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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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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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