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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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