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UC Master Gardener Program

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The University of California (UC) Master Gardener Program extends UC research-based information to the public about home horticulture. In exchange for the training and materials received from the University of California, master gardeners perform volunteer services in a variety of venues. 

Check out the useful links on the left to answer your gardening questions.


North State Garden News
  • Looking for Authors

    Feb 18, 2016

    We are looking for Authors, Writers, Contributors for this blog. Are you interested? Please email Leimone Waite  at LWAITE@ShastaCollege.edu 

    Thank you

  • Forest Pests

    Jan 5, 2015

    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.    

    By Carol Fall
    Author - Trinity County Master Gardener Instructor
  • Holiday Cactus

    Dec 16, 2014


    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.   

    By Carol Fall
    Author - Trinity County Master Gardener Instructor
  • Winter Composting: Plan B

    Nov 24, 2014

    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 go to my worm bin.  Keep your worm bin in an area where the bedding remains between 55-75°F and your worms will happily turn your scraps into castings for your spring garden.  I find it easier to keep worms in the winter - they don't dry out or overheat - as long as you keep their bin from freezing.   You can always set up a temporary worm bin using some lucky worms from your compost pile, rescued from their cold-weather torpor.   They may not be the preferred redworms (Eisenia foetida) for vermiculture, but they can spend the winter in your worm "spa" and go back to the compost pile in spring. 



    By Carol Fall
    Author - Trinity County Master Gardener Instructor
  • Dormant Spraying for Peach Leaf Curl

    Nov 5, 2014

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    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. 

    By Carol Fall
    Author - Trinity County Master Gardener Instructor

We've received many requests for information on reducing water use in drought conditions.  The UCCE Master Gardeners of Trinity County have prepared a handout with Water Conservation Suggestions for your Home Vegetable Garden .

The California Garden Web has more tips for Gardening in a Drought and Irrigation during a Drought.


IPM Youtube Channel

Do you like to watch and learn?  Here's a fun way to learn more about pests with the Integrated Pest Management channel on Youtube.

Bug Squad Blog
  • This earwig was beneath a garden sculpture in a Vacaville garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
    Ode to an Earwig

    A winter pollinator garden does not buzz with bees; it crawls with earwigs, ants, roly-polys, and other insects.   Turn over a rock, a pot, or a garden sculpture and there they are. Well, there one was. An earwig looked up as we lifted a...

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey
    Author - Communications specialist