UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County

Posts Tagged: uc

Invasive Trees to Avoid/Suggested Alternatives

Many previously “welcomed” urban tree species have outlived their stay, becoming invasive and crowding out other plants in our Southern California landscapes. You can help by avoiding planting these trees identified by various sources (including the California Invasive Plant Council) to be too aggressive and habitat/resource-depleting for further planting.

Invasive Trees to Avoid Planting

invasive Tamarix ramosissima.jpg (do not plant this invasive tree in CA)

Athel (Tamarix aphylla)

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Blackwood Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon)

Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius)

Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)

Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera)

English Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle)

Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima, T. gallica, T. chinensis)

Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)

Smallflower Tamarisk (Tamarix parviflora)

Tasmanian Bluegum (Eucalyptus globulus)

Plant These Instead

They are drought/heat resistant, low maintenance, and have no known significant pest or disease problems and are not currently overplanted). Find other suggestions here: https://www.cal-ipc.org/solutions/prevention/landscaping/dpp/?region=socal

African Fern Pine (Afrocarpus falcatus) (formerly Podocarpus elatior)

Cascolote (Caesalpinia cacalaco Smoothie®)

Desert Willow ‘Bubba' (Chilopsis linearis)

Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Island Oak (Quercus tomentella)

‘Maverick' Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Mulga (Acacia aneura)

Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)

Pink Chitalpa (x Chitalpa tashkentensis 'Pink Dawn')

‘Red Push' Pistache (Pistacia x ‘Red Push')

Thornless South American Mesquite (Prosopis x Phoenix)

Posted on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 11:39 AM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Hispanic Heritage Month: Collaborative Spanish Project Grant Awarded

The majority of resources offered through the UC Master Gardener Program are only available in English, so when an internalUC Agriculture and Natural Resource (UC ANR) grant arose to develop online educational resource materials in other languages it was the perfect opportunity to expand its gardening resources for Spanish speakers. UC ANR and UC ANR-affiliated academics and staff from across the state submitted proposals for review in hopes of getting projects funded and out into their communities.

Extending the UC Master Gardener Programs' reach and impact to non-English speaking audiences is key to achieving the program's mission of reaching all Californians. According to the 2019 census data, the most common non-English language spoken in California is Spanish; 28.8% of the overall population of California are native Spanish speakers. For this reason, building the UC Master Gardener Program's resources in Spanish is a significant priority area.

Award with a twist

While evaluating the proposals, Strategic Initiatives leaders discovered four proposals with similar gardening themes, and after careful consideration granted the award but with a little “twist”. The four proposals would be combined to form one collaborative project. The proposals shared common goals and had overlapping scope, so the Director of the UC Master Gardener Program, Missy Gable, was charged with coordinating a collective effort to develop food gardening resources in Spanish and distribute these new resources through the UC Master Garden Program channels.  

Thanks to shared goals a creative team formed, including awardees: 

  • Dr. Lucy Diekmann, Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisor in Santa Clara County
  • Mimi Enright, UC Master Gardener Coordinator in County
  • Maggie Reiter, former Environmental Horticulture Advisor in Tulare/Kings Counties
  • Dr. Yu Meng, Youth Family and Community Advisor in Imperial County 

Collaboration and unexpected outcomes

With a spirit of collaboration, the group worked alongside UC Master Gardener volunteers, local community organizations and partners, and UC Communication Services News and Outreach in Spanish staff to create and release a series of food gardening videos in Spanish.

The project also funded a comprehensive vegetable gardening resource that is set to be released in 2022 in both Spanish and English. The teamwork didn't stop here though, YFC Advisor, Dr. Yu Meng initiated the development of a new UC Master Gardener Program in Imperial County so collaboration will continue and expand to meet the needs of residents in our southernmost locations.

Vídeos de jardinería en español (Gardening videos in spanish)

The statewide UC Master Gardener YouTube channel is now hosting a playlist of videos in spanish titled, Vídeos de jardinería en español . These videos are available for individuals or local programs to share on social media, websites, or anywhere the program is reaching the gardening public.

Full YouTube playlist link: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw6OczuNHpWDc1YzCKXqj2PYQnDTl6Hx9 

A special thank you to those working in front of and behind the camera and computers to get these videos produced. The videos have already reached thousands of people in communities across California and beyond!  

Join us LIVE

UC ANR and the UC Master Gardener Program are joining the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationally to acknowledge Latinos' contributions and vital presence in the United States. UC ANR has already held several zoom forums and there are three more to come. The below events will be presented in Spanish.

Links to join will be sent to registrants prior to each event. Registration required: https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=35503 

  • Oct. 6, 1-2:30 PM - Zoom community forum in Spanish
    Be better parents, how to make your kid a leader.
    Guest speakers: Claudia Diaz – 4-H youth development advisor

  • Oct. 13, 1-2:30 PM - Zoom community forum in Spanish
    How to have a successful vegetable garden
    Guest speaker: Master Garden Volunteers from UCCE Contra Costa County

  • Oct. 15, 1-2:30 PM - Zoom community forum in Spanish
    The power of a nutritional meal
    Guest speakers: Susana Matias Medrano/Nutritional Science & Toxicology/ UC and CE Berkeley

2019 US Census, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/news/updates/2019.html 
Data USA, California. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/california
UC ANR Employee Blog, https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=29017

Posted on Monday, October 4, 2021 at 10:59 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Benefits of Horticulture and Human Interactions

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Mohandas K. Gandhi, World leader, political ethicist, lawyer

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. ” May Sarton, Poet “

"May our heart's garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.” Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader and activist “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher

"The importance of encouraging our children in outdoor work with living plants is now recognized. It benefits the health, broadens the education, and gives a valuable training in industry and thrift. The great garden movement is sweeping over all America, and our present problem is to direct it and make it most profitable to the children in our schools and homes. — Van Evrie Kilpatrick, 1918, in “The Child's Food Garden”

As the above quotes so beautifully proclaim, interacting with nature, whether passively (viewing plants) or actively (gardening, etc.) offers many positive benefits. In fact, the link between horticulture and health and well-being has been scientifically documented for centuries. In 1812, psychiatrist, professor, and Declaration of Independence signer Dr. Benjamin Rush reported that patients participating in gardening activities had better mental health outcomes than non-gardening counterparts.

Many additional papers were published throughout the 1800's documenting benefits of active participation in gardening. More recently, positive links between simply viewing plants through a window or even on a television, movie, or exercise apparatus screen have been reported in peer-review journals. A groundbreaking study in this area was published in 1984 by environmental psychologist Robert Ulrich (Ulrich, 1984) who compared post-operative patients recovering from gall bladder surgery who had views of landscape plants to recovering patients who had the same surgery in the same facility with views of a brick wall. Patients with landscape views had fewer surgical complications, shorter hospital stays, required fewer analgesics, had better moods, and even fewer derogatory remarks by medical staff in their daily records.

Since 1984, dozens of other studies have documented similar positive outcomes resulting from both passive and active engagement with nature and plants. These include improved physical, mental and emotional health; environmental benefits; and community and societal benefits. Recent literature reviews that summarize these findings include:

- An overview of 77 peer-reviewed journal articles (Howarth, et. al., 2020) identified 35 positive outcomes linking physical and mental health and well-being to active and passive horticultural interactions. doi: https://10.1136/bmjopen-2020-036923

-A meta-analysis (Soga, 2016) of 22 studies identified several positive mental health outcomes related to gardening including mood, group cohesiveness, cooperation, pride, well-being, and more. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007 -

An overview of 45 peer-review studies (Shepley, et. al., 2019) identified links between properly designed and maintained urban green spaces and crime, gun violence, and the overall safety and cohesiveness of low-wealth urban neighborhoods. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245119

- A review of 120 papers (Crus-Piedrahita, et. al., 2020) reported public health benefits from urban horticulture activities in the global North. Thirty-two papers had a specific focus on social cohesion and/or social capital. https://doi:10.1016/j.glt.2020.10.001

-Alizadeh (2019) synthesized research regarding the environmental benefits of urban plants, highlighting their vital roles in combating climate change, cooling urban heat islands, providing habitat, removing air and water pollutants, enhancing soil health, and more. https://www.researchgate.net/deref/https%3A%2F%2Fdoi.org%2F10.1108%2FIJCCSM-10-2017-0179

Enjoy your garden!  Enjoy a day in nature.


Posted on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 9:24 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Family, Food, Health, Natural Resources

Hispanic Heritage Month Happenings

UC Agriculture and Natural Resource (UC ANR) and the UC Master Gardener Program are joining the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, From Sept. 15 through Oct.15, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationally to acknowledge Latinos' contributions and vital presence in the United States.

Over the coming weeks UC ANR will hold several zoom forums with topics ranging from how to stop the implicit bias towards Latinos and other ethnic groups, what do we need to know to better understand the Latino community. To the indigenous migrant workers, who are they? What are the most pressing needs? These communities were hit hard by COVID-19.

Registration is required for these events (links provided below), however they are being recorded and posted to the Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 website for those who can't make it. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Honorees

We are celebrating three Latino UC ANR professionals in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Congratulations to Liliana Vega, Leticia Christian, and Gersain López, each have an informative, short 2 minute video explaining their work and will be part of a forum on Sept. 29. They were chosen for being Latino professionals who serve their communities while always upholding UC ANR's public values of academic excellence, honesty, integrity, and community service. Watch the honorees videos below.





Zoom Forums

All the zoom forums will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and moderated by Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS).

The below events will be presented in English. Links to join will be sent to registrants prior to each event. Registration Required: https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=35590

  • September 15, zoom forum, 1-2:30 PM
    One size does not fit all! – Myths, Stereotypes and Discrimination against Latinos.
    Guest speaker: Victor Villegas /Oregon State University/Latino advocate.
    Testimonies from: Christian Gomez Wong, Beatriz Nobua-Bherman and Bertha Teresa Felix-Simmons.
  • September 22, zoom forum, 1-2:30 PM
    Indigenous Migrant Communities – “The forgotten ones in the age of COVID19”
    Guest speakers: Arcenio López/ Exec. Director Mixtec Indígena Organization Project (MICOP)

  • September 29, zoom forum, 1-2:30 PM
    Meet the HHM 2021 Honorees
    Guest speakers: Katherine E. Soule /Liliana Vega – 4-H; Tuline N Baycal/Leticia Christian – CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; Jairo Diaz/Gilberto Magallon/Gersain Lopez – Desert Rec.

The below events will be presented in Spanish. Links to join will be sent to registrants prior to each event. Registration Required: https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=35503

  • October 6 zoom community forum in Spanish, 1-2:30 PM
    Be better parents, how to make your kid a leader.
    Guest speakers: Claudia Diaz – 4-H youth development advisor.

  • October 13 zoom community forum in Spanish, 1-2:30 PM
    How to have a successful vegetable garden
    Guest speaker: Master Garden Volunteers from Contra Costa County UCCE.

  • October 15 zoom community forum in Spanish, 1-2:30 PM
    The power of a nutritional meal
    Guest speakers: Susana Matias Medrano/Nutritional Science & Toxicology/ UC and CE Berkeley


Registration and Website Links

Please help us make this year's celebration a success, spread the word about the events.

Those interested in attending the September forums should register here.

For the Spanish community forums, please register here.

For more information, Zoom backgrounds and phone wallpapers


Questions, Contact:

Ricardo Vela, rvela@ucanr.edu, (951) 660-9887

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 2:27 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Synthetic turf, dark mulch and asphalt surfaces are superheating our inland cities

I've been interested in surface temperatures of various living and non-living surfaces in our inland Southern California cities with increasingly hot urban heat islands for some time. Results are in! Use of dark asphalt, synthetic turf,

and dark colored mulches are superheating our cities.  The hottest material of the three is synthetic turf which topped at over 165 degrees in Palm Springs and 159 in Redlands on days when the ambient air temperatures were, respectively, 113 and 108 degrees F this summer. In five of ten days I took data during July in Palm Springs, I was barely able to take a photo before my trusted I-phone shut down, leaving me with the ominous screen heat warning shown here.

What can you do?

Take care of your trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and lawns, which cool the environment substantially.  In the same experiment, the coolest scenario was the surface temperature of a lawn growing in the shade of a mature tree.  Remember that, through transpiration, living plants cool the environment while non-living surfaces do not.

If you're tired of your high maintenance lawn, think about alternative groundcovers that have similar effects (see suggestions below).  While cool season lawns like tall fescue and ryes are high water-requiring plants, warm season lawns like Bermuda, zoysia, and buffalograss are more drought-resistant.  Our studies have found that it's not the lawns and groundcovers that waste the water, it's the uneven coverage (low distribution uniformity) of most sprinkler systems, coupled with not applying the right amount of water at the right time. This holds true for even the most drought-resistant native and non-native groundcovers irrigated via sprinklers, as well.  

Plant drought-tolerant groundcovers

There are dozens of groundcover species that are both drought and heat-tolerant suitable for California gardens.

Here are just two examples: 

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyhllum) They are both drought resistant and do well in the heat. Fragrant flowers add a special touch to a meandering path to a secret backyard garden (below left). 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus prostratus) Some rosemary species are low-growing groundcovers.  It is great for rock gardens, growing to only 6 inches tall.  It produces purple flowers in the summer and attracts pollinators and can be used for culinary purpose (below right). 

trees cool urban heat islands
trees cool urban heat islands

Posted on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 12:01 PM
Focus Area Tags: Family, Health, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

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