California Bay or CA Laurel or Headache Tree or, heaven forbid, Oregon Myrtle is a tree native to the west coast where there is water. In the rainy forests of northern CA and Oregon and the wet creek areas in ravines and canyons of southern CA.
Walking around a barannca the other day along a still wet section of the Ventura River, there was a fruiting bay tree. Fruit that look just like little avocado fruit to which bay is related.
Umbellularia californica is in the Lauraceae along with Persea americana, but sometimes still listed as P. gratissima.
Bay gets its name from the strong bay laurel odor similar to the culinary laurel – Laurus nobilis –, which is not related to avocado. The odor can be so pungent, that taking strong whiffs of it could bring on a headache, hence the alternative name. The tree can attain a 30 feet height as a single trunked tree or be multi-trunked. The wood is gorgeous hard and is notable in the construction of musical instruments. The seeds were roasted and eaten like acorns. There's been a recent craze to eat dried, ground, powdered avocado seeds which has been discouraged by the CA Avocado Commission.
On the north coast, this tree is subject to Sudden Oak Death – Phytophthora ramorum. It is also subject to avocado root rot, just like avocado. It is also the only California native that is subject to Laurel Wilt Disease which is ravaging the laurel forests of the southeast.
CA Laurel in Flower looks a lot like an avocado flower, hence the reason for being in the same family
Wednesday, August 12
9 - noon
Avocado Grower Webinar
Weeds and Biostimulants
Sonia Rios (UCCE Farm Advisor, Riverside/San Diego Counties Subtropical Horticulture) will talk about how to identify different weeds and the various methods that can be used to control them. And if glyphosate is lost, what chemical alternatives are available and how would they be used. A look at new products.
Ben Faber (Subtropical Crops Advisor, Ventura/Santa Barbara Counties) will talk about biostimulants in agriculture. What are they? How might they work? How to assess whether they work? There are many different new products brought on to the market every year that purport to improve plant growth and yield, often with lavish claims. Can some of those claims be backed up with solid data? Some can and some can't. How does one decide what is worth trying?
Report Unsolicited Seeds to APHIS
Author: UC Integrated Pest Management Program
Have you had unexpected seeds show up in the mail? Unknown seeds could be invasive plants, contain invasive insects, or have plant disease causing agents. Here's what the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has to say about it.
APHIS Stakeholder Announcement July 28, 2020 (Language from their website)
USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds
USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
At this time, [USDA does not] have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.
USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS' website to learn more about USDA's efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.
Cecilia Sequeira (301) 851-4054
Public Value: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food
Focus Area: Ag, Environment, Pest Management, Yard & Garden
Tags: USDA, invasive, seed, press release, plants, regulations, pest management
Unlabeled seeds from unsolicited packages. Credit: Anonymous.
Alt text: Unrequested package of seeds in a plastic bag next to the mailing envelope the seeds were delivered in. Credit Anonymous./h2>/h2>/h1>
A new pest for avocado? Old pest? How much damage will it do? Don't know yet.
Tracy Ellis, the San Diego County Ag Commissioner Entomologist has partially identified what appeared to be two pest and a parasitoid, as only one pest and a beneficial that is doing it's duty going after the pest.
The insect determination has come back for both larvae (one a leaf miner and one a leaf roller) as the same insect! It has been determined to be C-rated gracillariid miner Caloptilia sp. (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) at this time. An image of the adult moth is not yet available.
Apparently, the larval stage transitions from a miner to a roller, in what's called hyper-metamorphosis. Starting as a miner and abandoning the mine to roll the leaf. CDFA scientist Marc Epstein is taking a closer look at this insect . Marc does not know if it is a local insect that adapted to avocados or is an import, as many in this family have not been studied or sequenced.
The leaf roller/folder has appeared down in San Diego and Santa Barbara. It's not clear whether it will be a pest of the fruit at this time.
The results for the parasite came back as Hymenoptera. That too needs greater study.
Above is a photo of both insect stages. They can be found together in the same habitat.
The damage from the leaf miner generally looks like this
And miner looks like this
The damage from the leafroller looks like this:
Larval leafroller with the parasite on it.
And the parasite , once it grows up from being a maggot, looks like this
It's still not clear what damage this might do. Maybe nothing significant. Maybe this is an aberration only for this year. Stay tuned.