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How to outsmart rodents (the IPM way)

Sign up for free online workshop on rodent management

Grey ground squirrel
The California ground squirrel ( Otospermophilus beecheyi )
can be a real nuisance for the home gardener.
(Photo by Monica Dimson, UCCE Orange County,
courtesy UC IPM)

They’re clever, determined and usually hungry. That makes controlling rodents in our homes and gardens particularly difficult.

In a free online workshop, learn how to outsmart Norway rats, roof rats, mice, rabbits, voles and other common rodents – maybe even squirrels! Experts in integrated pest management will show you how.

Set for 1 p.m. Thursday, June 17, “IPM for Rodents” starts with identification and how to tell which critter is actually affecting your space. Then the workshop tackles how to dissuade rodents from eating your garden and invading your home.

The workshop is free, but advance registration is required at: https://ucanr.edu/sites/ucipm-community-webinars/.

Dr. Niamh Quinn, Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor for Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties, will present this workshop, designed for both urban and suburban dwellers.

Designed to be as wildlife friendly as possible, IPM methods control pests with mostly natural methods and strategies. This one-hour workshop is part of a new public series presented by the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Urban & Community Program.

Each month, IPM and other experts will share helpful pest management information for California residents, say the organizers. Since the workshops are online, they’re available throughout the state.

Topics also will include landscape pest management, household pests, understanding pesticides, management for weeds and invasive pests. Each webinar will be held at 1 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

Upcoming workshops: “Plant Diseases” (July 15), “Weed Identification” (Aug. 19) and “Identifying Insect Pests in the Home and Garden” (Sept. 16).

For more details and to register: https://ucanr.edu/sites/ucipm-community-webinars/ .

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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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