UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

Latest Statewide Master Gardener News

Winter Care for your Peach and Nectarine Tree

Fruit mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
A successful summer harvest of peaches and nectarines starts in winter. General clean up, pruning, and dormant spraying will help prevent disease and keep your trees in good health.

Remove and destroy all mummified fruit hanging on tree branches or littering the ground. Although they look harmless mummies can harbor spores, fungus, and diseases which can ruin crops. Stop the cycle of infection by removing these mummies and destroying them, not composting them.

Distorted leaves with red blister-like swellings from leaf curl fungus on a peach tree. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
Once the tree is dormant (no leaves) you can prune out any dead, diseased or broken branches. Do not seal or paint pruning cuts, leave them open to the air to heal naturally. Sealing or painting these cuts traps moisture and leads to disease. Once all dead, diseased and broken branches are removed prune up to 50 percent of last year's wood. Pruning your tree produces new growth and opens up the tree to sunlight to produce quality fruit.

Peach branch with approximately 10% of buds at full bloom stage. (Photo credit: Jack Kelly Clark)
To prevent leaf curl (fungus) spray before bud swell, which typically occurs after Feb. 14 or Valentine's Day. Signs of leaf curl are detected on new spring leaves but by then it is too late to control the disease. By planning ahead, you can reduce the likelihood of leaf curl and mitigate its effects on tree growth and fruit production. Some effective fungicide spray materials that are registered for backyard use are bordeaux mixture, fixed copper and chlorothalonil. Always wear proper protective clothing and follow the label when applying any pesticides.

For more information on winter, spring and summer care of your peach and nectarine trees see the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Publication 7261: Peaches and Nectarines: Calendar of Operation for Home Gardeners.

For further assistance contact your local UC Master Gardener Program.


http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/PESTNOTES/pnleafcurl.pdf (Pest note7426)

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 1:16 PM
  • Author: Lauren Snowden

Get Informed! Online continuing education available about the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP)

Leaves with huanglongbing symptoms. Note the yellow areas to one side of the midveins and the dark green areas directly opposite. Source: California Agriculture journal, October - December 2012, Volume 66, Issue 4.
Regardless of where you live in California, it is time to get familiar with the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP).  Since first being found in California in 2008, the Asian citrus psyllid has been spreading throughout California and there are now county-wide quarantines in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura Counties, with portions of Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties also under quarantine.

Continuing Education Opportunity

ACP can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening which currently has no cure and is fatal for citrus trees. UC Master Gardener volunteers are providing ongoing outreach and education of the public concerning ACP and HLB.  This activity is crucial to saving our citrus and must be expanded throughout the state.

Improve your knowledge of citrus integrated pest management (IPM) and what you can do to help save our citrus through the various training materials, websites and an online course developed by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts.

Take the online course for continuing education today.  This self-directed course familiarizes users with the biology and management of ACP and HLB.  At the end of the course, a certificate is provided showing evidence of successful course completion. If asked for a password and login simply enter as a "guest" located under login at the bottom of the screen. This training is available to the public and no login is required. 

Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) adult and nymphs. Source: California Agriculture journal, October - December 2014, Volume 68 number 4.

Online training course:  Asian Citrus Psyllid and the Dreaded Huanglongbing Citrus Disease

It is estimated that 60% of Californians have at least one citrus tree in their yard so HLB could have a devastating effect not only on California agriculture but also on the California residential landscape.  Be part of the prevention effort by staying educated and alert to our local citrus.  Save our citrus!




California Department of Food and Agriculture: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/
University of California ANR: http://ucanr.edu/sites/ACP/
University of California ANR Publication 8205: http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8205.pdf

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 8:52 AM
  • Author: Lauren Snowden

Holiday Season Brings Poisonous Plants into the Home

Amaryllis plants (Hippeastrum sp.) have toxin primarily in the bulb but also the leaves and stem.
During the holiday season many plants, cut flowers and flowering bulbs are used as decoration and given as gifts.  Many of these items can be poisonous to both humans and pets with long-term negative effects to ones health.

Plant poisoning can range from simple rashes and blisters all the way to organ damage and in severe cases death. Be safe this holiday season by being mindful of what plants and flowers you are either giving, receiving or decorating with.  Common holiday plants that pose a toxic risk are; Amaryllis (bulb portion), Chrysanthemums, Holly (berries), Mistletoe (berries and leaves) and Poinsettia. 

Mum plants (Chrysanthemum sp.) have toxic parts above ground.

Seven simple steps can be taken to help minimize the risk that poisonous or toxic plants cause when brought into the home: 

  1. Know what plants you have in your home and the health risks they pose
  2. Place poisonous plants out of reach of children and pets
  3. Teach children not to put any part of a plant in their mouth
  4. Discard plant leaves and flowers in a safe way so that children and pets cannot get to them
  5. Use protective gloves and clothing when handling plants that may be irritating to the skin
  6. Wash your hands after handling plants
  7. Don't garnish food trays or tables with poisonous plants
    Holly plants (Ilex sp.) have toxic berries.

Signs of poisoning range from dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea to stomach cramps.  Some plants cause irritation to the skin, mouth and tongue and immediate burning pain. The signs of poisoning may not appear immediately so if you suspect that someone has been poisoned by a plant, telephone your doctor of the Poison Control Center 1(800)222-1222.

If you are advised to go to an emergency room, take the plant or a part of it with you (take more than a single leaf or berry). Take the label, too, if you have it. The correct name can result in the proper treatment if the plant is poisonous. If the plant is not dangerous, knowing the name can prevent needless treatment and worry.

The entire mistletoe plant (Viscum album) is considered toxic.

To view a list of safe and toxic plants for humans or pets visit: 


UC ANR Safe and Poisonous Plants
California Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 20 Poisonous Plants 



Poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) has toxic white sap.



Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 2:08 PM
  • Author: Lauren Snowden

Conenose or ‘kissing bugs’

Adult western conenose bug, Triatoma protracta.
Although not a new insect to California, conenose or ‘kissing bugs' (Triatoma spp.) have recently received press from CBS Sacramento and other media outlets and we anticipate that questions and samples will be coming in to UCCE offices in response.  These bugs can vector a protozoan, Trypanosoma cruzi, that causes Chagas disease in humans.  The protozoan is transmitted via the bug's feces, rather than through bites.

UC IPM Pest Note Available

In anticipation of questions, we recommend UC Master Gardener volunteers read and bookmark the UC IPM Pests Notes: Conenose Bugs. 

Triatoma rubida

As indicated by UC IPM, there is a low instance of Chagas disease in humans in the U.S.  “Researchers attribute the low incidence of Chagas disease…to poor efficacy of disease transmission by the bugs, infrequent human contact, and inability of the bugs to permanently colonize homes.”

Conenose bugs are in the Reduviidae family, a group of insects known for a sturdy body and large proboscis. Most reduviids are beneficial as insect predators, and include various species of assassin bugs. Conenose bugs are easily confused with other assassin bugs as well as bugs with similar body shapes from other insect families. Conenose bugs prefer sheltered habitat such as indoors, beneath porches, in wood or brush piles, and in outdoor structures such as dog houses and chicken coops.

ID Methods and Resources 

If you receive a call about conenose bugs in your area, alert the caller not to touch the bug with bare hands.  They can bring a sample in a sealed container or take a picture and send it to their local UC Master Gardener Program, UCCE advisor, or county agricultural commissioner for identification.  Information that can be sent to the client include the UC IPM Pest Note on conenose bugs as well as information available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.  The CDC web site also has useful photos to help in identification.

The insects below are NOT kissing bugs:

Adult western corsair bugs (Rasahus thoracicus) and insect predators and have a distinct orange spot on each wing. They do inflict a painful bite to humans, but are not blood-sucking.










Adult spined assassin bug, a predator of other insects.
















Adult squash bug, a plant pest.

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Volunteers Donated 398,150 Hours Last Year ... and More Reappointment Stats!

Reappointment is complete and the statewide office is excited to share reappointment stats for the UC Master Gardener Program.

During fiscal year 2014 –15 the UC Master Gardener Program had 6,055 active volunteers who were dedicated to extending UC research-based home horticulture information to the public. 

County-based programs range in size from 13 to 315 volunteers - but the one thing they all have in common is their passion for horticulture, the desire to learn and willingness to share their knowledge with local communities!  

From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 UC Master Gardener volunteers donated 398,150 volunteer hours and more than 4.6 million volunteer hours have been donated since the program's inception.

If we want to think about this monetarily (and who doesn't?!), the value of this time to UC ANR comes in at more than $10.7 million that's equivalent to 191 full time employees!

Volunteering for their communities is not the only way UC Master Gardeners spend their time. Last year 88,300 continuing education hours were logged as UC Master Gardeners worked to keep themselves informed about new or advanced horticultural topics and trends.

A sincere thank you to our incredible group of volunteers, for sharing your passion and valuable time to the UC Master Gardener Program!

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

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