- Posted By: Amy Breschini
- Written by: Ann Dozier
July Advice to Grow By
By Ann Dozier
Are you tired of climbing ladders to reach the crop on your fruit trees? How can you keep backyard fruit trees at an easy to care for height? How should you shape young trees?
Summer pruning is an easy and convenient method of controlling the growth of backyard fruit trees. Some advocates of this kind of pruning recommend keeping fruit trees at a height of around 12 feet which allows for ease of care and harvesting. Pruning of rampant spring growth also allows light and air to reach lower branches. This improved air circulation may reduce disease, and additional light can help promote lower growing fruit.
In comparison to traditional winter pruning, pruning when there is fruit on the tree serves to thin an overabundant crop. It also makes apparent on what age wood the tree sets fruit (one, two or three year old wood, e.g.) Keeping trees at a smaller size makes available nutrients more likely to be used for fruit production rather than foliage.
This coming Saturday, July 16, you can attend a free presentation on summer pruning given by Master Gardeners at their Seven Sisters demonstration garden, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, from 10 AM until noon. Demonstrations of pruning the garden’s young trees (which have been planted with two or three varieties in one hole) will take place. Master Gardeners will also talk about more traditional winter pruning and give pointers for reducing size of older trees. Come prepared with sunscreen, water and hats and bring a folding chair if possible.
For more information on summer pruning, check out the website of Dave Wilson Nursery, http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/BOC_explained.html. Basic information on pruning and on shaping of neglected fruit trees can be found on:
Got a Gardening Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Grass bug, Arhyssus sp. (Photo by Rodney Cooper, USDA-ARS, Shafter)
The following information is from Dr. Surendra Dara, UCCE Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo
Several specimens of grass bugs have been brought to our office in the recent weeks. These are of varying sizes (about 7-12 mm), but identified by the CDFA systematist, Rosser Garrison as Arhyssus sp. They belong to the family Rhopalidae (Order Hemiptera), members of which are commonly known as scentless plant bugs. They mostly feed on xeric (require less water or adapted to dry habitats) and other weed plants. Sometimes they enter homes in search of protected places.
Grass bugs are similar to coreids or leaf-footed bugs except they do not have well-developed scent glands and smaller than coreids. These can be confused with false chinch bug, Nysius raphanus (family Lygaeidae) which are also found in weedy or grassy areas and migrate to homes.
Damage: They usually do not cause any serious damage in the home gardens. However, they can be a nuisance when entering the homes in large numbers.
Management: Sealing the windows, keeping the doors closed or using the screen doors, and vacuuming are the best practices to keep them out or clean them up.
On March 19, 2011, Mark Gaskell, UCCE Farm Advisor, led a blueberry workshop at the UCCE Auditorium, our back up location on a rainy day for the Garden of the Seven Sisters.
Photo by Brenda Dawson, UC Davis
Here are some helpful links to more information about growing blueberries:
Mark Gaskell has all of his information for small farm blueberry production here.
If that link didn't work, his page can always be found at: http://cesantabarbara.ucdavis.edu
Check out the UC ANR general information for backyard gardening of berries here.
Thank you Mark!
Article by George Frisch
UC Master Gardener
San Luis Obispo County
A hardy, rapidly growing, maintenance-free, reasonably drought tolerant, evergreen ground cover with attractive leaves and lovely flowers -- is there such a plant?
Yes, there are a few, but one is no longer recommended!
Myoporum pacificum is a member of a family (Myoplraceae) widely planted in residential and commercial landscapes and along many miles of California highway hillsides for erosion control. Native to Australia and New Zealand, this attractive and popular family of plants has been virtually pest free. Since 2005, however, a new and exotic genus of thrips (Klambothrips) and its single species (Klambothrips myopori Mound and Morris) has been moving its way north along the coast from San Diego County and has recently appeared here in SLO County.
Less than 120th of an inch in length, the adult black-bodied Myoporum thrips and its orangish hued larvae cause severe damage, particularly to new growth which they prefer. The female thrips inserts eggs into the leaf where the larvae feed, eventually causing terminal gall and severe swelling, curling and leaf distortion.
Managing Myoporum Thrips is difficult. They have no known predator in California. Their tiny size, hidden feeding behavior, mobility and protected egg and pupal stages make most insecticides available to the home gardener ineffective. Pesticides available through licensed pesticide applicators have shown limited control of the thrips. Pruning out the diseased foliage and destroying (not composting) is effective but impractical for landscape plantings. Severely infested plants may have to be removed and destroyed.
Fortunately, there is a native alternative to be found in the Ceanothus (California Lilac) family. Among the many Ceanothus species, try one that is native to the Central Coast called Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus horizontalis) for a dense, dark green groundcover with long, abundant sky blue flowers and no Myoporum thrips./span>
- Author: Chris Cocchiaro
By Dale Norrington
Q We so often hear the word sustainable these days, from various sources and seemingly with various meanings. We do care about the environment but are not in a position to completely renovate our landscape and garden. Can the Master Gardeners offer an approach to sustainable gardening, or some specific practices which we can begin to use right away?
Paul and Mary Kubacki - San Luis Obispo
A An approach to sustainable landscaping recommended by the University of California Cooperative Extension includes practices developed by the Sacramento Stormwater Quality Partnership with permission and assistance from StopWaste.org in Alameda County.
Most gardeners should be able to implement these practices immediately and relatively easily, and save energy, water, time and money.
Benefits of sustainable practices can be felt in our own households; the environment benefits from such practices adopted throughout watersheds, and the cumulative effects may be significant.
Landscape in harmony with natural conditions of the site, watershed and climate.
Maintain fire safe landscaping, protect local flora and fauna, and utilize site-adapted plants, ideas for which can be seen at Cal Poly's Leaning Pine arboretum and at
* Landscape for less to the landfill
Use plants of sizes which match their intended space to reduce pruning; grasscycle; compost; and incorporate salvaged hardscape materials where possible.
* Nurture the soil
Save topsoil, mulch, avoid use of quick-release inorganic fertilizers and use pesticides as a last resort.
* Conserve water
Minimize turf, group plants according to water needs, and maintain efficient .
* Conserve energy
Plant trees to minimize energy use. Shade paved areas. Shade south and west sides with . Design carefully.
* Protect water and air quality
Utilize ; minimize impervious surfaces; prevent runoff; use appropriate equipment.
* Create and protect wildlife habitat
Maintain diverse plantings and utilize natives. Provide water and shelter. Conserve or restore natural areas and .
Please contact Master Gardeners for much more related information and detail.
Got a Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or e-mail .