- Author: Elaine Lander
Mistletoe is a familiar sight of the season, often found wrapped in ribbon and hung for certain festivities this time of year. But did you know it is actually a parasitic plant that grows on a number of landscape trees in California?
There are two types of mistletoe in California. Broadleaf mistletoes attack certain broadleaf trees and some conifers while dwarf mistletoes attacks only conifers. Broadleaf mistletoes have green stems with thick, oval leaves. Dwarf mistletoes are smaller, with short stems and yellow scaly leaves.
Both types of mistletoe grow through tree bark and into the tree's tissue, living off the host tree. Healthy trees can typically tolerate a few mistletoe infections although individual branches may...
Days are getting shorter and evenings cooler as winter approaches. Sweater weather also means a change in the to-do list around the yard.
Here are a few things to consider when preparing your landscapes and gardens for winter.
- Protect sensitive plants from cold injury when freezing or frost is predicted. Cover plants with cloth or a similar material at night, leaving the covers open at the bottom so heat from soil can help warm plants.
- When frost or freezing is expected, irrigate dry topsoil at least 3 days before the cold weather to increase the soil's ability to retain...
Are you surprised to see aphids on some of your plants this time of year? With the current mild temperatures in California, aphids may continue living and reproducing in some locations this winter, with female adults giving birth to live young every day.
Low to moderate numbers of aphids aren't usually damaging, but allowing them to continue reproducing on your plants may mean more aphids this spring. Once aphid populations explode in spring, their feeding can turn leaves yellow and stunt shoots on certain plants. Aphids can also produce a great deal of honeydew, a sticky byproduct of their feeding.
For information on how to manage aphids in many situations, consult the
Winter is an ideal time to prune deciduous fruit and shade trees, since the trees are dormant and you can more easily see the tree canopy. In many cases, pruning can also help prevent or control certain insect and disease problems.
For help with pruning, visit the UC IPM web page called Pruning fruit and shade trees and shrubs.This page provides links to plant-specific pruning information for fruit trees, nut trees, landscape trees, and others. You can also find links to diseases and environmental disorders that commonly affect fruit and shade trees, as well as additional information on the topics of landscape management and videos on...
Weeds can be a real nuisance in gardens and landscapes, and even during the colder winter months, some kinds of weeds continue to grow and thrive. These are called winter annual weeds.
Most weeds are classified as annuals, biennials, or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle (germinate from seed, grow, flower, set seed, and die) in one year or less, biennials generally complete their life cycle in 2 years, and perennials live longer than 2 years.
Examples of winter annual weeds include chickweed, little mallow, and annual bluegrass. They germinate and actively grow during fall and winter, then produce seed and die by the hot summer months.
If allowed to set seed, annual winter weeds can continue to grow...