- Author: Cris L. Johnson
Here attendees will be able to visit stations staffed by UCCE experts who will speak on a variety of topics of interest to growers and horticulturists. The structure is informal and will allow for easy interchange between speakers and attendees.
Each station will feature informational talks on the following subjects:
- Effect of compost on long term disease control and fertility of soils in peppers
- Cultural management of Prime Ark 45 Blackberry
- Differential plant response of salts in summer strawberry
- Subtropical fruit collection
- Herbicide efficacy and safety in drip-irrigated celery
- Water quality and sensors
- Effect of pruning in landscape roses
Continous education credits from the Department of Pesticide Regulation and VCAILG credits have been requested.
The agenda with more details about the event can be found here.
For more information about the UC Hansen Agricultural Center, please click here.
- Author: Jim Downer
California is a highly urbanized state with an expanding population. Planned landscapes and gardens are essential for Californians to maintain health promoting environments via urban landscapes. California’s urban landscapes are complex plant systems that provide essential functional, environmental, recreational, and psychological benefits for urban residents.
In 1995 landscapes covered 1.369 million acres in California, which is the most recent reliable data published. This planted area has undoubtedly grown with population increases since that time. In addition to creating beauty and health benefits, the ornamental plant and tree industry creates and supports many jobs and economic activity within the state.
The landscape industry is estimated to have a statewide economic activity well over $5 billion annually, with approximately 60% centered in Southern California. When indirect effects of tourism are included, the economic impact and importance of landscape horticulture nearly doubles. Examples of related employment numbers and their approximate memberships are: licensed landscape contractors (2,500), landscape architects (2,000), sod growers (4), arborists and city street tree managers (800+), urban water agencies (100+), along with urban forestry agencies and groups, irrigation managers and engineers, and municipal parks, planning and public works departments.
Landscapes are populated by two major categories of plants: turfgrasses, and woody ornamentals such as trees, shrubs and vines.
Turfgrass is the largest irrigated crop in the U.S. with an estimated land cover of 40.5 million acres or nearly 2% of the total area of the continental U.S.. The turfgrass industry in California is arguably the largest in the world with the economic impact from golf alone estimated to be more than $15 billion annually.
Turfgrass plays an important role in the landscape and in the lives of Californians. It is aesthetically pleasing and provides a safer, cushioned surface for sports and recreational activities. Turfgrass reduces surface temperature by transpirational cooling. It also lessens glare, noise, soil erosion, and dust thereby reducing air pollution and allergens. Turfgrass provides habitat for wildlife and reduces wildfire hazard. It has been demonstrated to be an effective bio-filter for applied pesticides and nutrients, and for pharmaceuticals and other xenobiotics (substances not normally found) in reclaimed water for irrigation.
Turfgrass also helps to remove carbon from the environment. Long-term soil testing data from Colorado golf courses were used to estimate soil C sequestration. Turf on the average golf course in their study sequestered as much as 450 kg (1000 pounds) C per acre per year, which is 1.5 to 3 times greater than soils under agricultural production.
Trees are perhaps the most emblematic and valuable individuals in landscapes. In part these valuable landscape elements provide shade, which in turn provides energy savings in shaded buildings. Trees absorb and store carbon and thus play a role in moderating global climate change. Trees also mitigate landscape noise, and provide an aesthetic environment where people live.
Unfortunately, the average life span of trees in urban landscapes is only about seven years. Though some studies have called for the survival statistics to be revised upward to 19-28 years, many urban trees still fail to establish or mature to serve their potential landscape functions. Research on sustaining trees in urban environments is more critical than ever as we rely on them for energy savings, carbon sequestration and the other benefits they add to urban landscapes. It is imperative that we find ways to extend the lifespan of these critical landscape elements in urban settings.
Jim Downer is a UCCE Farm Advisor in Ventura County. His specialties include pathology of landscape ornamental, Phytophtohora Root Rot, Mulches, Potting soils, Palm horticulture, and Arboriculture. Additional information about his research can be found here.
- Author: Jim Downer
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Agriculture is more than food production. The term is used to describe the human cultivation of food, fiber and other products. Many people think of food farming and raising of livestock as the extent of agriculture, but there is much more to this powerful industry.
For approximately 10,000 years agriculture has shaped civilization. And in fact some say that agriculture has made civilization possible. Agricultural progress allowed groups of people the first alternative to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Continual improvements in methods and technology took people from subsistence agriculture to production levels. As the production continued to increase fewer people were needed in food and fiber production and were able to focus on other pursuits and careers.
Today agriculture includes foods, fibers, biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, bioplastics, lumber, cut flowers and nursery plants. New agricultural technologies already available and those in the research stage will continue to shape, expand and influence society both locally and globally.
Ventura County has a wide range of agricultural products and production. The size of our local farms are smaller than average; however, our growers efforts combine to form an impressive cumulate result. Using data from the most recent USDA Ag Census Profile, the market value of Ventura County agriculture is ranked 9th statewide and 10th nationwide. When the value of nursery and greenhouse crops are included our county is 4th both state and nationwide. To learn more about the types of agriculture products grown in Ventura County please see the crop reports released by the County of Ventura Agricultural Commissioner.
In addition to crop values, the local agriculture industry branches out and positively impacts our local economy with, transportation/shipping, packing houses, product manufacturing and development, landscape design and maintenance, and much more.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
The Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) will hold their 78th annual conference and trade show April 29 to May 2 in Asilomar, California. The theme for this year’s conference is “Solution Based Arboriculture Come with questions – leave with answers”.
Certainly many questions will be answered throughout the conference. Preconference offerings, presentations, and labs and field sessions cover a wide assortment of topics. UCCE Ventura County’s Jim Downer will be presenting “Why Do Trees Die” and offering a preconference bench building workshop, that also serves as a fundraiser to The Britton Fund.
To learn more about the conference, or to register, please visit the Western Chapter ISA website.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
The joint meeting of the 58th Annual Conference on Soilborne Plant Pathogens (formerly Soil Fungus Conference) and the 44th Annual California Nematology Workgroup will be held March 20-22, 2012 in San Marino, California at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.
The focus of this year’s symposium will be Ornamental and Landscape Pathology. Speakers will be Akif Eskalen and Antoon Ploeg, University of California, Riverside; and Jim Downer, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County.
To learn more about the conference, please visit their website. Two student scholarships are available.