- Author: Chris Cocchiaro
Free Seminar on Selecting and Caring for Fruit and Nut Trees in the Home Garden
If you have considered, even remotely, of introducing a fruit or nut tree into your family fold and wish to give it a healthy, happy start, consider attending the second of the free Advice to Grow By series of seminars at the University of California Master Gardeners’ new demonstration garden at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo, adjacent to the county’s agricultural office.
Saturday, February 20, from 10 a.m. to noon, UC Master Gardeners share knowledge relevant to successful fruit tree planting, growing and nurturing.
Among the topics covered:
*Which fruits and nuts grow well in your corner of the Central Coast.
* Chill hours, what they are and how they affect your choice of tree.
* Gophers and how to prevent your baby tree from becoming their breakfast.
* Which is a better choice for you, standard or dwarf?
* Does your tree need a pollination partner? Or is it happy as a single?
*What about fertilizing, irrigating, soil, drainage, pruning? Oh, my.
A tour of the new demonstration garden is planned, as well. Be sure to bring sun protection, dress for the vagaries of temperature, and consider bringing a folding chair for comfort. UC Master Gardeners hope you will attend all the monthly seminars, but if a fruit or nut tree is in your future, do not miss this one.
University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers provide additional gardening information. Call the San Luis Obispo Helpline at 781-5939 on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m., the Arroyo Grande Helpline at 473-7190 on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, or the Templeton Helpline at 434 - 4105 on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Send email to email@example.com.
By Mary Bianchi UCCE Horticultural Advisor
Advice to Grow By From UCCE Master Gardeners
Do you need gardening advice to help you grow a more sustainable garden or landscape? The University of California Master Gardeners are proud to invite you to our newly created Demonstration Garden for our inaugural "Advice to Grow By" program! Monthly workshops will be held every third Saturday, beginning January 16, from 10 am to noon at the Demonstration Garden. The Garden is located at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo, immediately north of the UCCE office, and represents a cooperative project between the County of San Luis Obispo and the University of California.
The creation of the UCCE Demonstration Garden provides a living classroom for the community where Master Gardeners can support sustainable landscape practices with our "Advice to Grow By" workshops. Local gardeners will learn from the Master Gardeners as the many projects in the Garden are developed. Look for upcoming workshops on orchard planting techniques, designing a kitchen garden, and creating raised beds.
Our January 16th workshop on "Capturing Rain Water in the Landscape" will demonstrate landscape practices that help to conserve our precious water resources. Sustainable water conservation practices are important activities for San Luis Obispo County gardeners, even as we enjoy our recent rains. We will be demonstrating rain harvesting techniques including rain barrels, and discussing rain gardens for Mediterranean climates and storm water management practices that protect water quality while keeping rain water on the site. Our February 20th workshop will demonstrate orchard design and fruit tree planting techniques.
Mark those brand new calendars as a reminder to join the Master Gardeners each third Saturday of the month for the advice you need to grow your own sustainable landscape! Gardens large or small, for flowers or food, the Master Gardeners have the help you need. Follow our "Advice to Grow By" calendar at http://ucanr.org/slomg.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dale Norrington
Q What value does mistletoe have in the garden? Should we remove it, and if so, how? Zena Thomas - Atascadero
A A kiss beneath the mistletoe is an ancient tradition, linked by lore and legend to the time of the winter solstice. While mistletoe continues to play its part in our wintertime tradition, it plays a role in the garden as well.
A broadleaf, evergreen plant which produces its own nutrients through photosynthesis, mistletoe is also a parasite which utilizes its host for support, water, and additional nutrients. Mistletoe reproduces by flowering and producing smallish, sticky white berries, and seed. It is spread when its fruit and seed drop, stick to, and germinate on lower branches, or are eaten and dispersed to neighboring trees by animals and birds. Cedar waxwings, robins, juncos, and thrushes are among many birds which feast on the fruits of mistletoe. Mistletoe causes the formation of witches brooms, densely irregular clumps of branches, which are used by birds and small mammals for nesting and cover.
Several species of mistletoe occur among landscape trees. Phoradendron macrophyllum grows in ash, alder, birch, box elder, cottonwood, locust, silver maple, walnut, and zelkova. P. Villosum grows only on oaks, and Arceuthobium spp., a dwarf mistletoe, is found on conifers. Healthy trees can generally tolerate some mistletoe. Heavier infestations, though, can lead to stunting or death of host trees.
The most effective method of control is removal of branches upon which mistletoe grows. Thinning cuts are recommended, made at least one foot below the point of attachment of the mistletoe.
Pruning off the mistletoe itself will slow its growth and ability to spread to other trees. While it will often resprout, it will not flower and produce seed for several years.
Mistletoe can be thoroughly wetted with ethephon, a growth regulator, while its host tree is dormant. This will cause some clumps to fall, though they will often resprout. As with any chemical, label directions should be followed carefully.
Resistant species such as Chinese pistache, persimmon, Bradford flowering pear, crape myrtle, ginkgo, liquidamber, and sycamore may be used in or near heavily infested areas.
From our gardens to yours, we wish for you all of a garden's delight, and an enjoyable wintertime holiday season.
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 email@example.com.
Christmas Tree Disposal
By Andrea Peck
Q What is best way to dispose of my Christmas tree?
Vibiana Bruno - Atascadero
A It's hard to believe that your tree will lose its holiday luster, but eventually it will.
A simple solution for disposal is to utilize your green waste bin. Cut your tree into four feet or smaller lengths, with no tree part greater than six inches in diameter. The tree must be free of tinsel and decoration. Flocked trees are not accepted.
If you do not have a green bin, you can take the tree to your local landfill, for a small charge. Either way, your tree will start off in the proper fashion by being turned into compost, which promotes soil health.
Be creative when considering disposal - all or parts of the tree can be repurposed. Stand the tree outside in a bucket and hang bird suet from the branches. Make a trellis for climbing vines. Chop the trunk into small logs suitable for use as borders. Create habitat for small wildlife by placing the tree in an unused corner of your yard. The possibilities are as endless as the number of branches.
One solution that is not advisable is burning the tree, as it can be highly flammable.
If you have not purchased a tree yet, or for next year, you may consider a living tree that can be replanted. Even a bush, such as a rosemary "tree" is a plantable solution. Your Christmas tree can be as unconventional as you are. No matter what you choose, consider your yard and the requirements of the tree. Water needs, as well as the potential height and size of the tree will be important.
In the end, planting your own tree is not only enjoyable for the whole family, but it is a truly sustainable method of disposal.
Websites mentioned are sites outside of the University of California domain. No endorsement is intended of products, services or information, nor is criticism implied of similar sites that are not mentioned.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org./span>
Sheet mulching works to suppress weed seed germination, by blocking the light. The cardboard usually decomposes in one year, leaving a rich, healthy soil, that will hold more water and nutrients and will be ready for planting. You can also put plants in before hand and do sheet mulching around them, just be careful not to get to much mulch around the crown of your plants! We have tried different variations, depending on availability of supplies, some of our areas were missing the green compost and some areas replaced cardboard with thick layers of newspaper.
We started a trial of different weed controls on the South end of the garden, for a side by side comparison.
Yikes! We have grass growing up through the decomposed granite pathways! We used a propane torch to kill the grass. It doesn't have to burn all of the way, just enough so that the grass get's a dark green color and leave the impression of a finger print when squeezed. It starts looking like the color of cooked asparagus! Always follow with a hose, just to make sure that there's no burning embers. Make sure to use a water breaker to soften the flow, because a heavy stream will leave unsightly damage to the top layer of the decomposed granite. The picture above is from November 24th, healthy weeds.
Here is the same grass the next day after burning (November 25th)
Here's what it looks like on November 30. Still some weeds persist.. but much better.
Bindweed! You may have spotted it growing in the freshly plowed vegetable fields on the central coast, with it's beautiful morning glory flowers. But don't be fooled! This weed is so persistent and aggressive, that there's little control over it! We have a couple spots flagged throughout the garden. Even though the patches are small (approximately 2 feet wide) we are attempting to control them before they take over. We have 2 different herbicides, 57% Pelargonic acid, used at the 3% rate, and Glyphosate. We are documenting the affect of them. The Pelargonic acid is fast acting, because the acid burns the foliage and there is a noticeable change within days. Glyphosate may take up to two weeks to show damage.
Before herbicide applications.
(Image Above)Pelargonic acid damage on grass and bindweed. 5 days after application.
(Image Above) Glyphosate 5 days after application. If you look hard, you can see that the bindweed still looks healthy!
As you may be able to tell, we have a thick layer of grass growing into the edges of the DG Pathways. We did one application of (3% Rate) of Pelargonic acid. In 5 days, we had dramatic results! (see below) We did use the weakest rate on the label, which is recommended for soft, new growth. Since this grass is several weeks old, we may need to increase the rate. Remember to ALWAYS read the label for rates!
There is also a benefit to having the grass germinate close to the edge of the paths. The roots actually act as a stabilizer on the edge of the pathway! Even though the foliage is now dying, the roots will stay intact and keep supporting the edge of the path!
There's not an easy answer and a lot of work when it comes to weeds! Hopefully, your garden is already covered with a good layer of mulch and just a quick check with a hoe before they get large will be all that you need!
For More Information on Sheet Mulching by Washington State University Cooperative Extension, please see the attachment below. (click on the underlined title)