Sunday, December 6, 2015

Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot


Some species of soil-inhabiting pathogens in the genus Phytophthora, which means "plant destroyer", cause root and crown rot diseases of herbaceous and woody plants.  According to UC IPM, "Almost all fruit and nut trees, as well as most ornamental trees and shrubs (including many California natives), can develop Phytophthora rot.During the first half of 2015 thirty-three Phytophthora species were identified in container stock samples from twenty nurseries.  Seventy-five percent of the participating nurseries tested positive for at least one Phytophthora species.  Detection has also occurred in native habitat restoration areas with devastating effect.  Since inadvertent inoculation of native habitats by Phytophthora-infected nursery stock could severely impact wildlands, the native plant community is leading the battle.  A "Working Group for Phytophthoras in Native Plant Habitats" has formed to better understand Phytophthora and develop best management practices to minimize the spread of disease.  "In general, Phytophthora (now considered a water mold or oomycete) requires warm, moist  soils in order to cause disease.  The gardener will reduce the threat of Phytophthora by avoiding prolonged saturation of the soil.  Irrigate only as much and as often as necessary.  If using a drip system, place the emitters at least a foot away from the trunk.  Avoid planting susceptible species on poorly drained or shallow soils." - UC IPM

Monday, May 18, 2015

Landscape Survival During Drought

7 Tips for Landscape Survival During Drought:  "With water reserves at all-time lows, water rates reaching all-time highs, and severe water rationing on the horizon, representatives from the staff at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden compiled some quick tips for homeowners whose goal is to save water as well as their landscapes."  Click on "7 Tips for Landscape Survival During Drought" in order to view the tips.

The California Garden Web, from the UC Master Gardener Program, have great links to "Drought:  Gardening Tips" and "Drought:  Irrigation Tips."


  
Insights: Water and Drought Online Seminar Series brings timely, relevant expertise on water and drought from around the UC system and beyond directly to interested communities. 

California Major Reservoir Current Conditions and California Snow Survey - California Department of Water Resources 

California Drought Monitor


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Home Landscaping For Fire

This is a link to a superb publication from the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Another good link is from Cal Fire.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Reducing Rattlesnake-Human Conflicts

"A decade of research provides important insights into rattlesnake behavior that can be used by national parks and communities to reduce rattlesnake-human conflicts... The initial research effort examined the effects and effectiveness of relocating, or capturing and moving, nuisance snakes to different and sometimes distant locations... Reducing rattlesnake-human conflicts in developed areas can potentially result from making these areas less attractive to the small mammals and birds that rattlesnakes feed on during the summer foraging season... If a snake does need to be removed for safety reasons, then the best solution is to move the snake a short distance, less than 50 m (164 ft), to the nearest cover. A relocated snake should always be moved away from heavily used roads into habitat that is similar to that from which it was moved."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Poison Oak Exudes Trouble

Laura Christman for the Record Searchlight explains the good and bad of the native poison oak. "Poison oak is part of nature. It's a California native, after all. Birds like its berries. Bees use its flowers to make honey. Deer eat it (why is that not surprising?) and small creatures take shelter in it... Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is sly. It takes different forms. In open areas, the plant grows as a shrub. In shady forests, it's a vine. When the lobed leaves first emerge, they are reddish. Then they go into a soft, chartreuse phase. Later they become deeper green and glossy. In mid- to late summer, they turn red." Link to Laura's article and learn more about this fascinating plant.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Build a Barn Owl Box, Modeled after an Original Design by Steve Simmons

"Barn Owls have been the subjects of wonder, wisdom, magical accoutrements, and folklore for ages. Their presence adds beauty and enchantment to the environment, and their significant rodent control skills comprise a very practical need for their presence. Habitat reduction has reduced their numbers over the last century, and an active program of owl box construction will help offset this."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Looking for Pollinators? Try Mason Bees

"The orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria, is an effective early pollinator native to the Western US and Canada. It emerges in the spring, before honeybees. As a pollinator, it is far more efficient than the honeybee by transferring more pollen and visiting more types and numbers of flowers.The male mason bee does not sting. A female is considered non-aggressive, stings only when handled ‘roughly’, or when trapped under clothing. Mason bees are solitary. They do not produce honey; adults feed on nectar and collect pollen and nectar to feed their young. In contrast, wasps also feed on nectar but must hunt for meat to feed their carnivorous larvae.A mason bee looks like a small black fly, but flies only have one pair of wings and bees have two pairs. Mason bees are slightly smaller than honeybees. They fly only after air temperatures rise to about 55degrees F."  Oregon Master Gardener™ Association – Clackamas County ChapterIn Cooperation with Oregon State University Extension Service
"Many who raise mason bees turn to paper liners. These treated paper or cardboard tubes fit into holes in wood or other medium, or are sometimes used alone. The bees nest in the tubes (or “straws”), which can be removed when the bees are mature. Fresh liners in the holes provide clean nest spaces for the following season." Home made mason bee paper liners by Randy Person.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Mystery of Masting in Trees

Acorn crops vary from year to year.  This fine article addresses: "Some trees reproduce synchronously over large areas, with widespread ecological effects, but how and why?"

Acorn Recipes
Acorn Information, Identification, Processing, and Recipes

Growing California Oaks

Collecting, storing and planting acorns

Monday, May 11, 2015

Purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra, Nassella pulchra) was designated the official state grass of California in 2004.

This article (FREMONTIA A Journal of the California Native Plant Society, 1981) makes the argument that Stipa pulchra (Nassella pulchra) is the best candidate for the restoration of native grasslands. A widespread, native perennial bunchgrass that can live for 150 years, purple needlegrass ranges from the Oregon border into northern Baja California.

Astronomy Picture of the Day