habits
Most bees are solitary in nature, generally producing honey only for their own consumption and/or for their young. Nesting habits vary from social hives/colonies to solitary nesting in the ground or woody material.
- Social vs. Solitary bees:
o Solitary bees make up 99% of all bees in North America, with social bees making up less than 1%. Only Honeybees and Bumblebees are social, living in colonies, with all other bees being solitary. Most Honeybees are domesticated, living in hives. Bumblebees live in the wild, in colonies which are generally underground. Honeybee hives will have a population of 10,000-50,000 bees, while Bumblebees will have only 50-400 in their colonies.
- Ground nesting bees make up 70% of bees:
o Mining bees and Digger bees (Adrena): As their names indicate, these bees have a ground-nesting lifestyle. From the outside, the tunnels look like holes with a ring of loose soil around them and can be mistaken for small ant hills or earthworm mounds. Mining bees are active only in the spring for 4-8 weeks during which the females dig tunnels to lay their eggs and raise their young. Both bees are extremely docile, rarely stinging.
- Stem and wood nesting bees make up 30% of bees:
o Leafcutter bees (Megachilidae) use a “wrapper” of leaves, resin, and sand to build their nests in natural or artificial cavities. If you see some leaves in your garden with their distinctive circular “cut out,” you will know you have some in your area. They are about the same size as honeybees, but their bodies are black and furry while Honeybees are dark brown to black and yellow striped.
o Mason beesconstruct their nests from mud, preferring hollow stems or holes made by wood-boring insects. Some people hang bee “houses” with hollow tubes to attract these bees to nest in their yard.
Generalist vs. Specialist Bees
Some bees are generalists, getting their nectar from a wide variety of flowers. These include the Bumblebee and the Mason bee.
Other bees are specialists, feeding only from very specific flowers, such as the Squash bee (two genera: Peponapis and Xenoglossa) or the Sunflower bee (Megachile) with their common names indicating which type of flowers they favor.
Other Native Bees
Other bees you may see in your garden:
- Carpenter bees (Apidae): Females are shiny black and can sting, but only if provoked. Males are golden and can't sting. Their name derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. Occasionally they may nest in unpainted wood siding of buildings.
- Sweat bees (Halictidae): Sweat bees' common name is due to their tendency to land on and lick the sweat from people's skin! One of the coolest looking bees in this group is the green sweat bee, which has a shiny, iridescent exoskeleton. Most of these bees nest in the ground, though some nest in wood. Some species are cleptoparasites, meaning they will lay their eggs on food in another species' nest and after hatching, the larva kills the host's larva!
- Long-horned bees (Melissodes): With medium to large bodies, this non-aggressive group gets their names from the long antennae of the males, which females lack. Females have a solitary nest in the ground whereas males sleep outside, often spending the night in groups on the surface of a flower.
Bees are in Trouble
Some ways you can help:
- Plant a garden full of flowering plants to attract bees and other pollinators. Make sure you have something blooming during each of the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Whenever possible, plant native plants since native bees and plants evolved together.
- If you use a pesticide, choose one that is less toxic such as a horticultural soap or oil and spray in early morning or evening when pollinators are unlikely to be present. (https://ipm.ucanr.edu/GENERAL/pesticides_urban.html)
- Provide spaces for nesting bees, with bee houses and bare patches of soil, along with a source of water.
By providing a bee-friendly garden, you can help the vital native bee pollinators thrive.
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UCCE Master Gardener with Stanislaus County since 2020/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
May Classes with the UC Cooperative Extension Stanislaus County Master Gardeners
Tues, 5/2 at 6:00 p.m. – Salida Library
Sat, 5/6 at 2:00 p.m. – Empire Library
Mon, 5/8 at 6:00 p.m. – Ceres Library
Tues, 5/9 at 6:00 p.m. – Oakdale Library
Thurs, 5/11 at 1:00 p.m. – Patterson Library
Mon, 5/22 at 5:30 p.m. – Modesto Library
Wed, 5/24 at 6:00 p.m. – Turlock Library
- Author: Anne Schellman
Did you know? All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti?
This class will focus on the non-spiny succulent plants that can be grown in our area, especially those that use less water - and there are a lot to choose from! During this workshop with the UCCE Master Gardeners of Stanislaus County, you'll learn the names of common succulent plants, their sun and water requirements, and how to care for them.
We will also share tips and tricks for making more succulents to share with friends. Last, you'll create your own succulent wooden planter box to take home, along with succulent cuttings to use in your landscape. You will want to bring a bag to take them all home!
When: Saturday, May 6, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 pm
Space is limited, register now at https://ucanr.edu/succulent/workshop/2023
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
Here are seven tips on how to protect your plants from freezing temperatures in California:
- Water your plants. Make sure your plants (not succulents) are hydrated before a freeze. Water the soil around the base of the plant, this will help to insulate the plant and keep it from freezing.
- Cover your plants. Use blankets, fitted bed sheets, or frost cloths to cover your vulnerable plants. Make sure the cover reaches all the way to the ground and is securely fastened to prevent cold air from seeping in. Do not use plastic covers, as they can trap moisture and damage the plant. Make sure to remove the covering when the temperature rises.
- Add warmth for your plants. Use incandescent miniature lights (not the LED type) to provide warmth and raise the temperature around your plants. Position a 100–150 watt light in the center of the tree and cover the plant with a sheet.
- Bring potted plants indoors. If you have potted plants, move them to a sheltered area (ie. Porch, indoors, under an awning), when temperatures are expected to drop. If possible, cluster potted plants close together in a sheltered spot close to the house. If plants are brought indoors, place them near a window that gets sunlight.
- Mulch your plants. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of your plants. This will help to insulate the roots and keep the soil warm.
- Prune your plants. Prune any dead or damaged branches from your plants before a freeze. This will help to prevent further damage from occurring.
- Monitor the weather. Stay up-to-date on the latest weather forecasts and take action if freezing temperatures are expected. If possible, move your plants to a warmer location or cover them before the freeze sets in.
It's important to note that different plants have different levels of cold tolerance. Some plants are more susceptible to freezing temperatures than others. If you're unsure about how to protect a particular plant, consult with your local UC Master Gardener Program for advice, mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs.
By taking these steps to protect your plants from freezing temperatures, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and vibrant year-round. With a little extra care, you can keep your garden looking beautiful no matter what the weather brings. Stay warm this week!
Frost Protection for Citrus and other Subtropicals (UC ANR publication 8100)
UC Master Gardener Program of Marin County, Problems, Extreme Conditions – Frost