UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties
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UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties

Posts Tagged: IPM

Local Garden Gem in San Mateo County: The Gardening Education Center

In the heart of San Mateo County sits a garden gem, The Gardening Education Center, a 5,000 square foot growing space established by the UC Master Gardener Program of San Mateo County. This green garden space was approximately three years in the making, which included fundraising, planning, and actively working the land. 

In the spring of 2018, when the site was unveiled, UC Master Gardener volunteers went to work. The plan was to prepare the space for a small (4-5 fruit tree) orchard, three large raised bed planters for seasonal flowers and vegetables, and separate specialty in-ground beds featuring natives, succulents and other drought tolerant plantings.

Prior to the planting, UC Master Gardener volunteers sheet mulched with cardboard and wood chips. This assisted in smothering the invasive groundcover that had taken over the overgrown neglected space.

Unbeknownst to UC Master Gardener volunteers, there was significantly more Bermuda grass than was initially suspected. Bermuda grass seeds can be an aggressive, the grass itself is tough and persistent. Over the next few months the grass eventually crept in and completely took over. Drastic measures were needed to eradicate the pesky weeds so the committed volunteers accepted the challenge and made a plan to eradicate the invasive grass without utilizing chemicals.

The plan of attack included eradicating as much Bermuda grass as possible from the very compacted and dry soil as naturally as possible. They scraped the top few inches of the soil off of the area to get rid of as many rhizomes and stolons of the pernicious Bermuda grass.

They worked tirelessly to remove the Bermuda grass, and prepared the soil for compost tea and cover crop planting. By removing the Bermuda grass it made a huge difference in the look, health and overall maintenance of the garden space.

The following eight cool season cover crops were chosen for the first planting because of these benefits:

In the end, UC Master Gardener volunteers produced a harvest of plenty. They learned the finer points of making compost extract using premier compost and applying it to the soil to introduce microbial life into the soil, attracting beneficial fungi, nematodes and earthworms. Not only were they able to plant diverse cover crops that crowded out the weeds, they were also successful in reaching their goal of treating the 1,600 square foot space of garden soil with no pesticides. 

The Gardening Education Center has been open to UC Master Gardener volunteers since last spring, as they work to create the infrastructure to accommodate classes for the public. There are three greenhouses onsite that are currently growing plants for the UC Master Gardener Program of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.


Compost Class pictured above, front row from left to right: Mark Foulard, Norine Cepernich, Terry Messinger, Maggi Lim, Cathy Vreeberg, Gaye Torjusen, (and standing) Nancy Kruberg, Terry Lyngso, and Steve Maskel. Second row from left ot right: Patty Deering, Linda Dvorak,Kathy Stamm, Kate Sweetman, Carol O'Donnell, John O'Hara, Charlie Akers, Charlene Landreau, Ginny Piazza, Cynthia Nations, Nick Landolfi, Janet Gilmore, Yana Maloney, and behind Yana,  John Bassetto (Norine's husband and heavy equipment operator).

Many thanks to this group of volunteers, who have led the efforts and plan for The Gardening Education Center space and whom have spent countless volunteer hours! They have put a lot of thought into making this an excellent learning process for all. We would like to especially recognize Terry Lyngso, whom donated compost, seeds and paving stones to the project.

Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 1:42 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

UC Master Gardener volunteers know household pests!

It's well known that the UC Master Gardener Program produces dedicated volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about home horticulture and gardening. UC Master Gardener volunteers; especially those working at help desks, hotlines, and farmers markets, respond to thousands of requests each year, extending information and resources to California's residents that help them maintain landscapes, grow healthy food, and manage pests using the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).

Household pests such as cockroaches may be especially popular request topics within UC Master Gardener Programs serving the urban residential public in California. This photo shows oriental cockroaches, an outdoor species that can come into homes that are not properly sealed. Structural exclusion and other nonchemical preventive tactics can be used to solve this pest problem without the need for insecticides. Learn about this and other household pest solutions in order to better serve your clien


Pests don't disappear at the front door, however: there are plenty of significant pests threatening our households, structures, and communities. In fact, residents in urban counties may have more need for information and resources associated with household pest IPM than for landscape and garden IPM. Even rural counties are filled with homes that may be infested by key urban pests such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, termites, pantry pests, and rodents.

UC Master Gardener Programs have seen increasing numbers and rates of requests for information about these pests. Using the principles of IPM, household pests can be effectively managed while minimizing negative impacts to our communities and the environment. For instance, many unnecessary pesticide applications are made in urban environments, leading to pesticide exposure events, pesticide resistance issues, and environmental contamination, especially of urban surface water systems. In many cases, pests could have been managed using preventive or nonchemical tactics.

Whether in the home or in the garden, IPM is one of the key knowledge areas in which UC Master Gardener volunteers receive training. Using the UC IPM website and its materials, such as Pest Notes and Quick Tips, UC Master Gardeners are able to help answer household pest requests. Even so, volunteers familiar with plant ecosystems may not always feel confident when addressing pest problems in the home. Luckily, an advanced training opportunity exists for UC Master Gardener volunteers who would like to increase their proficiency in household IPM. 

UC Master Gardeners use insect specimens, pest management products, and printed information to answer questions about key household pests during one of UC IPM’s Advanced IPM Training for MGs workshops. You can use an online continuing education module to train yourself and others about IPM for household pests in your home county.

A continuing education module, entitled Advanced IPM Training for UC Master Gardeners: Household Pests, was developed by Dr. Andrew Sutherland, Urban IPM Advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area. This advanced training has been provided several times for UC Master Gardeners at in-person hands-on workshops, but it is also available online within UC IPM's IPM Resources for UC Master Gardeners web portal.

The module includes a PowerPoint presentation, word-for-word script, instructions on hands-on exercises associated with the presentation, and handouts providing detailed information about the pests covered. Help Desk leaders and other UC Master Gardener volunteers can use these materials to deliver the modules to other volunteers using a train-the-trainer model. The module can also be delivered to residential clientele directly. Pests discussed include: ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, pantry pests, termites, and other wood-destroying insects.

We encourage you to take advantage of this unique training opportunity, and become a local expert on household pests. As always, UC ANR Advisors like Dr. Sutherland are available to answer difficult questions and to provide more in-depth training, but this module can certainly help you build confidence and prepare you for that next bed bug request (you know it's coming!).

The updated continuing education module can be found at the following URL: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/FAQ/mghousehold.html

For questions about this Household Pests module, please contact Dr. Andrew Sutherland


Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM
Tags: IPM (9), Master Gardener (28), Pests (5), Training (3)

IPM Achievement Award for Cherry Buckskin Project in Contra Costa County

Accepting an award from the CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation, for the Cherry Buckskin Project. From left to right: Jorge Vargas, Claire Bernardo, Janet Caprile, and Matt Slattengren.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation held their annual Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Achievement Awards on Jan. 26. Awards were given in recognition of six organizations that applied problem-solving approaches to manage pests through the use of least toxic practices. One of the awards, accepted by Janet Caprile, Farm Advisor UC Cooperative Extension Contra Costa County, was for the Cherry Buckskin Project.

Since 1987, the Cherry Buckskin Project has been working to prevent the establishment of cherry buckskin disease which can decimate entire orchards. “Cherry buckskin disease is spread by leafhoppers, which acquire the disease when feeding on diseased cherries or other plants that host the disease organism. Diseased trees produce pebbly, leathery-skinned paled fruit that is most evident at harvest,” according to the UC IPM website.

Prevention of cherry buckskin disease is a collaborative effort between UC Cooperative Extension, the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture and local cherry growers; the Cherry Buckskin Project aims at early detection through education and outreach.

A major component of the Cherry Buckskin Project is the training of UC Master Gardener volunteers and local growers. UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County are trained annually by Caprile, who explains the history of the disease, how it is transmitted and what symptoms to be on the lookout for.

UC Master Gardener volunteers serve as early detectors and scout for symptoms of cherry buckskin disease, through an annual survey of cherry orchards in Contra Costa County. Since the beginning of the project UC Master Gardener volunteers donated more than 1,100 volunteer hours surveying cherry orchards!

Healthy cherry fruit (left) and fruit with symptoms of cherry buckskin disease (right). Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark.
In 2002, a UC Master Gardener volunteer found the first orchard infected with cherry buckskin disease. Over the next five years, seven more orchards were identified with one or two trees showing symptoms of the disease. All of the infected trees were removed after the lab samples were confirmed to be positive. In 2015, the orchard that was a recurrent hot spot for the disease was removed and no more occurrences have been found in the annual surveys conducted since.

A huge congratulations to Janet Caprile for the well-deserved IPM Achievement Award, and a thank you to all of the UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County that have helped make the Cherry Buckskin Project possible with the hours they have dedicated to its success.

Also attending the award ceremony with Caprile were Matthew Slattengren, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Sealer of Weights and Measures, Jorge Vargas, Agricultural Biologist Weights and Measures Inspector, and Claire Bernardo, representing UC Master Gardener volunteers. The ceremony took place in the CalEPA headquarters Building in Sacramento, Calif.


UC Cooperative Extension, Contra Costa County, cecontracosta.ucanr.edu
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County, ccmg.ucanr.edu
UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM), ipm.ucanr.edu

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 2:18 PM
Tags: Cherry Buckskin (1), Contra Costa (1), IPM (9)

Winter Care for your Peach and Nectarine Tree

Fruit mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
A successful summer harvest of peaches and nectarines starts in winter. General clean up, pruning, and dormant spraying will help prevent disease and keep your trees in good health.

Remove and destroy all mummified fruit hanging on tree branches or littering the ground. Although they look harmless mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. Stop the cycle of infection by removing these mummies and destroying them, not composting them.

Distorted leaves with red blister-like swellings from leaf curl fungus on a peach tree. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
Once the tree is dormant (no leaves) you can prune out any dead, diseased or broken branches. Do not seal or paint pruning cuts, leave them open to the air to heal naturally. Sealing or painting these cuts traps moisture and leads to disease. Once all dead, diseased and broken branches are removed prune up to 50 percent of last year's wood. Pruning your tree produces new growth and opens up the tree to sunlight to produce quality fruit.

Peach branch with approximately 10% of buds at full bloom stage. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
To prevent leaf curl (fungus) spray before bud swell, which typically occurs after Feb. 14 or Valentine's Day. Signs of leaf curl are detected on new spring leaves but by then it is too late to control the disease. By planning ahead, you can reduce the likelihood of leaf curl and mitigate its effects on tree growth and fruit production. Some effective fungicide spray materials that are registered for backyard use are bordeaux mixture, fixed copper and chlorothalonil. Always wear proper protective clothing and follow the label when applying any pesticides.

For more information on winter, spring and summer care of your peach and nectarine trees see the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Publication 7261: Peaches and Nectarines: Calendar of Operation for Home Gardeners.

For further assistance contact your local UC Master Gardener Program.


http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/PESTNOTES/pnleafcurl.pdf (Pest note7426)

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 1:16 PM
  • Author: Lauren Snowden
Tags: Fungus (1), IPM (9), Master Gardener (28), Peach leaf curl (1)

After 34 years of Service, Mary Lou Retires

Dear Master Gardeners, 

As many of you know, I retired at the end of June.  During my 34 years with the University of California division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), many of my most rewarding moments have been spent with Master Gardeners.  I am constantly amazed by the enthusiasm, energy, creativity and knowledge of Master Gardeners. What an incredible service they provide for UC and the California public!

I was hired to create Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for agriculture, but my interest in Master Gardeners started early.  I remember attending the California State Fair in the early 1980's and being somewhat horrified to find the UC Master Gardeners answering questions using the Ortho Problem Solver and the Rodale Guide to Organic Gardening.  I was told that they relied on these books because UC provided very little garden pest management information.   This motivated me to write Pests of the Garden and Small Farm and later to hire Steve Dreistadt to compile Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs.  From there we moved on to the Pest Notes, Quick Tips, UC IPM web site, UC IPM kiosk, our YouTube channel, blog and Twitter. Master Gardeners embraced and promoted all these products and now UCIPM is as well known for its home and garden information as for agricultural IPM.

I have loved teaching Master Gardener volunteers.  They are the most enthusiastic students ever.  I learn something every single time I go out and teach a class—and I've taught thousands of them.  UC Master Gardeners inspire so much of what we do.

For example, it was Master Gardeners who stimulated our research on convergent lady
beetle releases for aphid control.  All the published literature said releases weren't useful, but Master Gardeners challenged this idea. Over a 3-year study, Steve Dreistadt and I found that they were right, and we published several journal articles documenting the results. 

Last but not least, thank you to all of you Master Gardener Coordinators. Each of you does an incredible job gently guiding and informing your enthusiastic volunteers.  I have watched you in action and you do something special every day.


Posted on Friday, July 11, 2014 at 8:07 AM

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