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UC IPM program debuts e-newsletter

Resource for gardeners to be published three times annually

Screen shot
This is a screen shot of the first page of the new e-newsletter from UC IPM.

No gardener enjoys battling pests in spring. But there's a way to at least limit the damage: Do a thorough cleanup of the garden in fall and winter.

That's one of the messages in the new email newsletter from the University of California Integrated Pest Management program.

UC IPM is an invaluable resource for anyone who spends time with plants, from farmers to backyard gardeners. The program's experts, for example, track invasive pests that could ruin California's valuable agricultural output. On a smaller scale, they also recommend environmentally friendly methods of pest abatement so home gardeners can avoid using toxic chemicals.

All recommendations and information are solidly based on UC research. And pests, of course, aren't just insects but things such as weeds, invasive plants, diseases, birds, mammals and reptiles.

The newsletter will go out three times per year, produced by the Urban and Community IPM Team. Email signup is here.

Issue No. 1 includes an extensive list of garden tasks for fall and winter, starting with that all-important cleanup, but also pruning, planting, adjusting irrigation, monitoring for pests and lawn care.

The Invasive Pest Spotlight article focuses on the black fig fly, a new invasive species recently found in Southern California orchards.

The IPM program website, a veritable rabbit hole of pest information, is ipm.ucanr.edu .

-- Kathy Morrison

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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