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Free Rainwater Collectors and Installation for LA homes

Runoff may carry pesticides and other toxics from around homes into waterways. Harvesting rainwater from the roof will help reduce the amount of water reaching the ground and you can use this water for your garden whenever you want (not just Tuesdays and Thursdays). While it may not be on your mind right now, we do get a few bigs rains each year. This is free installation and materials. If I lived in LA County, I would sure take advantage of it!

If you are a landscaper or gardener and have a customer that could benefit from this, you should encourage them to do so.

See for more information and application form.  As of today (9/21/09) there are about 170 slots open.
Posted on Monday, September 21, 2009 at 8:34 AM

Citrus Quarantine For ALL of Orange County

Orange County Register 8/28/09

State declares insect quarantine for all of O.C.

August 28th, 2009, 12:49 pm · Post a Comment · posted by Pat Brennan, green living, environment editor

All of Orange County is now officially under quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid, state agricultural officials said Friday, with the insect prompting worry because it carries a disease that kills citrus trees.psyllidgoc2

The quarantine means residents and business owners should not move any citrus plants, cuttings, fruits or leaves either within the county or outside it.

“There’s no problem consuming fruit from homegrown trees, as long as it’s done on site,” state agricultural spokesman Jay Van Rein said. “The risk is, if the fruit or the plants themselves are moved, the insects are so small and hard to detect with the naked eye, they’re very easily moved.”

Nursery owners must ensure their plants are free of the pest.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture signaled earlier in the week that Orange County would be placed under quarantine, and asked residents to act as if the quarantine was already in place.

Samples are still being gathered where five of the insects were found, on a block near Edinger Avenue and south Main Street in Santa Ana (see map of affected area).

The five insects did not test positive for the disease that kills citrus trees, known as huanglongbing or citrus greening disease; more batches of insects are being collected from traps in the area.

citrusgoc1Van Rein said state officials worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set the quarantine at Orange County’s boundaries. Normally the quarantines extend 20 miles out from such a find, he said; the county’s boundary seemed a convenient marker for this quarantine.

Other, similar quarantines have been imposed in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties.

The insect can carry a type of bacteria that it delivers  into citrus leaves through its mouth parts. And the disease caused by the bacteria is incurable. Once citrus plants acquire it, they will waste away and die.leaves1

Brazil and Florida have been hard hit by the pest. It has also been found in several other southeastern U.S. states, some finding only the insect and some finding both the insect and the disease.

(Photo of psyllid courtesy CDFA; photo of psyllid’s effects on mandarin oranges and on leaves courtesy USDA.)

Posted on Friday, August 28, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Light brown apple moth comes to Los Angeles County

We were hoping that this wouldn't happen but hope is not a method of pest management.  The lighte brown apple moth was just detected in Long Beach. This will trigger quarentines of nursery stock, fruit, and vegetables.

News release from California Department of Food and Agriculture
SACRAMENTO, July 31, 2009 - Both new and expanded quarantine boundaries are in effect in several California communities due to recent detections of the light brown apple moth.

The new boundaries will quarantine plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables grown in some areas of Contra Costa, San Benito, Monterey, San Joaquin and Solano counties.

Three new quarantine boundaries have been established: approximately 18 square miles in the Manteca area of San Joaquin County - the first quarantine in the San Joaquin Valley; approximately 16 square miles in the Gonzales area of Monterey County; and approximately 15 square miles in the Fairfield area of Solano County.

Two currently quarantined areas have been expanded: approximately 12 additional square miles in the Hollister area of San Benito County; and approximately 32 additional square miles in the regulated area of Contra Costa County.

Preparations are also underway for forthcoming quarantines in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles County and in the Los Osos area of San Luis Obispo County due to recent detections of the pest.

The statewide light brown apple moth infestation has grown in density and range in 2009. This summer the apple moth did considerable damage to berry fields near Watsonville. More than 110,000 moths have been trapped in California.

Approximately 3,473 square miles are now under quarantine within California. State and federal quarantine regulations prohibit the movement of all nursery stock, all cut flowers, and all host fruits and vegetables and plant parts within or from the quarantined area unless it is certified as free from the pest by an agricultural official; is purchased at a retail outlet; or was produced outside the area and is passing through in accordance with accepted safeguards. Additionally, federal regulations apply to host commodities from the entire county if the commodities are moving interstate.

The quarantine applies to residential and public properties as well as plant nurseries, farms and other commercial enterprises. Residents are asked to consume fruits and vegetables from yards and gardens in the area rather than removing them from the property. Landscapers and yard maintenance companies will be among the businesses placed under compliance agreements to ensure that yard waste is disposed of properly. People who are unsure if they are within the quarantine zone are asked to assume that they are. Maps of the quarantine zones are available at:

The Light Brown Apple Moth is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Hawaii. The range of host plants is broad with more than two-thousand plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest, and more than 250 crops. It threatens California's environment by destroying, stunting or deforming young seedlings and damaging new growth in the forest canopy. The moth also feeds on host plants and damages or spoils the appearance of ornamental plants, citrus, grapes, and deciduous fruit tree crops. State and federal agriculture officials are currently developing sterile insect technology to combat the infestation.

For more information on the Light Brown Apple Moth, please visit

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Is it the mix or the water?

For the life of me, I cannot seem to grow weeds lately for my nursery trials. Most growers would love to have my problem but when you are testing new herbicides it helps if there are some weeds coming up in the untreated pots to know whether the new materials have any effect.  

At first I blamed it on the potting mix (I changed from bulk to bagged) but now I am thinking it may be due to how I irrigate.   And that may be why growers have weed problems.  You see, I don't put on a lot of water; after the initial watering in I only irrigate 3X/week for about 10 minutes each time. I think that I don't put on enough water to keep the media very wet. The plants look fine.  Most nurseries water daily and some ever add handwatering.  Could it be that if nurseries cut back on their irrigation that they could still get good plant growth and reduce their weeds?  

In some work I did about 10 years ago, I found that containers irrigated based on soil moisture had considerably less weed pressure than plants irrigated using timer controllers and used less water with no loss of plant quality.  

Last week I set out a rain gauge with a data logger to monitor the amount of water applied.  After I get a good handle on that I think I will do a quick trial to test my theory  whether it's the potting mix or if it's the water amount.  Either way, if there's something that will reduce weed pressure, we need to find out what it is.

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 9:42 PM

What's this weed?

 An Advisor in my office was starting some plants in potting mix.  We were surprised to find the plant (see photo; for reference the pots about 4" wide and tall) come up from what assume is the potting mix but could be a seed contaminant.  I've looked through a number of  references and can't ID it.  It is heavily covered with spines like bristly oxtongue but it is not that weed. The spines/bristles are on both sides of the leaves, including the midrib.  Also on the stems and petioles.  The upper side of the leaves are stippled with dots  that are brownish.  I am currently growing it until it flowers.  That should make it easier to ID.

Any ideas are welcome!

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 4:37 PM

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