Sunday, August 7, 2022

Waterwise/Watershed Landscaping (Climate-Adapted Plants)

 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.  These tips were published in 2014 but are still relevant now in 2022.

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

Native Plants: Tips for planting and maintaining a drought-tolerant garden with native plants

Watershed Approach to Landscape Design - "While conventional landscapes allow water to run off the property and often waste water, watershed-wise landscapes are designed to hold on to rainwater and reduce the demand for supplemental irrigation."

The Watershed Approach to Landscaping by Pamela Berstler for the California Native Plant Society, March 2018 - "We know that our individual landscapes play a critical role in the health of both the watershed we live in and the earth as a whole, yet we often don’t see how the simple practices of gardening in our front yards could possibly influence climate change! We’re too little and the problem is too big, right?

The watershed approach (WA) to landscaping allows us to change landscapes, which are often thought of as “ornamental,” into multi-benefit environmental solutions.   But why the heck are we calling it “watershed” approach? It sounds so weird, and we’re used to “water wise.”

Right Plant for the Right Place from Bay Area - "Appropriately selected plants require less water, have greater pest resistance, and look great."

Waterwise Landscaping from the city of Santa Barbara, California

Lawn to Garden - A comprehensive guide to the sheet mulch process.  Replace your turf grass California rebate program now closed:( although open in Chico but not Redding (2022)

Insights: Water and Drought Online Seminar Series brings 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 and Snow Water Content- California Department of Water Resources 

California Drought Monitor and Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) -  Check out the EDDI User Guide at the bottom of the link to better understand EDDI and the map. 

The emergence of heat and humidity too severe for human tolerance - Science Advances, Colin Raymond et al., May 8, 2020.  "Humans’ ability to efficiently shed heat has enabled us to range over every continent, but a wet-bulb temperature (TW) of 35°C marks our upper physiological limit, and much lower values have serious health and productivity impacts."


Home Landscaping For Fire

This Home Landscaping for Fire link is a superb publication from the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (2007).  The guidelines have changed a bit since 2007.  Now there is an ember defense zone (zone 0) that is 0 to 5 feet from the house/structure.  The Resilient Landscapes Coalition is a great resource for creating "a resilient landscape that is fire-wise, water-wise and promotes biodiversity by using California native plants."

Another good link is from Cal Fire.  The link includes a short list of fire-resistant plants.

Lightning strikes in real time.

California Fire and Smoke Monitor  

PurpleAir Pollution Monitors

Wildfire Risk to California Communities

Cal Fire Activity Map 

NWCG Fire Activity Map

Watch Duty - "helps you discover and track wildfire hazards in real time [by] building a true citizen-driven approach to disaster intelligence."

NOAA Smoke and Fire Map  

PSPS PG&E Power Outage Information 

Wind Forcast with Windfinder 

Wind Information with Wundermap

ENPLAN Fire Activity Map  

Fire Maps - Historical

Shasta and Modoc Cameras - Alert Wildfires

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

An Introduction of Oaks

Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot Update

UC Davis sponsored program - "Nursery Phytophthora Best Management Practices (NPBMPs) designed to exclude Phytophthora from nursery plants were developed to exclude Phytophthora from nursery plants were developed to address the need for clean planting stock in restoration projects.  A pilot program to implement the systematic use of the NPBMPs, Accreditation to Improve Restoration (AIR), was developed and started in 2018.  As of 2020, 13 northern California restoration nurseries have been evaluated, and five have met all the program requirements.  In 564 tests conducted over 4 years with a sensitive leachate baiting protocol, no Phytophthora was detected from over 20,000 nursery plants produced in compliance with the NPBMPs.  In comparison, Phytophthora was detected in 25% of tests conducted on partially compliant stock and in 71% of tests from nurseries following few or no NPBMPs." - Tedmund J. Swiecki et al.

CDFA Program on Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Nurseries - This program is part of the Nursery Certification Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The goal of this CDFA nursery certification program is to promote the use of BMPs to give nurseries a higher level of confidence that their operations are reducing the introduction and spread of diseases and pests.

Resources - California Oak Mortality Task Force

From the California Oak Mortality Task Force Report September 2016:  "First detection of Phytophthora quercina in the US, associated with outplanted Quercus lobata, valley oak – P. quercina was recently isolated from valley oaks (Quercus lobata) as part of an evaluation conducted by the Rizzo Lab (UC Davis) and Phytosphere Research on restoration sites managed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District...  It has been rated the # 1 Phytophthora species of concern for introduction into the US in a USDA Plant Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Laboratory (PERAL) report. P. tentaculata, recently found in association with multiple native plant species in CA native plant nurseries, was rated as # 5 on the same list."

Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot

Oregon State University - "What is Phytophthora?  Phytophthora (Fy-TOFF-thor-uh) species make up a group of microorganisms that are important plant pathogens. The name Phytophthora derives from Greek and literally means “plant destroyer.”

Phytophthora species resemble fungi but are not. While they are most closely related to aquatic organisms, such as brown algae and diatoms, they can also exist on land. However, Phytophthora organisms are often referred to as water molds because they do need water to complete their life cycle.

Phytophthora disease is the number-one disease of nursery crops nationwide."

Notorious Phytophthora diseases include rhododendron root rot, sudden oak death, and potato late blight.

Some species of soil-inhabiting pathogens in the genus Phytophthora 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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Analysis of Environmental Groups to Donate to for a Better World and Analysis of California Environmental Legislation

Outside Magazine, December 28, 2016, by Anna Callaghan "The Best Environmental Groups to Donate to for a Better World"
"Change you'd like to see likely isn’t going to come from the top down, so it’ll have to come from the organizations who have been fighting the good fight from the bottom up for decades. “We’re not planning to stop pushing for stronger environmental protections in D.C., but it’s likely that those fights are going to be even harder and more forceful,” says Josh Mogerman, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council."

Here are two links to organizations that analyze and objectively rate some of the 1.57 million nonprofits registered in the United States:

Charity Navigator - Since 2001, Charity Navigator has empowered millions of donors by providing them with free access to data, tools, and resources to guide philanthropic decision-making.
CharityWatch - Founded in 1992 as the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) - CharityWatch exposes nonprofit abuses and advocates for your interests as a donor.
The Planning and Conservation League (PCL) is an organization that helps negotiate legislation - past, present, and future.  PCL "supports legislation that protects our environment and works to promote open space, habitat, and healthy communities...  The PCL Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1972.  Their mission is to educate and involve Californians in environmental policy making... and to ensure that Californians have the understanding and resources to participate in the process."

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 55 degrees F."  Oregon Master Gardener™ Association – Clackamas County Chapter In 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.

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.

Friday, July 4, 2014

California State Rock is Serpentine and State Soil is San Joaquin Soil. And Check Out the Soil Survey Website for Soil Profiles!

"California has a greater number of minerals and a wider variety of rock types than does any other state. Serpentine, a shiny, green and blue rock found throughout California, was named the official State Rock in 1965. It contains the state's principal deposits of chromite, magnesite, and cinnabar. California was the first state to designate a State Rock."

"The San Joaquin Soil was designated as the official state soil in 1997. The designation commemorates the completion of the state's most comprehensive soil inventory and acknowledges the importance of soil." 

 SoilWeb: An Online Soil Survey Browser 
"Explore mapped soil survey areas using an interactive Google map and view detailed information about map units and their components. This app runs in your web browser and is compatible with desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones."  This is a great website for checking out soil profiles.... and more.