In the News
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and UC Master Gardener Program invite you to join us in the celebration of Healthy Soils Week Dec. 2-9. Healthy Soils Week is a statewide initiative that shines a spotlight on the pivotal role healthy soil plays in sustaining our environment, gardens, agriculture, and the planet. This year, CDFA has organized a week-long event to raise awareness about the importance of soil health and the benefits it offers to our communities.
As we all come together to learn, share, and grow, let's delve into the incredible world of soil and discover why it deserves a week of recognition.
Why is soil health important?
- Improved plant health and yields. Healthy soils provide essential nutrients and an ideal environment for plant growth, resulting in higher crop yields and better-quality produce.
- Increased water infiltration and retention. Healthy soils can absorb and retain water more effectively, reducing runoff and ensuring a stable water supply for agriculture and natural ecosystems.
- Carbon sequestration and reduced greenhouse gases. Healthy soils act as a carbon sink, capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduced sediment erosion and dust. Healthy soils prevent erosion, protecting waterways and air quality by minimizing sediment and dust pollution.
- Improved water and air quality. Soil health practices filter pollutants, resulting in cleaner water and air for communities and wildlife.
- Enhanced biological diversity and wildlife habitat. Healthy soils foster diverse microbial communities and provide habitats for countless organisms, contributing to thriving ecosystems.
Healthy Soils Week is a fantastic opportunity to join the movement for soil health and sustainability. By participating in the activities and events, you can learn more about how to protect and enhance the health of our soils.
- Saturday, Dec. 2 - Intro to Composting with UC Master Gardeners of Sonoma County
- Tuesday, Dec. 5 - World Soil Day
- Tuesday, Dec. 5 - Cultivate Healthy Soil in Your Garden with UC Master Gardeners of Ventura County
- Friday, Dec. 8 - UC ANR's Sustainable Nutrient Management and Soil Health Field Day in Salinas
UC Master Gardener volunteers are working within California communities to promote sustainable gardening practices and encourage soil health. Their dedication and expertise make a significant impact on the state's efforts to protect and improve soil quality for future generations. Learn more about the UC Master Gardener Program by visiting mg.ucanr.edu.
Join us on Facebook on Fri., Dec. 1 for a LIVE event as we learn about Placer County's award-winning project, "Search for Excellence Second Place: Engagement + Education + Enthusiasm = School Garden Success." UC Master Gardener volunteers of Placer County created engaging, outdoor garden activities that go beyond traditional textbooks, sparking a love for nature and healthy living for students. The project delves into exciting topics like plant care, photosynthesis, the role of worms in soil creation, and the delicious benefits of eating fresh vegetables. No registration or special link needed, the talks will be streamed LIVE to Facebook and YouTube.
Carol Holliman, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County
Melissa Johnson, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County
Date: Friday, Dec. 1
Link to recording: https://www.youtube.com/live/7v6EYjAcwM0?si=o-0H1U64-cwH2lM9
Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Monday or on future Facebook Live topics.
The day that inspires acts of generosity is here again on Nov. 28 it's Giving Tuesday, and we hope you support the UC Master Gardener Program in its 8th year of participating!
Giving Tuesday is a global movement that takes place every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. November is the month of gratitude and a time we reflect on all we are grateful for in our lives. Gratefulness for what we have often leads to a desire to give back to organizations that improve lives.
The UC Master Gardener Program helps create gardening resources, virtual workshops and empowers gardeners to support food banks, schools, and community gardens. Many studies illustrate the benefits of gardening on health and how important it is to get outside and be around green spaces. Through gardening education, the UC Master Gardener Program allows participants to spend more time outdoors, which improves mental and physical health. Your support helps us to continue evolving this education and give back to our community through workshops for all ages, resources for every gardener, and produce donations for those in need.
How can you help? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Join us and donate. Your gift can be applied directly to support your local county program.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for exciting updates. Tag @UCMasterGarden and include the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #GiveBack.
- Please share this message with friends and family and encourage them to join the movement!
We're asking you to join us in supporting the UC Master Gardener Program by helping spread the word to friends and family who want to support you in making an impact. Thank you for all you do for the UC Master Gardener Program and for joining the #GivingTuesday movement! For more information visit: ucanr.edu/givingtuesday
As gardeners, we're often generous with our garden's bounty. From sharing seeds and plant trimmings to the joy of gifting homegrown fruit and vegetables, gardening is as much about community as it is about growing plants. However, in this season of sharing, we must also remember our responsibility to prevent the spread of pests and invasive species to protect California's diverse ecosystem.
First detected in California in 2008, Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) has been a concern for both commercial citrus growers and home gardeners. ACP poses a significant threat to California's citrus trees, capable of spreading the deadly huanglongbing (HLB) disease, an incurable condition that eventually kills the tree.
Detecting ACP involves looking for a few key characteristics. ACP is a tiny, mottled brown insect about the size of an aphid. Adults are typically 3 to 4 millimeters long and are identified by their distinctive body shape, where the head is narrower than the body, and they hold their wings tent-like over their bodies. They are most active during warm temperatures, and you might notice them jumping or flying when disturbed. The nymphs, the immature form of the psyllid, are yellowish-orange and secrete white, waxy tubules from the back of their abdomen.
Additionally, ACP leaves telltale signs on citrus leaves, such as twisted or curled new leaf growth. They are sap-feeders, like aphids and mealybugs, so they produce honeydew which leads to the growth of sooty mold. Regularly inspecting your citrus trees, especially the new growth, is key to early detection of ACP.
Recent updates to the USDA's Plant Protection and Quarantine citrus map highlights areas that are generally infested with ACP and those which are not. This distinction is crucial for understanding the regulations and eradication efforts in different regions across the state. To find detailed quarantine information by county or zones, visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) ACP Regulation and Quarantine Boundaries website and maps.
Looking at the map pictured above, areas in the southern region of California, south of the Grapevine or San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountain Ranges, and as far up the coast as Santa Barbara County are considered generally infested. The CDFA does not carry out eradication efforts for ACP in these areas. In areas north of the Grapevine, an ACP detection on a residential citrus tree would trigger an eradication response from the CDFA.
As we approach the holiday season, a popular time for gardeners to share budwood for grafting, it's crucial to understand the importance of not moving citrus planting material between quarantine areas. It is especially important not to move budwood or citrus from Southern California or the Bay Area into California's Central Valley.
To aid in this effort, UC Master Gardener Program resources are available to help educate you about identifying ACP and understanding the quarantine regulations. Here are some key actions you can take:
- Only purchase new citrus trees from reputable nurseries.
- Do not accept tree cuttings or budwood from friends or family.
- After pruning or removing a citrus tree, dry out the green waste or double bag it to help ensure the green waste is disposed of appropriately.
- Control ants in and near citrus trees with bait stations. Scientists have released natural enemies of ACP in Southern California to help keep the pest in check, but ants aid ACP in evading the natural enemies.
The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources ACP website offers an interactive map tool, biological control efforts, and an online calculator for the potential costs of using insecticides. Additionally, the Statewide UC Integrated Pest Management website provides free online training for gardeners and detailed Pest Notes on ACP and HLB disease. Remember, inspecting your citrus trees is vital to prevent the spread of ACP and HLB. If you suspect an infestation, contact the CDFA Exotic Pest Hotline at 1 (800) 491-1899 or your local county agricultural commissioner.
Let's continue to share the bounties of our gardens, but let's do so responsibly, keeping our citrus trees safe and healthy. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against ACP and HLB.
Join us on Facebook on Thurs., Nov. 16 for a LIVE event as we learn about Sacramento County's award-winning project, "Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences." This project was recognized for being innovative and has encouraged other programs across California to make videos that are informational, easy to watch and engaging. Their dedication to helping their community was especially clear during the pandemic, showing their willingness to adapt and keep delivering the UC Master Gardener mission.
Date: Thursday, Nov. 16
Kathy Steuer, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County
Mary Welch, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County
Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Thursday or on future Facebook Live topics.
Find recording of LIVE events here: LIVE Series - UC Master Gardener Program (ucanr.edu)