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Learn secrets of eco-friendly pest control

Nevada County master gardeners offer two-part IPM virtual workshop

Aphids on a leaf
Aphids are one of the more common pests in gardens.
Learn how to manage them and many others without
using pesticides. (Photo courtesy UCCE Master Gardeners)

What’s bugging your garden? And what can you do about it?

Don’t reach for the pesticide. Take a more thoughtful approach instead. Birds, bees and butterflies will thank you. (And your garden will be healthier, too.)

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is the key to harmonious gardening with nature and wildlife in mind. Learn IPM basics during a free two-part virtual workshop, presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County.

Held via Zoom, the online sessions will be held at 9 a.m. on consecutive Saturdays, May 29 and June 5. The links, passcodes and more are available here: . No advance registration is required.

“IPM is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment,” say the master gardeners. “IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere – in urban, rural, agricultural and wild land or natural areas.”

This two-part workshop will cover IPM techniques and why they work.

“You’ll learn how to manage pest damage long-term through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant plant varieties,” say the master gardeners.

IPM uses nature to manage nature. But making this form of pest management to work needs observation and proper identification of which pests are at work.

“IPM focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage by managing the ecosystem,” explain the master gardeners. “Monitoring and correct pest identification help you decide whether management is needed, and how to remove only the target organism. IPM programs combine management approaches for greater effectiveness.”

For more on Integrated Pest Management:

In addition to the IPM workshop, the Nevada County master gardeners also will host Saturday virtual workshops on “Softwood Propagation” (June 12), “Container Gardening” (June 19) and “Garden Makeover: Lawn to Landscape” (June 26). All are free and open to the public.

For details and links: .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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