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The Real Dirt Blog

  • Eriogonum umbellatum var. ahartii. Robert D. Fischer
    Three More Wild Buckwheats

    This final discussion of Eriogonum, or wild buckwheat, examines three beauties that are grown at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Patrick Ranch: E. nudum; E. umbellatum; and E. grande var....

  • California Buckwheat (eriogonum fasciculatum) with bee, Jeanette Alosi
    More on Our Wild Buckwheats: The California Buckwheat

    Continuing our focus on select species of Eriogonum (wild buckwheat), this week's discussion features California buckwheat (E. fasciculatum). First, here is a quick review of characteristics common...

  • Giant Buckwheat in bloom, Jeanette Alosi
    The Giant Wild Buckwheat of California

    An astounding number of species populate the wild buckwheat genus Eriogonum - over 250, according to the CALFLORA website. And, due to their propensity to hybridize, active speciation continues as we...

  • Long-tubed iris on Humboldt Trail, Upper Bidwell Park, Robert Fischer.
    California Native Plant Society

    California is host to almost 7000 species of native plants, more than any other state. About 40% of those species are found only in California. In fact, California is more species-rich than most...

  • Johnsongrass rhizome, Jack Kelly Clark, UC ANR IPM Program
    Managing Johnsongrass, a Legendary Weed!

    Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) is a common sight throughout our hot dry Butte County summers.  It is also considered to be one of the world's most noxious perennial weeds. Johnsongrass forms...

  • Western diamondback rattlesnake, Rex E. Marsh, UC ANR
    Rattlesnake Season

    Summer is high rattlesnake season for us in California.  Classified as a native reptile, the rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in California.  At least six species are found in various...

  • Russian sage, Jeanette Alosi
    Invasive Plant Tales from Local Master Gardeners

    Given the right conditions, some seemingly mild-mannered plants can become garden thugs, invading entire yards and even moving on to the rest of the neighborhood.  We may all have heard stories...

  • Verbena Fields oak vista, Laura Lukes
    Summer Branch Drop in Oaks

    At this time of the year, it is not uncommon for large branches to suddenly drop from oak trees without warning.  Although this phenomenon is not limited to oaks, the sheer size of their...

  • Monarchs in Michoacan, Mexico, Jeanette Alosi
    The Xerces Society and National Pollinator Week

    To help raise awareness about the declining populations of many pollinating species, in 2017 the US Senate unanimously voted to establish National Pollinator Week. Because pollinators are crucial not...

  • BCFSC Feeding the chipper, Lauren de Terra
    Butte County Firesafe Council

    Nestled on a quiet street in Paradise, California, the Butte County Firesafe Council (BCFSC) is a community-based nonprofit organization which focuses on wildfire safety through a variety of outreach...

  • Herbarium specimen fawn lily from 1897, Cindy Weiner
    The Herbarium at CSU, Chico

    Imagine a library with thousands of books lining the shelves. Then imagine that instead of books, those shelves are filled with dried and mounted plant specimens. Such a systematic collection of...

  • Scrub Jay in sprinkler, Jeanette Alosi
    “We Love to Teach People New Birds:” The Altacal Audubon Society

    If we want to instill in our children a love of nature and raise a generation that will want to protect and preserve natural places, we need to get ‘em hooked on birds. This is the wisdom...

  • Almond Orchard behind the Native Plant Garden, Brent McGhie
    Small Orchard Showcases Historic Almond Varieties

    In keeping with the Patrick Ranch Museum's mission to enhance “people's understanding and appreciation of our community's rich agricultural heritage,” a half-acre plot planted in heirloom...

  • Salvia Clevelandii 'Winifred Gilman' (Winifred Gillman Cleveland Sage), Laura Kling
    Every Yard Counts! Altacal Audubon’s Neighborhood Habitat Certification Program

    We know that we are losing wildlife habitat. We know that birds and pollinators are in trouble. The good news is that our home gardens can be part of the solution, by conserving water and protecting...

  • Feijoa flowers, Joe Connell
    Feijoa for Home Landscapes

    Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana O. Berg.) or Pineapple Guava is an evergreen subtropical shrub or small tree that produces an aromatic edible fruit with a somewhat pineapple flavored pulp. ...

  • Firewise landscaping, napafirewise.org
    Firewise Landscape Maintenance

    Even when homeowners have created a defensible space, the job of protecting their home from fire is never done.  There will always be ongoing and annual jobs to do.  Additionally, there are...

  • Moonshine Yarrow, Brent McGhie
    Firewise: Fire Resistant Plants

    The devastating Camp Fire of 2018, along with the numerous fires North State residents have experienced since then, have led many of us to focus on creating a defensible fire-resistant landscape...

  • Defensible Space, Cal Fire
    Be Firewise with Fire Resistant Landscaping

    Fire is a normal part of the natural environment in California, so if you live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), it's not so much a question of if, but of when your home will be exposed to...

  • Creeping Sage 'Bee's Bliss' flowering, Jeanette Alosi
    Spring Blooming Natives

    Spring is here, and many native plants are coming into bloom. Orange California poppies color the roadside and hills. Redbuds burst with magenta flowers. Butterflies flutter among the blue dicks in...

  • Unthinned peach tree. With no thinning fruit are very small, have poor flavor and more prone to disease, R. Johnson, UC ANR
    Don’t Hesitate to Thin That Fruit!

    It is time to start thinking about thinning the fruit on peach, nectarine, plum, pluot, apricot, apple, and pear trees. To produce fruit that is large and healthy, fruit trees need plenty of leaves...

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Got Gardening Questions?

Visit or call the Hotline

Tuesday 9am-12pm
Thursday 1-4pm

Call: 530-538-7201

Or drop by: The Butte County Cooperative Extension Office
5 County Center Drive, Oroville, CA 95965

Email Us

Email your questions to us at mgbutte@ucanr.edu. Include a description and photos of the problem. See "Help Us Help You" below for what to include.

Catch us in person

Look for us at local farmers markets or at one of our information booths at community events. Check out where we'll be on the Events page.

Help Us Help You

You never can tell what's at the root of the problem. Below are some questions we may ask when you call:

  • Name of plant
  • Age of plant
  • Soil type (loam, sandy, clay)
  • Current watering methods (drip, sprinkler, hand)
  • Frequency of watering
  • Sun exposure
  • Evidence of insects or other damage – check on both sides of leaves
  • Recent changes that may effect the plant (watering, fertilizing)

Samples and photos related to your question are strongly encouraged. Drop them by the office any time, or email them to: mgbutte@ucanr.edu