Advice to Grow By.... Ask Us... Madera Master Gardeners
Our gardening Helpline is working remotely. Questions? Send an email to email@example.com
Including photos is helpful. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Tree Care online resourses?
Thank you: Dave Wilson Nursery for your wonderful online resources about trees.
After writing gardening columns for the Fresno Bee for 18 years, it is a pleasure to be able to continue to offer readers gardening advice and tips here on the Fresno and Madera County Master Gardeners’ website.
Thank you Elinor for your support of the Fresno/Madera Master Gardener programs.
See this month article below.
March 2021 MG website column
In researching invasive plants used in landscapes for this column, I was surprised at how many of those listed were common in Central Valley gardens.Bamboo (running) has been know as an invasive plant for decades, but the list of the “16 most invasive species you’ll find at a nursery”, given at www.epicgardening.com, also includes landscapers’ favorites such as Japanese barberry, Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinesi), Japanese spirea and nandina.
A quick look around your garden might just turn up several common but invasive species.And, following the descriptions of invasive plants given above, you might be able to add a few invaders you’ve identified to the lists.
In my garden, former owners (meaning, I didn’t do it) planted Japanese spirea, nandina, and Chinese privet as well as Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) and Euphorbia characias. The last two plants were in a separate drought-tolerant landscape zone.Mexican feather grass has been identified as an invasive plants, but Euphorbia characias has not yet been added to the lists and is still available in nurseries and garden centers.Although the feather grass and the characias were pulled out four years ago, seeds of both still sprout every spring.The characias is particularly invasive; hundreds of tiny seedling reappear every year, the wiry stems are tough to cut with a wiggle hoe and the roots easily penetrate through the mulch into the soil making them hard to pull out if more than two or three inches tall.
I’d add California bay trees (Umbellularia california) to the invasive species list as well.There are six large mature California bay trees that surround my backyard. They produce enormous numbers of bay berries that root easily on the soil or mulch surface and, if not pulled out when very small, will quickly establish long tap roots.The berries are big enough to be slippery.The trees also produce numerous suckers on their roots which are tough to cut and which must be cut off precisely at the base in order to prevent regrowth.Lots of extra work keeping the bay trees at bay.
Xylosma was planted for many years as a hedge or filler plant.Xylosma is also a very invasive plant; the seeds remain viable in the soil for many years and unless the roots are completely removed they will continue to produce wiry, tough new branches.Many of the gardens in my older, established neighborhood have branches of long-removed xylosma shooting up through more recent plantings.
As the list of species and cultivars of species of invasive plants grows, it’s important to keep up with the most current research in order to prevent inadvertently adding invasive species to our gardens.
Irrigation for the Home Garden
July is also the most important month of the year for irrigation. All irrigation decisions are based on the month of July. July is the highest water use month of the year. Other months are set as a percentage of July. I recommend you go to the CIMIS website and learn about the evapotranspiration curve. CIMIS stands for California Irrigation Management Information System. It is a joint project between the Department of Water Resources and UC Davis and the project monitors water demand in the state from weather stations set up throughout the different regions of California. What a great educational resource!