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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:

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: .


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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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