North State Garden News
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Do you know what causes these brown needles on your pine tree? Is it diplodia blight, pine engraver beetles or just seasonal leaf drop? Come to the Shasta Master Gardener meeting on Thursday, Jan 8th (6:30 pm, Shasta College Downtown Campus, Room 8220) and listen to Don Owens, CalFire entomologist, answer this question. Don will speak on common forest pests, including mistletoe, bark beetles, Armillaria root fungus (which can affect both your conifers and vineyard) and more. You'll learn how best to deal with forest pests (when and how to remove dying trees to prevent the spread of disease) and what you can do during drought to help your landscape trees.
In our office, this Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) is one cheerful plant! It gets cool temperatures at night (55°F) thanks to our programmable thermostat and received 12-14 hours of darkness per night during the last month. Both conditions encourage blossoms. It has rich, well-drained soil and gets frequent misting. After it finishes blooming, the Master Gardeners pinch off the leaf segments to easily root and propagate new plants for gift-giving during the next holiday season.
My compost pile and I have been lulled into lethargy with this warm fall weather. But the first hard frost reminds me that I need another plan for kitchen scraps and organic waste over the winter. I can keep putting material in the compost pile, but it will decompose VERY slowly, not reach temperatures that will kill pathogens or weed seeds and may leach nitrogen into groundwater. Now's the time to cover my compost pile to prevent leaching in winter rains and let it rest til spring. I've raked up leaves and used them as mulch in my gardens to insulate roots from freezing. Some of the drier oak leaves were run through a chipper, bagged, stored and will become mulch or compost in the spring. My dead squash vines, bean and tomato plants went into the burn pile since composting won't kill the plant mosaic viruses associated with those vegetables. If you can't burn, then bag and dispose of those plants. And lastly, my kitchen scraps now...
Did your peach tree have distorted, reddened leaves this spring that maybe fell off and grew back this summer? If so, your tree may suffer from a fungal disease called Peach Leaf Curl. You can get more information about the disease symptoms and management from the UC Pest Note If your tree does have peach leaf curl, the best time to apply a preventative fungicide is in November after the leaves have fallen. You can apply a copper ammonium spray such as Liqui-Cop or Kop R Spray. Make sure you follow the label and wear appropriate personal protection. If you wait til the symptoms appear again next spring, it's too late to control the disease.