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Madera Master Gardeners
Madera Master Gardeners are celebrating working in the garden and serving our communities. Your go to source for gardening questions. You can count on us. 

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Elinor Teague

Elinor Teague
A note from Elinor Teague to the readers:

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.

If you would like to read more articles from this past year by Elinor click here to read. 

Thank you Elinor for your support of the Fresno/Madera Master Gardener programs. 

See this month article below. 

April 2021 MG website column

April 2021 MG website column
Springtime in the Central Valley is usually warm with few spring showers and no heavy rain storms that keep humidity levels high.Our short spring is followed by long hot, dry summers.The summer heat and lack of rain do not allow for the proliferation of most fungal problems.   
The most common fungal disease problems that bring gardener’s questions to Fresno County Master Gardeners in spring are anthracnose on sycamore, oaks, ashes and elms and powdery mildew on roses as well as on the tender new leaves of summer vegetables.Treatment for both types of fungus are not easy and not very effective.The severity of symptoms will depend on the weather.The warmer and wetter the spring season, the worse the symptoms and effects of anthracnose; a mild, drier spring will contribute to powdery mildew problems.   
Anthracnose disease causes the first leaves in spring to develop brown patches. On sycamores and oak trees the patches or lesions appear between leaf veins.On ash trees the patches are irregular.Infected leaves fall off, defoliating trees from the bottom up, leaving some green leaves on top of the tree.A second crop of leaves will sprout after the first have dropped and infected trees usually recover well.However, there may also be some twig and branch dieback on severely infected trees.
Chemical fungicides are preventative when sprayed on healthy tissue, but do not control or eliminate the fungus on infected trees.Some tree companies recommend root injection of fungicides but this practice is not recommended by UCCE.Spraying is not always completely effective, timing is difficult and it’s expensive.The best recommendation for control of anthracnose is regular cleanup of all fallen debris during the growing season and in winter to reduce the numbers of fungal spores that can be spread by rain or splashing water. Winterpruning directed to ensure good air circulation will also help reduce anthracnose severity.   
Powdery mildew is not caused by high humidity levels in spring.It develops in mild temperatures (60 to 80 degrees) and on plants in shaded areas or in areas in the garden with poor air circulation.We see only a brief period of such moderate temperatures in spring so that the signs of powdery mildew infections are often missed until a little later in the growing season.
The first signs of powdery mildew are white spots on both upper and lower leaf surfaces.Powdery mildew spores can be washed off leaf surfaces during this first stage.As the fungus spreads, leaves turn brown and fall off and buds and new green growth become distorted.I’ve also noticed that after temperatures have risen enough to kill the powdery mildew spores, leaves on previously infected plants will show holes or areas of thin brown leaf tissue.Many gardeners will mistake these holes or brown patches for some type of insect damage.
Treat for the first signs of powdery mildew by washing off leaf surfaces and by applying horticultural oils or neem or jojoba oil.Applications of sulfur products will prevent powdery mildew problems but only if applied before the first signs of infection.Plant resistant varieties in sunnier spots with good air circulation.Sometimes the only solution for treating plants like roses which suffer severe powdery mildew infections every year is to remove the plant.   


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!

Check with our Water Wise Gardener for more information and tips!

Tree Care online resourses?

Thank you: Dave Wilson Nursery for your wonderful online resources about trees. 

Click here to see the videos posted about Tree care. 


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