- Author: Missy Gable
Without volunteers, leaders, and program supporters, fulfilling our mission would not be possible. UC Master Gardener volunteers we are able to serve our mission to teach people how to garden more sustainably, protecting California's landscapes and ecosystems.
We're excited to share some of the key priorities the UC Master Gardener Program statewide office is working on for the 2022-23 program year:
- Growing an Inclusive Culture - We're committed to serving the public, but does everyone have access? We serve the state of California and want to emulate the beautiful diversity of the people who live here. This year we will expand the adoption of our program's best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion. We've re-vamped our volunteer application and screening materials, adopted federal best practices for broadening our marketing and racial equity resources. We'll be working on resource adoption this year while expanding program resources related to contact reporting and program evaluation.
- Our Impact by the Numbers - Each county contributes to local and statewide program evaluation impact data where we collect behavior change for attendees at workshops and events. Impact data is shared quarterly with each county and celebrated in our biennial Impact Report. Do you have an impactful story or images you'd like to see included in the biennial Impact Report? We're looking for inspiring projects, partnerships and volunteers, and encourage you to submit the projects that have been meaningful in your community here: ucanr.edu/2022impactreport.
- Building Partnerships - The UC Master Gardener Program is poised to tackle some of California's greatest challenges like drought, invasive pests, fire, and overflowing landfills. You connect Californians with the expertise of University and state partners, empowering people to make informed decisions that protect themselves, their communities, and complex ecosystems around the state. We are working hard to create new partnerships to help tackle these challenges. For example, new online invasive spotted lanternfly training is coming soon, developed with funding from our new program partner, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
- Investing in Continuous Learning - Save-the-date the 2023 Statewide Conference is taking place Oct. 2-6 in Tahoe City, Calif. After a hiatus due to Covid-19, we're planning a BIG in-person learning and networking event and hope you will join us. From drought to wildfires, the conference will have sessions that will leave you inspired. Have a great speaker to recommend? Submit speaker recommendations or requests using the conference speaker survey: ucanr.edu/speakers
This program year will offer tremendous growth opportunities, expanding our program's reach and impact. I hope that the program's new year priorities inspire you!
Invasive pest species threaten California's natural environment and can have an impact on public health. UC Master Gardeners can help spread the word about these invasive species and how to limit their introduction, spread, and harm. Learn to recognize these pests and distinguish them from look-a-likes. Please share these resources widely with the UC Master Gardener and your local community.
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer (or EAB) is an invasive insect that has been found for years in numerous states across the country, but until recently had not been found on the West Coast. In June 2022, EAB was detected in Oregon. This insect feeds on all species of ash trees and has the potential to devastate whole communities of trees.
UC IPM is working on a new web page to cover EAB, but for the time being, please see the California Department of Food and Agriculture website for information about its biology and national distribution.
In California, we've been on the lookout for the spotted lanternfly (SLF) for several years. In July 2022, a truck carrying firewood into California from New Jersey (I know, why?) was inspected at a CDFA Border Inspection Station in Truckee and the wood was found to be carrying egg masses of SLF. The wood was destroyed but this is a significant detection.
We need to communicate with California residents about the danger of moving firewood from place to place within the state and especially across state borders. Firewood can harbor many types of invasive pests include SLF but also invasive shothole borers, gold-spotted oak borers, and other very hard to see invasive insects and diseases.
(Video Courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Invasives/fact/jumpingWorm.html)
Jumping worm/crazy worm
The invasive jumping worm (Amynthas agrestis) has many common names: Alabama jumpers, Jersey wrigglers, wood eel, crazy worms, snake worms, Asian jumping worm, and crazy snake worms. The jumping worm has been found in Napa and Sonoma Counties. This invasive worm is similar-looking to the common earthworm but thrashes wildly and is said to jump as much as 1 foot off the ground.
Like other earthworms, jumping worms eat fallen leaves and other natural material on the ground. However, these worms voracious eaters and eat so much of the soil “litter” layer, they eat the tiny natural organisms in this layer almost clearing the top soil layer of all life. Many plants can't grow or spread without the layer of leaf litter plus this disrupts the ecosystem of the leaf litter.
Read more about this worm in this article by Oregon State University. UC IPM is compiling information about the worm and where it has been found in California and will publish and announce this information once finished.
There are many other invasive species we are keeping our eyes out for or are trying to manage the spread around the state. Be sure you, your program's volunteers, and local clientele are subscribed to the UC IPM Home & Garden Pest Newsletter, Pests in the Urban Landscape blog, and social media platforms (@ucipmurban) to ensure you are receiving timely updates and news. UC IPM and the statewide UC Master Gardener program will soon be collaborating on projects to increase our educational tools on invasive pests and how to communicate with the public.
Other useful resources for these invasive pests and many others:
- UC IPM Invasive and Exotic Pests web page
- Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside
- Urban & Community IPM webinars https://ucanr.edu/sites/ucipm-community-webinars/
- CDFA target pest web page https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/PDEP/target_pests.html
Karey Windbiel-Rojas (she/her)
Associate Director for Urban and Community IPM
Area Urban IPM Advisor serving Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano counties
University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM)
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Humans love anything new and different, and that includes plants for their garden. In the past, when bringing plants into California from other places, people had no idea this could cause environmental problems. Whether arriving accidentally or purposely, California has become home for approximately 1,100 plant species/subspecies that did not naturally occur in the state. These plants became naturalized and thrived by out competing California's native flora for water, space, light, and nutrients. Invasive non-native plants crowd out crops, degrade rangeland, increase the potential for wildfire and flooding, consume valuable water, and damage recreational areas. Native plants and animals/insects evolved side-by-side, each benefiting the other. Loss of native plants negatively impacts the indigenous fauna that depend on them for food and shelter, thus reducing overall biodiversity.
The week of Saturday, June 4 – Sunday, June 12 is California Invasive Species Action Week. The goal is to increase awareness of invasive species, their negative impacts, and how you can help stop them from spreading.
What are invasive species?
Invasive species are organisms that are not indigenous, or native, to a particular area. Not all non-native species are invasive. To be considered invasive, an introduced plant species must meet these criteria, established by the EPA:
- Has few germination requirements, enabling it to adapt to the new environment easily
- Grows rapidly
- A prolific seed producer with effective dispersal systems
- Free of natural enemies and diseases
- Harms the environment, property, the economy, or the native plants and animals of the region
Plant Invasion in California's Central Valley
Historically, plant invaders significantly altered California's Central Valley landscape to what we know it to be today in a relatively short period of time. The invasion of non-native plants began with the Spanish settling in the state in 1769, likely introduced by plants/seeds on the fur of livestock. The discovery of gold in 1848, produced a flood of people, which accelerated the introduction of non-native plants via contaminants of seed, clothing, equipment, and animals.
Of the invasive species listed on the California Invasive Plant Council Inventory, about 37% were accidentally introduced to the state. The remaining 63%, however, were intentionally introduced for purposes such as landscape ornamentals, soil stabilization, animal forage, human food, fiber, or medicinal.
University of California Integrated Pest Management has a Pest Notes link on invasive plants (http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74139.html) which lists the results of UC Master Gardener surveys of invasive plants for sale in California nurseries. Invasive plants rarely or no longer sold are listed.
What Can We Do?
While we cannot bring California back to what it was prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 1700s, we can try to protect what native plant species we have.
Some ways you can help:
- Educate yourself regarding California's invasive horticultural plants, avoid planting them, and plant their alternatives for your garden.
- If an invasive plant already exists in your garden, at the very least, the plant should be kept in a vegetative state, so it does not reproduce. If you choose to remove these plants, it is important to make sure reproductive parts do not escape during the removal process.
- Do not to transport any reproductive parts such as fruit, seed, or root pieces by animal, human or vehicle to areas where plants have not been established. If you go camping or hiking in nature, clean your camping and hiking gear to ensure you are not accidentally spreading hitchhiking invasive species. If you bring a dog(s) along, clean their fur before leaving the park or wilderness area. Stay on designated trails and roads.
- Encourage local nurseries and garden centers not to sell invasive plants.
- Join removal efforts. Chances are you can find invasive species volunteer opportunities nearby. Check out your closest state or national park's website to see if they host invasive species walks—many organize half-day or day hikes where you learn to identify and help remove invasive plants.
Becoming a part of ongoing efforts to manage or eradicate the invasive non-native plant species in our state will help reduce their negative impacts on our natural resources. Planting native beauties in your garden is a simple way to help these plants survive and benefit the local fauna food webs.
- UC IPM - Invasive Plants: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74139.html
- Plant Right - PlantRight is a project that was developed and managed by Sustainable Conservation, a California-based environmental nonprofit, from 2005-2019. In 2019, the new home of PlantRight became Plant California Alliance, which was formed through the merger of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, and the Nursery Growers Association. Includes a list of invasive plants in selected regions of CA and native substitutes: https://plantright.org/
- California Invasive Plant Council: https://www.cal-ipc.org/ has a list and photo gallery of the plants to avoid on the Cal-IPC Inventory. Plants are listed in alphabetical order by scientific name. Listings link to full Plant Profile pages with more information on each plant. Also has links to learning how to identify invasive plants and volunteer resources.
- A list of plants not to put in your garden and alternatives: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Plants/dont-plant-me
- PlayCleanGo provides ways for stopping the spread of invasive species: https://playcleango.org
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
It's reappointment time for the UC Master Gardener Program! Before the reappointment process begins we would like to say, volunteers are the heart of the UC Master Gardener Program – thank you! You make the program impact possible. We hope you'll join us for another year of helping gardeners, extending research-based home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape information to Californians.
UC Master Gardener Program volunteers can build on their outstanding work during the 2021-22 program year by reappointing for 2022-23. Annual reappointment is required for all volunteers working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR).
Please read this update thoroughly and direct any questions regarding the reappointment process to your program coordinator, advisor, or county director. Reappointment takes place from June 1 through July 31. The process for reappointment can be done in 4 easy steps!
Step One: Select "Please Complete!" in VMS
- Log into VMS, https://vms-mg.ucanr.edu/
- Select "Please Complete!" under "Reappointment" in right column of your VMS home screen
Step Two: Click on and electronically sign all three forms
Step Three: Verify' Date Completed' column displays the date completed and print a copy for your records
Once you complete reappointment, the reappointment window will no longer appear on your VMS screen.
Step Four: Submit Insurance Fee (if required in your county)
The UC Master Gardener Program requires a $6.00 fee to cover accident and injury insurance. This fee is collected locally by county personnel, paid for by county fundraising, or combined with a county membership fee. All active, limited-active volunteers should contact their local UC Cooperative Extension program coordinator, advisor or county director for more information about local county requirements and, if required, how to submit payment.
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
On May 19-20 from noon to noon, the UC Master Gardener Program is participating in UCANR's Giving Day — a day to ‘dig deep' to support the program you care about. We invite you to support our mission to extend sustainable gardening practices in thousands of community, school and demonstration gardens across California.
How can you help? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Join us and donate. Your gift can be applied directly to support your local county program.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for exciting updates. Include @UCMasterGarden and the hashtag #GivingDay.
- Share this message with friends and family and encourage them to join the movement!
It's the generosity of individuals and volunteers like you that support our efforts to bring practical, trusted answers to residents across our state.
With your support, UC Master Gardener volunteers are helping grow healthier gardens and more sustainable landscapes for future generations. An investment in the UC Master Gardener Program represents an investment in California's present and future.
Make a gift: donate.ucanr.edu/givingday