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Ask Us

The UC Cooperative Extension Office is currently closed, but our volunteers are working remotely. If you have a Hotline question email them to: mgbutte@ucanr.edu. One of our volunteers will be able to respond within a few days.

Got Gardening Questions?

Visit or call the Hotline

Wednesday 9am-12pm
Thursday 1-4pm

Call: 530-538-7201

Or drop by: The Butte County Cooperative Extension Office
2279-B Del Oro Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965

Email 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 contact us:

  • 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

What’s Hot Now?

What are those greenish-brown tassle-like growths that have been falling from my oak trees?

The growths that litter the ground under oaks every spring are called catkins. The term comes from the now-obsolete Dutch word katteken, meaning "kitten", owing to their resemblance to kitten’s tails. Although they’d never win a ribbon at a county fair, catkins are, in fact, flowers— in this case, male flowers. Look closely, and you’ll see that each stem in a cluster is lined with dozens of tiny inflorescences. And if those male florets strike you as insignificant, wait until you see the female flowers...or not. They’re so small, a magnifying glass is often required for a positive ID.

Of the four primary sexual systems of trees (monoecious, dioecious, cosexual, and polygamous), oaks are monoecious: each tree produces both male and female flowers. A few weeks after the catkins first appear, the male flowers begin to release thousands of pollen grains. No pollinators are required: wind plays the part of Cupid, wafting the grains to nearby female flowers. Lest that sound a tad incestuous, worry not—to maintain biodiversity, oaks are self-incompatible: only a very small percentage of self-pollination results in viable acorns. Within a week or so, the catkins will have released all their pollen and, mission accomplished, begin to turn brown and fall from the trees.

For More information: Are your trees boys or girls?

Photographer: Eugene Zelenko 

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