Author - Sabrina L. Drill
Kudos to the Ventura County Fire Department, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, National Park Service, US Forest Service, and California State Parks for addressing this very important gap in fire preparedness information. I remember on my first solo backpacking trip near Mt. Whitney waking up one morning to the smell of smoke, and cutting my trip a few nights short to get out of there (turned out the fire was in Monterey County, but the smoke blew inland).
From the guide - "The Ready, Set, Go! Trail Users program is about being prepared (ready), situational awareness – knowing what's going on around you (set) – and getting out of harm's way (go!). By following a few simple steps, trail users can enjoy the natural beauty of Ventura County without putting themselves in the path of a wildfire."
Tips include when, where, and how to safely have a campfire or use a stove, and steps to prepare before your trip:
"• Before you leave, tell someone when and where you will be. This is especially important if you will be travelling alone. Be sure to take a fully charged cell phone and some sort of signaling device with you. This could be as simple as a whistle or a mirror. • Take protective clothing including long pants and long sleeves made of a natural fiber, a bandana to filter smoky air and a hat to keep embers from falling on your head. • Have good maps with you and pre-plan your escape routes. A fire could block your path and prevent you from going out the same way you came in."
- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
Invasive shot hole borers (ISHB) are tiny beetles that are posing a significant threat in Ventura County and beyond.
There's new information provided in a recent blog post that appeared on website of the Channel Islands Chapter of the Community Association Institute in January 2021. Wayne Farnsworth of
These pests are becoming established in parts of Ventura County. Farnsworth and Oliver note that "Unlike many insect pests, invasive shot hole borers infest a wide variety of tree species, including many common ornamentals, avocados and California natives. Sycamores and box elders are among their favorites, and they also attack live oaks, valley oaks and alders, all of which are abundant in our area."
Per UC ANR, invasive shot hole borers are
"two closely related species of small, non-native, beetles that bore into trees. ISHB introduce fungi that cause a tree disease called Fusarium dieback (FD). The ISHB-FD pest-disease complex is responsible for the death of thousands of trees in Southern California and poses an imminent threat to the integrity of our urban and natural forests.
Invasive shot hole borers attack a wide variety of tree species including avocados, common landscape selections, and California native species in urban and wildland environments."
You can learn more about ISHB at the UC ANR Integrated Pest Management website.
As Julie Di Blasio reported last year, "...invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) infestations have been identified in Ventura County since 2015 but have not significantly spread. Discovery of the pest/disease complex was found in late 2018 in the urban forest of Meiners Oaks. Citizens Journal recently published an article about the removal of a tree that was at risk for amplifying the local infestation and causing potential other community harm."
UCCE Ventura has been collaborating to address ISHB with UC insect, disease, education specialists, Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner, CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, several other agencies and non-government organizations. We are locally active in monitoring and outreach. Ventura County Master Gardeners Invasive Pests Outreach Group augments our work through their efforts to educate the public, firewood users and vendors."
Image credit: Akif Eskalen, UC Davis/UC ANR
- Author: Cheryl Reynolds
We're excited to announce that a brand-new online course on air blast spray calibration is now available. This course was developed by Lynn Wunderlich, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor for the Central Sierra, and Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba counties.
If you are a grower, pest control adviser, or pesticide applicator working in trees and vines, then this course is for you! You will learn the basic principles of spray calibration, take a close look at the basic components of a sprayer, perform calculations needed for calibration, and take a look at how factors such as droplet size, nozzle type, and weather conditions influence drift and spray coverage. This course also explains the conditions for pesticide applications under the 2018 Pesticide Use Near Schoolsites regulation. Air Blast Spray Calibration has been approved by DPR for a total of 2.5 continuing education units (CEUs), including 0.5 hour of Pesticide Laws and Regulations and 2.0 hours of Other.
Fall is here and 2020 is winding down; it's time to complete your continuing education units and submit your California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) renewal packet. If you are a DPR license or certificate holder and your last name begins with the letters A through L, then 2020 is your year to renew. Renewing now guarantees a quick turnaround time and having enough time to resolve any problems before your license expires. DPR encourages all license holders to send in renewals November 1 to ensure license renewal by January 1, 2021. Why not check out the online courses the UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM) has to offer?
Four of UC IPM's most-wanted courses are offered at an early-bird price until November 1st! You can save an additional $20 by purchasing the 4-course bundle for only $85 rather than each course individually.
- Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues (2 hours Laws and Regulations – early-bird price $40; full price $80)
- Proper Selection, Use, and Removal of Personal Protective Equipment (1.5 hours Laws and Regulations – early-bird price $30; full price $60)
- Pesticide Resistance (2 hours Other – early-bird price $20; full price $40)
- Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration (1.5 hours Other – early-bird price $15; full price $30)
Many of our courses are now credited not only by DPR for continuing education hours, and also by the California Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB), Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (WCISA), and the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) 4-H Program is offering a free, virtual, after-school club for youth ages 9-12. The club – Sustainable You! – will focus on sustainability issues, including land, water, energy, food, and air. Youth do not need to be a member of 4-H to join, and again, there is no cost for participating.
A typical meeting will include:
- An introduction to a sustainability topic with an ice breaker;
- A discussion or video on the day's topic;
- A demonstrated activity;
- Games and art; and
- An activity that youth can do on their own.
The program consists of weekly meetings, which will be held on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30. It runs for 11 weeks, from September 29ththrough December 8th. The virtual after-school club is part of the online educational programs being organized by UCCE Ventura County. Learn more here.
While there is no cost, registration is required. Attendance is limited to no more than 50 youth.
The program is organized by UCCE educators, in partnership with the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability Division and Ventura Water.
For more information, email Susana Bruzzone Miller.
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is part of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources division. UCCE advisors offer research-based information in support of agriculture and natural resources. We also offer community-based educational programs, such Master Gardener and 4-H.
4‑H provides experiences that enable young people to learn by doing. Since 1914, 4‑H has welcomed young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving them a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better.
Through life-changing 4‑H programs, nearly six million kids and teens across the US have taken on critical societal issues, such as addressing community health inequities, engaging in civil discourse and advocating for equity and inclusion for all.
Photo by Guillaume de Germain for Unsplash.
- Author: UC Integrated Pest Management
Have you had unexpected seeds show up in the mail? Unknown seeds could be invasive plants, contain invasive insects, or have plant disease causing agents. Here's what the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has to say about it.
USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds
USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
At this time, [USDA does not] have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.
USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS' website to learn more about USDA's efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.