Science based solutions for Colusa County's gardening communities.
The UCCE Master Gardeners of Colusa County volunteer's donated 705 hours and made 736 face to face contacts in 2018/19.
Since 2009, we have volunteered 6,475 hours and made 12,154 face to face contacts in Colusa County.
This is what we do!
December in the Garden
* Shop: Plants and seeds make awesome holiday, hostess and mystery gifts
Living Christmas trees
Bare-root fruit and landscape trees
Adjust your irrigation
Protect citrus and other sensitive plants
Apply dormant spray
Add mulch to beds
Throw out fallen rose leaves
Catalogs are arriving to get you excited about what to plant next year. You might want to consider removing some lawn area and creating a new planting bed to make room for all the new plants in the catalogs.
Información de Jardinería en Español
Preparing for a frost
Before a frost
- Identify cold spots in the landscape by monitoring with thermometers
- Identify plants at risk: citrus, succulents, tender perennials, tropical and subtropical plants.
- Have supplies ready: sheets, blankets or frost cloths, lights, wraps for trunks, thermometers, stakes or framework to hold covers off foliage. Frost cloths come in different weights that can provide 4 to 8 degrees of protection. Because the frost cloth allows some light and air to penetrate, it can stay on plants for a few days at a time. Frost cloth can lie directly on plant foliage.
- Prepare tender plants: avoid fertilizing and pruning after August to minimize tender new growth.
- Rake away mulch to allow soil to warm up during the day and radiate heat into the plant at night.
- MONITOR weather forecasts and note how low temperatures will be and for how long.
o Local frost: clear, dry nights, usually warms during the day.
o Hard freeze: temperature inversion or Arctic front, can last for days or weeks, are very damaging.
When a frost is forecast
- Move plants to a warmer spot next to the house or under a patio cover, especially on the south side.
- Check that plants are well watered because dry plants are more susceptible to damage, and moist soil retains heat better than dry soil.
- Cover plants before sunset to capture ground heat radiating upward at night. Remove sheets, blankets and other covers daily if it is sunny and above freezing to allow soil to absorb heat.
- Add heat by using outdoor lights: hand 100 watt drop lights or holiday string lights to interior of plant. Use the old C7 or C9 large bulbs, not new LED lights which do not give off heat. Old style holiday lights that give off heat can provide up to 3 degrees of protection. Use lights, extension cords, and multi-outlets or power strips that are rated for outdoor use and grounded (3-prong). Avoid connecting together more than three light springs in a line.
- Wrap trunks of tender trees if a hard freeze is expected, using towels, blankets, rags, or pipe insulation. Also wrap exposed pipes the same way.
- Harvest ripe citrus fruit. Generally both green and ripe fruit are damaged below 30 degrees, but there is some variation by species.
For more information, click here to visit the UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County page on frost protection.
Thank you, UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties for the information.
Create drought resistant soil
- By incorporating 2-4 inches of compost into the soil you will increase the water holding capacity of the soil.
- Topdressing compost around plants will reduce water needs but not up to the plant base. Space @ the base.
- Mulch all exposed soil to reduce evaporation with bark, leaf litter or rocks
- Reduced water usage
Grow California or Mediterranean natives
Check out the UC Arboretum All-Stars
- Plants thrive with little irrigation
- Planting in the fall allows the roots to grow without competition
- Irrigate until established
- Minimize high water use ornamentals
- Reduce watering
- Reduce trimming
- Reduce fertilizing
- Reduce spraying
Minimize the Lawn
- The use of native groundcovers, grasses, shrubs and trees make an eye catching garden
- Reduce the size of the lawn and plant Tall fescue. It is a cool season grass that does well in summer. Most cool season grasses need a lot of water to look good
- Avoid slopes, plant a ground cover instead of lawn
- Conserve water
- Conserve energy
- Conserve labor
- By grouping plants together by water and light needs plants tend to be healthy
- When you group your plants together by water and light needs then you can properly water each micro-climate
- Use California natives
- Healthy plants
- Conserve water
- Less pruning
- Remember to change your irrigation timer seasonally. Monthly adjustments are encouraged
- Use an automatic controller on your irrigation system
- Use drip for your flower and shrub beds
- Replace old sprinkler heads with high efficient ones. If your system is over 10 years old check out the new sprinkler heads at your local garden center
- Use multiple run times if you have a lot of run-off before the timer shuts off. For example; you should irrigate every other day for 20 minutes but after 15 minutes the water is running off the lawn. Instead run the system for 10 minutes, wait 1 hour and run for another 10 minutes. This works especially well on slopes.
- Limit evaporation and run-off
- Limit disease
- Limit weeds
Irrigate according to the season
- Know your watering needs
- Adjust watering to the season, use chart in Lawn Watering brochure
- Water early
- Water slowly
- Water deeply
- Appropriate watering slows plant growth
- Promotes plant health
- Reduces pruning and mowing
- It is estimated that overwatering causes 85% of all landscape problems
Make every Drop Count
- Water wisely and slowly.
- Mulch is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to save water
- Repair leaks and broken sprinklers
- Reduce overspray areas
- Adjust the system frequently to the season
- Mulching exposed soil reduces evaporation.
- Prevent urban drool
- Conserve water
- Save money
- Urban landscape water use can be reduced by 50%
Water Trees First
Our trees are the most important garden asset. They provide shade, clean the air, provide habitat for wildlife, they are beautiful and increase your property value.
A new way of irrigating trees have been developed by the University of California. As you see in the picture you will circle the tree with a drip line or soaker hose to the edge of the canopy. You can purchase supplies at your local garden center or hardware store.
To get the deep watering need for trees, you will need to run the drip line for several hours but only irrigate every 2-4 weeks. The water needs to penetrate the soil about 2-3 feed deep.
For more information from the California Center for Urban Horticulture, click here.
Vegetable Planting Guide
Need help identifying insects and how to get rid of them? The UC IPM (Integrated Pest Management) has answers!
UC Master Gardeners of Colusa County
The University of California Master Gardener Program provides the public with UC research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscape and pest management practices. The program is administered by local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) county offices that are the principal outreach and public service arms of the University’s division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The UC Master Gardener program supports sustainable gardening practices that protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and take into consideration each gardener's lifestyle and goals.
What do UC Master Gardeners do?
UC Master Gardeners are trained to help residents of California become better gardeners. Using a variety of activities such as workshops, lectures, and garden hotlines these volunteers answer questions about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and integrated pest management using University of California research-based information.
After their training UC Master Gardeners are qualified to help the public with problems in areas such as:
- Weed Control
- Plant Problem Diagnosis
- Integrated Pest Management (insect and pest control)
- Soils, fertilizers and irrigation
- Selecting and caring for fruit and landscape trees
- Growing annuals, perennials and food crops
- Lawn care
- Vegetable Gardening
- Plant Pathology
Each county develops programs to address local needs. Some typical activities are:
- Using mass media to disseminate gardening information
- Teaching workshops, or lecturing on gardening practices
- Participating in research activities with academics within UC
- Answering gardeners’ questions via email or helplines
- Speaking to the public on horticultural and gardening topics
- Manning county fair information booths
- Consulting with gardeners to improve their landscape practices
|Colusa County 4-H Still Exhibits Day||3/4/2023|
Master Gardener Blog
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