The UC Master Gardener volunteer program serves the citizens in San Luis Obispo County to help them flourish and maximize their success in the garden. Master Gardeners work to maintain the Garden of the Seven Sisters in San Luis Obispo, a hands-on educational facility that also provided the local community with over 1,100 lbs of fresh produce in 2019, through donations to the SLO County Food Bank Coalition.
It takes a lot of people and a variety of resources to run the Garden the Seven Sisters which provides science-based learning opportunities that focus on sustainable garden practices.
For example, in 2019, our 90 Certified Master Gardener volunteers achieved the following:
- Over 5,000 hours of work and completed 1100 hours of continuing education.
- 500 people consulted Helpline for garden information and advice
- 1,000 people attended our monthly Advice to Grow By workshops
- 350 people attended the Fall Festival
- 100 people attended the Lunchtime in the Garden, many of whom were seeing the garden for the first time
- Master Gardeners facilitated 18 additional speaking engagements, and staffed 10 information tables at community events and festivals
- Our new class of 2020 includes 32 new trainees who are currently completing 54 hours of educational training to become certified Master Gardeners.
All these efforts and accomplishments would not be possible without the generous support of the SLO County community.
Save the Date: June 5th is World Environmental Day and the Big Dig Day. This is the day to Dig Deep and support the programs you care about. We invite you to support the programs and services that enrich our county.
Every dollar counts. Your donation of just $15 to the Master Gardener Program of SLO County could help us purchase soil and seeds for the donation plot.
The UC Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County covered a lot of territory in 2019. Our 90 volunteers recorded over 5,000 volunteer hours and 1100 continuing education hours.
Here's a snapshot of the 2019 activities and what we have planned for 2020.
More than 1,000 SLO County residents attended our monthly workshops in the garden. We visited a variety of community groups and libraries for an additional 18 presentations, which included a collaboration with the SLO Botanical Garden for a speaker series featuring UC Master Gardeners. MGs also staffed 10 information tables at festivals from San Miguel to Morro Bay to Arroyo Grande.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the follow up surveys. Your feedback tells us a lot about what you're are learning and how you're protecting natural resources.
Water conserving practices
- 75% have improved their drip irrigation systems and are more knowledgeable about selecting low water use plants
- 85% have improved their use of mulch
Improved pest management
- 73% have improved their pest monitoring practices
- 59% are reducing pesticide use
Improved personal food supply
- 79% have improved their edible growing practices
- 20% have started donating produce to community programs
Sharing the bounty is important. MGs harvested nearly 1100 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables from the demonstration garden and delivered it directly to the SLO Food Bank.
Good job SLO County!
Looking Ahead at 2020
Visit our website for the 2020 schedule of monthly workshops - https://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/. New topics include Ca natives, invasive plants and seed saving.
Additional events and programming in the works include plant sales beginning in April and presentations on Pollinators in the Garden at 6 libraries throughout the county.
Last but not least, we received a record number of applications for the 2020 Master Gardener training class. A class of 34 will begin in January and wrap up in May. The addition of 34 enthusiastic certified Master Gardeners will help us increase programming and outreach efforts to help more home gardeners improve their practices, protect natural resources and have some fun in the process.
Thank you to everyone who came out to our workshops and events this year.
We'll see you in 2020!
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 UC Master Gardener training class.
The training class teaches research-based sustainable landscape practices. Certified Master Gardeners then extend that knowledge to residents of SLO County through workshops, newspaper articles, garden helplines, social media and other outreach efforts.
Topics covered during the training include botany, soils, entomology, irrigation, propagation, and more. The training classes are taught by subject matter experts and academics from the University of California and Cal Poly.
UC Master Gardeners are making a difference in our community.
Here's what we accomplished in 2018.
- Water Conservation:
Workshop attendees have improved their home drip irrigation systems, learned how to use their irrigation timers and have decreased the amount turf area in their yards.
- Pest Management:
Attendees reported an improvement in their pest monitoring activities and have reduced the amount of pesticides they use in the garden.
- Right Plant, Right Place:
Attendees have also improved their plant selection practices. Selecting the right plant for the right place reduces the amount of inputs needed, such as your time and money, for plants to thrive.
Additional benefits reported include an increase in edible gardening, increased donations to the local food bank, and more time spent gardening and outdoors in general.
Apply today to become a UC Master Gardener and join us in teaching best practices to home gardeners.
Being good stewards of managed and natural landscapes helps to protect natural resources for all.
Is the UC Master Gardener Program right for you?
- Author: Maria Murrietta
- Contributor: Dr. David Headrick
We're now seeing the aftermath of this long rainy season. The heavier than normal rain has given us velvety green hills carpeted with an abundance of wildflowers. But we cannot overlook the other less pretty things that benefit from a wet winter – lots of weeds and insects.
For now, we'll focus on insects. They're already showing up in a news-worthy fashion. KSBY did a feature story on whiteflies and spoke with UC Master Gardener Cathryn Howarth.
This story has been posted on various social media pages and people are wondering if this whitefly is a new pest, where it came from and what can be done about it. I wanted to follow up to fill in some of the gaps in information. So, I went to Cal Poly entomology professor, Dr. David Headrick who has done quite a bit of research on whiteflies over the course of his career.
Here's what he had to say after watching the news story.
"The whitefly pictured on hibiscus (in the news story) is giant whitefly which came to California from Mexico. It was first noticed in San Diego County in the early 1990s. Hibiscus is a favored host plant, but they also are seen on citrus, but more commonly on the landscape plant Xylosma. In the mid-1990s, a biological control program began with researchers at the University of California, Riverside. They successfully imported two beneficial species of tiny stingless wasps that feed exclusively on giant whitefly and achieved excellent control of giant whitefly."
"Giant whitefly and the two beneficial wasps (pictured above) all occur in San Luis Obispo County and normally the populations are all under good control. When the giant whitefly first invaded SLO county in the early 2000s, the populations were enormous and made the news then also. But the wasps soon brought whitefly numbers under control. However, in some years since then, environmental conditions have favored the giant whitefly and allowed them to outpace their natural enemies. Eventually, the wasps will catch up and population balance will be restored."
"There are many species of whitefly, most are native species that cause no serious harm to their host plants. The whiteflies that you see on broccoli, citrus, oaks, and poinsettias are all different species. Some of the invasive species of whiteflies, like giant whitefly, can indeed kill their host plants."
"As for management, spraying plants with the garden hose is a good approach when numbers are low."
Thank you, Dr. Headrick, for your insights.
UC Master Gardeners always recommend monitoring your plants regularly to catch pest populations before they become a problem. Whiteflies can be observed any time of day. Remember to flip over the leaves to look for evidence of nymphs and the waxy coating as pictured below. Insecticides, such as horticultural oils may provide some relief. However, direct contact with the insect is necessary to smother and kill them which is difficult to achieve, particularly for whiteflies that congregate under the waxy coating on the underside of leaves.
If you have questions about plant or pest issues, call the Master Gardener Helpline
Arroyo Grande: 805-473-7190
SLO Office: 805-781-5939
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for more?
- Visit UC IPM for more photos and information: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7401.html
- For more information about the early biological control program and findings -
UC Riverside research paper - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources/research-curation/projects/chalcidoids/pdf_X/BellowMe2000b.pdf
Cal AG article - http://calag.ucanr.edu/Archive/?article=ca.v051n06p5
- And if you really want o geek out, like I sometimes do, check out this catalog of introduced species - https://bugwoodcloud.org/resource/pdf/FHAAST-2018-09_Arthropod_Biological_Control.pdf
- Author: Maria Murrietta
- Contributor: Kim Corella
Beetle borers. They are very small and they cause a lot of damage to trees, including death.
These insects have not been found yet in our County but they are very close and we are especially concerned about the ISHB which can attack over 110 tree species. Many of these are native riparian species such as Sycamore, Cottonwood, Alder, Willows, Box Elders and this insect also attacks coast live oak and valley oaks.
Cal Fire, the City of San Luis Obispo and UC Ag and Natural Resources are offering a workshop to educate the public about these two serious pests. Early efforts and education are key in preventing an attack on a wide range of tree species in San Luis Obispo County.
Here is a message from Kim Corella of Cal Fire:
I am excited to announce that we are having an invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) and goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) workshop here in San Luis Obispo on May 9th from 9:30-2:30.
This workshop will address biology, identification, surveillance, and management of infested trees, downed wood, and firewood. We'll cover these topics in the classroom, then have a hands-on lab to learn how to identify signs of shot hole borer damage, set up a monitoring program, and sample trees.
$30.00 registration fee includes lunch, a ISHB Field Guide, and ISHB Demonstration Kit. Pre-registration is required. Click here to register.
We have applied for CEU's from the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the International Society for Arboriculture.
For more information on the training and to register, visit www.pshb.org.
Kim Corella, Forest Pest Specialist, Cal Fire
Thank you, Kim, for keeping us well-informed!