- Author: Maria Murrietta
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.
- Author: Maria Murrietta
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: 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!
- Author: Norman Smith
Western Subterranean Termites
Western Subterranean Termites have a winter time activity period, but are year-round pests of wooden structures and dead trees. The winter activity is associated with their swarming habit. The winged adults are black/dark brown with opaque gray wings. King and queen adults will swarm the first warm day after the years first major rain fall. Some of you may have seen the winged adults emerging from a hole in the soil, one after the other, and flying off, but maybe you weren't sure what you were observing. Mating is this activity that allows the termites to spread to other favorable habits.
Kings and queens will pair up, then look for a moist soil situation with wood present, such as 2 X 4's laying on the ground next to the wall of a home, a dead tree trunk and buttress in the garden, or even decorative bark in landscape areas.These can all get a colony started, but the worker termites are seldom satisfied with their initial discovery, and will almost always send out exploratory trails and tunnels to look for other sources of wood. Unfortunately, the wood framing of your nearby house is one of their favorite habitats.
The major portion of the colony and the queen and king are in the soil. Workers must foray back to the soil each 24-hour period, to pick up dirt and certain bacteria, but will then head back up into the above ground structure. Their tunnels in the wood are always lined with dirt from the garden or below the house. The habit of the queen termite residing in the soil and not in the wood source is the main reason that fumigation is not effective for this kind of termite. Fumigation may kill some of the foraging adults in the wood foundation of the home, but not the one termite that can keep the colony going with more eggs and immatures. Termite pest control companies try to put up a toxic barrier between the nest in the soil and the wood source, hoping that as the workers pass through the barrier, they come in contact with the toxin and die. Another control method is to place some poisoned bait wood traps around the home and hope that the foraging workers will discover it and transport the poison wood to the queen.
Termite inspectors will look for the dirt tunnels plastered to the foundation or rising from the soil beneath the foundation. These tunnels should be destroyed by the inspector at the time of treatment so that if more are seen in the future they will know that they were not successful in eradicating the colony.
I saw a stark reminder of the importance of termite control while residing in Fresno. Some of you may remember the Coalinga earthquake. Some of the homes in that town were snapped off their foundations, offset by a foot in some instances. The reason was that some of the homes had weakened wood framing from termite damage and the sharp jolt from the earthquake just snapped the 2 X 4's at their base. Those homes had to be raised and rebuilt. I hope they had good insurance.
Norman Smith was the Fresno County Entomologist for 30 years. He fielded calls from the general public, pest control companies, farmers, PCA's, etc.; ran the insect trapping program, and gave presentations on insects to many different groups, including lots of schools. Norman has developed a 100,000 insect specimen collection for the county over the 30 year career. Norman earned a Ph.D. in Entomology at UC Davis in 1979.
Norman says...I now enjoy working in my garden, traveling with my wife, golfing and bowling, taking insect collecting trips in the US and overseas in the tropics, and working on some personal research of some small wasps. I also enjoy working with and for the Master Gardener program in SLO.