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Posts Tagged: IPM

Vegetable Pest Management Training Series a Success

It may seem odd to see seventy-five people at a hotel conference center learning about insects and rats on vegetables, but not if you are a UC Master Gardener.  The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program just wrapped up the Vegetable Pests and Solutions train-the-trainer series. More than 340 UC Master Gardener volunteers from across the state took part in the regional trainings offered in Fresno, Orange, Placer, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma counties. 

Active Learning

The advanced UC IPM training offered a hands-on, train-the-trainer experience that increased participants' knowledge of insect pests of vegetables, vegetable plant diseases and disorders, and vertebrate pests of gardens and homes.  One of the highlights of the training was Human-Wildlife Interaction Advisor, Niamh Quinn, showing a taxidermy collection of vertebrate pests at the Orange and San Luis Obispo County workshops.  Being able to handle and observe the different markings, colors and claws on certain animals makes future identification easier as participants learned the signs to look for when identifying vertebrate pest damage in the vegetable garden.

UC Master Gardeners are getting a real hands-on look at the features of a pocket gopher. Photo Credit: Elaine Lander

UC Master Gardener volunteers were lead through exercises that mimic questions commonly received from the public.  Some of the questions had a photo, others just a sparse description that volunteers worked together to solve using online IPM resources and materials provided at the training.  The exercises were designed to challenge and expose the learner to different types of scenarios and tools they can use in the future.

Outreach and Education

The UC Master Gardener Program's mission is to extend research-based information, by attending advanced trainings such as this, volunteers are even more prepared to contribute to the program's mission. With exposure and practice using new resources and materials training attendees have the tools and knowledge needed to educate the public on vegetable pests and solutions including scripted PowerPoints, activities, handouts, and vegetable pest identification card sets. One attendee reported “As a first year UC Master Gardener, this training helped me become more comfortable and more confident researching answers for pest management questions.” 

At the conclusion of the training volunteers convened with their fellow county volunteers to talk about their plans to take new found knowledge back into their communities.  Some of the great ideas generated were:

  • offer seasonal pest problems workshops
  • include a “Need Help Solving Pest Problems?” flier for all events
  • add IPM tips to newsletters and social media
  • integrate IPM into presentations as appropriate or relevant to topic
  • add signage for damaged or diseased plants with IPM solutions in demonstration gardens
  • share IPM toolkit at farmers markets and demo garden events

UC Master Gardener volunteers of Orange County are brainstorming ideas of how to incorporate the IPM training they just received into their outreach and education efforts. Photo Credit: Elaine Lander

How We are Making a Difference

One portion of the agenda was focused on how the UC Master Gardener community is making a difference. With 6,000+ volunteers serving more than 517,000 Californians per year the impact of the UC Master Gardener volunteer effort is truly amazing.  Through statewide program evaluation efforts the impact in sustainable landscaping, food gardening and community well-being is now being analyzed and reported in the programs annual report.  Volunteers can see the impact they are having statewide and be proud of being part of a group that social changes they are seeing in their local communities. 

As active volunteers and life-long learners UC Master Gardeners are a powerful educational tool and inspiration for others not only in the garden but in the volunteer community.  Statewide educational offerings like UC IPM's train-the-trainer series help hone the diagnostics skills while building confidence in the subject matter. 

The next statewide training opportunity for UC Master Gardener volunteers will be the 2020 UC Master Gardener Conference, Sept. 28 –Oct. 2, 2020 at the Granlibakken, Tahoe. The conference is the beginning planning stages and taking speaker and topic suggestions, click here to suggest a speaker or topic.

Posted on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 10:20 AM
Tags: 2020UCMG (1), Gardening (16), IPM (10), Master Gardener (32), Master Gardener Program (4), Pests (6), Volunteers (8), Weeds (2)
Focus Area Tags: Pest Management, Yard & Garden

Local Garden Gem in San Mateo County: The Gardening Education Center

In the heart of San Mateo County sits a garden gem, The Gardening Education Center, a 5,000 square foot growing space established by the UC Master Gardener Program of San Mateo County. This green garden space was approximately three years in the making, which included fundraising, planning, and actively working the land. 

In the spring of 2018, when the site was unveiled, UC Master Gardener volunteers went to work. The plan was to prepare the space for a small (4-5 fruit tree) orchard, three large raised bed planters for seasonal flowers and vegetables, and separate specialty in-ground beds featuring natives, succulents and other drought tolerant plantings.

Prior to the planting, UC Master Gardener volunteers sheet mulched with cardboard and wood chips. This assisted in smothering the invasive groundcover that had taken over the overgrown neglected space.

Unbeknownst to UC Master Gardener volunteers, there was significantly more Bermuda grass than was initially suspected. Bermuda grass seeds can be an aggressive, the grass itself is tough and persistent. Over the next few months the grass eventually crept in and completely took over. Drastic measures were needed to eradicate the pesky weeds so the committed volunteers accepted the challenge and made a plan to eradicate the invasive grass without utilizing chemicals.

The plan of attack included eradicating as much Bermuda grass as possible from the very compacted and dry soil as naturally as possible. They scraped the top few inches of the soil off of the area to get rid of as many rhizomes and stolons of the pernicious Bermuda grass.

They worked tirelessly to remove the Bermuda grass, and prepared the soil for compost tea and cover crop planting. By removing the Bermuda grass it made a huge difference in the look, health and overall maintenance of the garden space.

The following eight cool season cover crops were chosen for the first planting because of these benefits:

In the end, UC Master Gardener volunteers produced a harvest of plenty. They learned the finer points of making compost extract using premier compost and applying it to the soil to introduce microbial life into the soil, attracting beneficial fungi, nematodes and earthworms. Not only were they able to plant diverse cover crops that crowded out the weeds, they were also successful in reaching their goal of treating the 1,600 square foot space of garden soil with no pesticides. 

The Gardening Education Center has been open to UC Master Gardener volunteers since last spring, as they work to create the infrastructure to accommodate classes for the public. There are three greenhouses onsite that are currently growing plants for the UC Master Gardener Program of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.   

Compost Class pictured above, front row from left to right: Mark Foulard, Norine Cepernich, Terry Messinger, Maggi Lim, Cathy Vreeberg, Gaye Torjusen, (and standing) Nancy Kruberg, Terry Lyngso, and Steve Maskel. Second row from left ot right: Patty Deering, Linda Dvorak,Kathy Stamm, Kate Sweetman, Carol O'Donnell, John O'Hara, Charlie Akers, Charlene Landreau, Ginny Piazza, Cynthia Nations, Nick Landolfi, Janet Gilmore, Yana Maloney, and behind Yana,  John Bassetto (Norine's husband and heavy equipment operator).

Many thanks to this group of volunteers, who have led the efforts and plan for The Gardening Education Center space and whom have spent countless volunteer hours! They have put a lot of thought into making this an excellent learning process for all. We would like to especially recognize Terry Lyngso, whom donated compost, seeds and paving stones to the project.

Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 1:42 PM
  • Author: Donna Navarro Valadez
Tags: Gardening (16), IPM (10), Master Gardener (32), Master Gardener Program (4), Weeds (2)
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

UC Master Gardener volunteers know household pests!

It's well known that the UC Master Gardener Program produces dedicated volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about home horticulture and gardening. UC Master Gardener volunteers; especially those working at help desks, hotlines, and farmers markets, respond to thousands of requests each year, extending information and resources to California's residents that help them maintain landscapes, grow healthy food, and manage pests using the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).

Household pests such as cockroaches may be especially popular request topics within UC Master Gardener Programs serving the urban residential public in California. This photo shows oriental cockroaches, an outdoor species that can come into homes that are not properly sealed. Structural exclusion and other nonchemical preventive tactics can be used to solve this pest problem without the need for insecticides. Learn about this and other household pest solutions in order to better serve your clien


Pests don't disappear at the front door, however: there are plenty of significant pests threatening our households, structures, and communities. In fact, residents in urban counties may have more need for information and resources associated with household pest IPM than for landscape and garden IPM. Even rural counties are filled with homes that may be infested by key urban pests such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, termites, pantry pests, and rodents.

UC Master Gardener Programs have seen increasing numbers and rates of requests for information about these pests. Using the principles of IPM, household pests can be effectively managed while minimizing negative impacts to our communities and the environment. For instance, many unnecessary pesticide applications are made in urban environments, leading to pesticide exposure events, pesticide resistance issues, and environmental contamination, especially of urban surface water systems. In many cases, pests could have been managed using preventive or nonchemical tactics.

Whether in the home or in the garden, IPM is one of the key knowledge areas in which UC Master Gardener volunteers receive training. Using the UC IPM website and its materials, such as Pest Notes and Quick Tips, UC Master Gardeners are able to help answer household pest requests. Even so, volunteers familiar with plant ecosystems may not always feel confident when addressing pest problems in the home. Luckily, an advanced training opportunity exists for UC Master Gardener volunteers who would like to increase their proficiency in household IPM. 

UC Master Gardeners use insect specimens, pest management products, and printed information to answer questions about key household pests during one of UC IPM’s Advanced IPM Training for MGs workshops. You can use an online continuing education module to train yourself and others about IPM for household pests in your home county.

A continuing education module, entitled Advanced IPM Training for UC Master Gardeners: Household Pests, was developed by Dr. Andrew Sutherland, Urban IPM Advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area. This advanced training has been provided several times for UC Master Gardeners at in-person hands-on workshops, but it is also available online within UC IPM's IPM Resources for UC Master Gardeners web portal.

The module includes a PowerPoint presentation, word-for-word script, instructions on hands-on exercises associated with the presentation, and handouts providing detailed information about the pests covered. Help Desk leaders and other UC Master Gardener volunteers can use these materials to deliver the modules to other volunteers using a train-the-trainer model. The module can also be delivered to residential clientele directly. Pests discussed include: ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, pantry pests, termites, and other wood-destroying insects.

We encourage you to take advantage of this unique training opportunity, and become a local expert on household pests. As always, UC ANR Advisors like Dr. Sutherland are available to answer difficult questions and to provide more in-depth training, but this module can certainly help you build confidence and prepare you for that next bed bug request (you know it's coming!).

The updated continuing education module can be found at the following URL:

For questions about this Household Pests module, please contact Dr. Andrew Sutherland


Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM
Tags: IPM (10), Master Gardener (32), Pests (6), Training (4)

IPM Achievement Award for Cherry Buckskin Project in Contra Costa County

Accepting an award from the CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation, for the Cherry Buckskin Project. From left to right: Jorge Vargas, Claire Bernardo, Janet Caprile, and Matt Slattengren.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation held their annual Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Achievement Awards on Jan. 26. Awards were given in recognition of six organizations that applied problem-solving approaches to manage pests through the use of least toxic practices. One of the awards, accepted by Janet Caprile, Farm Advisor UC Cooperative Extension Contra Costa County, was for the Cherry Buckskin Project.

Since 1987, the Cherry Buckskin Project has been working to prevent the establishment of cherry buckskin disease which can decimate entire orchards. “Cherry buckskin disease is spread by leafhoppers, which acquire the disease when feeding on diseased cherries or other plants that host the disease organism. Diseased trees produce pebbly, leathery-skinned paled fruit that is most evident at harvest,” according to the UC IPM website.

Prevention of cherry buckskin disease is a collaborative effort between UC Cooperative Extension, the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture and local cherry growers; the Cherry Buckskin Project aims at early detection through education and outreach.

A major component of the Cherry Buckskin Project is the training of UC Master Gardener volunteers and local growers. UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County are trained annually by Caprile, who explains the history of the disease, how it is transmitted and what symptoms to be on the lookout for.

UC Master Gardener volunteers serve as early detectors and scout for symptoms of cherry buckskin disease, through an annual survey of cherry orchards in Contra Costa County. Since the beginning of the project UC Master Gardener volunteers donated more than 1,100 volunteer hours surveying cherry orchards!

Healthy cherry fruit (left) and fruit with symptoms of cherry buckskin disease (right). Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark.
In 2002, a UC Master Gardener volunteer found the first orchard infected with cherry buckskin disease. Over the next five years, seven more orchards were identified with one or two trees showing symptoms of the disease. All of the infected trees were removed after the lab samples were confirmed to be positive. In 2015, the orchard that was a recurrent hot spot for the disease was removed and no more occurrences have been found in the annual surveys conducted since.

A huge congratulations to Janet Caprile for the well-deserved IPM Achievement Award, and a thank you to all of the UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County that have helped make the Cherry Buckskin Project possible with the hours they have dedicated to its success.

Also attending the award ceremony with Caprile were Matthew Slattengren, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Sealer of Weights and Measures, Jorge Vargas, Agricultural Biologist Weights and Measures Inspector, and Claire Bernardo, representing UC Master Gardener volunteers. The ceremony took place in the CalEPA headquarters Building in Sacramento, Calif.


UC Cooperative Extension, Contra Costa County,
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County,
UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM),

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 2:18 PM
Tags: Cherry Buckskin (1), Contra Costa (1), IPM (10)

Winter Care for your Peach and Nectarine Tree

Fruit mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
A successful summer harvest of peaches and nectarines starts in winter. General clean up, pruning, and dormant spraying will help prevent disease and keep your trees in good health.

Remove and destroy all mummified fruit hanging on tree branches or littering the ground. Although they look harmless mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. Stop the cycle of infection by removing these mummies and destroying them, not composting them.

Distorted leaves with red blister-like swellings from leaf curl fungus on a peach tree. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
Once the tree is dormant (no leaves) you can prune out any dead, diseased or broken branches. Do not seal or paint pruning cuts, leave them open to the air to heal naturally. Sealing or painting these cuts traps moisture and leads to disease. Once all dead, diseased and broken branches are removed prune up to 50 percent of last year's wood. Pruning your tree produces new growth and opens up the tree to sunlight to produce quality fruit.

Peach branch with approximately 10% of buds at full bloom stage. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
To prevent leaf curl (fungus) spray before bud swell, which typically occurs after Feb. 14 or Valentine's Day. Signs of leaf curl are detected on new spring leaves but by then it is too late to control the disease. By planning ahead, you can reduce the likelihood of leaf curl and mitigate its effects on tree growth and fruit production. Some effective fungicide spray materials that are registered for backyard use are bordeaux mixture, fixed copper and chlorothalonil. Always wear proper protective clothing and follow the label when applying any pesticides.

For more information on winter, spring and summer care of your peach and nectarine trees see the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Publication 7261: Peaches and Nectarines: Calendar of Operation for Home Gardeners.

For further assistance contact your local UC Master Gardener Program.

Sources: (Pest note7426)

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 1:16 PM
  • Author: Lauren Snowden
Tags: Fungus (1), IPM (10), Master Gardener (32), Peach leaf curl (1)

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