Water. We drink it, cook with it, grow food with it, bathe with it, play in it and suppress fire with it. Although water is essential for life on this planet, it is constantly at risk.
The need to protect and manage watersheds and water resources, along with the natural ecosystems that depend on them, is at the top of the task list for many government agencies, nonprofit organizations and community groups.
The Regional Area Safety Task Force, of which UC Cooperative Extension is a founding and active member, will host a one-day fire summit called Water Resources and Watershed Protection Before and After Fire on May 15 in Diamond Bar, Calif. The event will bring together fire and water experts from the University of California, California Department of Water Resources, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Angeles County Fire Department and other leading agencies to focus on protecting water resources and managing fire risk with a watershed-based planning approach that balances environmental, social and economic needs.
"Some of the most important and urgent issues we need to address now are about changes in fire and water, and as they related to climate change and urban growth," said Sabrina Drill, natural resources advisor in Los Angeles County. "This conference will present a solid scientific foundation to these issues," she added.
When: May 15, 2013 from 8 am to 4 pm
Where: South Coast Air Quality Management District Headquarters at 21865 Copley Drive, Diamond Bar, Calif. 91765
For more information on UC Cooperative Extension's fire programs, visit the Natural Resources website.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
When actress Rene Russo appeared in a video (posted above) about "New Oak Threats," she wasn't acting. The veteran of big-budget thrillers like Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 and the Thomas Crown Affair expressed her personal convictions when she called for Californians to become educated and observant guardians of California oaks.
"I love our beautiful oak trees," Russo said. "But there's a new pest in town, and we could potentially lose every tree that we have. It would change the face of Southern California. It's terrifying."
The actress says the death of 80,000 oak trees in San Diego County since 2008 from goldspotted oak borer is one example of the devastation wreaked by one invasive pest.
"We need your help to save the trees," Russo said.
The video presents the tell-tale signs of two serious threats to oaks - goldspotted oak borers (GSOB), which leave "D" shaped exit holes in the bark, and polyphagous shot hole borers (PSHB), which exit bark from small, black rimmed holes surrounded by wood discoloration.
Goldspotted oak borer, a native of southeastern Arizona, feed beneath the bark of certain oak trees. After several years, the damage to nutrient- and water-conducting tissue kills the tree.
Polyphagous shot hole borer carries a fungus from tree to tree when it burrows in bark to lay eggs. The fungus grows and spreads throughout susceptible trees. Some trees suffer branch die-back, which others are killed outright. The polyphagous shot hole borer is not only a threat to oaks but it can also affect more than 200 other tree species, including native California sycamore, avocado, and many popular street tree species.
"It's really a whole landscape changer," said arborist Rosi Dagit of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. "All of our street trees, our urban landscape trees and all of our wildland trees are at risk. What we really need are eyes on the ground."
In the second half of the video, Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension's natural resource advisor in Los Angeles County, explains what Southern Californians can do to protect trees.
- Visit the website Southern California Oak Pests (http://ucanr.edu/socaloakpests) to learn about the pests.
- Educate your friends, neighbors and community leaders about the pests.
- Don't move firewood in and out of your local area. If you buy firewood, ask where it came from. On camping trips, burn wood you collect or purchase and don't take any home. For more on firewood, see the website www.dontmovefirewood.org.
- Learn what to look for and report your observations on the Southern California oak pests website (http://ucanr.edu/socaloakpests).
- Be an advocate for your trees.
"Hopefully, we can get this done," Russo said. "We've lived with these beautiful oak trees for thousands of years. It would be devastating to lose them."
The video, a joint effort of UC Cooperative Extension and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, was produced, directed and edited by Toby Keeler of Fine Cut Inc.
Donald R. Hodel, a prominent international expert on palms and environmental horticulture, has written two new books: "Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm" and "The Biology and Management of Landscape Palms."
In "The Biology and Management of Landscape Palms" (Britton Fund, Inc. of the International Society of Arboriculture, Western Chapter), Hodel examines palm biology and its implications for managing these plants in the landscape, including disorders, pruning, transplanting, and disease and pest management. Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated back to the Britton Fund to support tree research.
Hodel has been a student of palms for more than 40 years and is considered to be an international authority in palm horticulture and taxonomy. His research focuses on selection, planting and management of woody plants in the landscape with a special emphasis on plant water use, trees and palms.
He is the recipient of the 2010 R.W. Harris Author's Citation award from the International Society of Arboriculture. The award, one of the top three given out by the professional society every year, recognizes authors of outstanding and sustained excellence in the publication of timely information in the field of arboriculture.
Hodel has authored and co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 375 trade or popular articles and six books, including "Exceptional Trees of Los Angeles." He has conducted more than 300 presentations to industry groups, professional and honor societies, university and other governmental agencies, and consumers about various aspects of landscape plant selection and management. Hodel has been an invited presenter at numerous international and national meetings, conferences and symposia.
For information on landscape plant care, visit UC Cooperative Extension's website.
- Author: Rachel A. Surls
UC Cooperative Extension moved into 4800 Cesar Chavez Avenue in July, 2003. Cooperative Extension is housed by the county, and based on administrative necessities, we seem to move every five to 10 years.
This is my third UCCE home since joining the staff in 1988, and it's been my favorite. I love its location in unincorporated East Los Angeles. Many of our programs have been a great match for the needs of the local community.
We made good use of the building. We held gardening workshops on the patio, our annual 4-H Pet Symposium and other community events around the entire perimeter of the building, and many nutrition education workshops in our demonstration kitchen. We got to know the community, and they got to know us.
After nine and a half years, we are moving to a new location. Tomorrow is our last day in the office, before our move to a beautiful new office in Alhambra. It will be a great location, too.
It's hard to say goodbye to 4800 Cesar Chavez Ave and our friends and neighbors in this community. We will continue to serve East Los Angeles, as we do the rest of the county. But we will miss calling it home.
Our new address, as of January 1, 2013:
University of California Cooperative Extension
700 W. Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801
How to select and care for a tree: With a tree, safety is an important consideration. In selecting the right tree for decorating, most people look for a tree that is healthy, free from damage and well trimmed. They generally want a tree that tapers gently to a full bottom with ample number of branches for ornaments.
For a window display, the tree should look good from all sides. For a tree against a wall or in a corner, the tree should have two or three good sides.
Quality trees will be fresh, with pliable needles that are firmly attached to the branches; clean (free of moss, lichen, vines and other foreign matter), healthy with good color; and well trimmed.
To pick out the "perfect" pre-cut tree, decided on the tree that is the right height for your home, with strong limbs and resilient, attached needles. The most common species of fresh-cut trees are the Douglas, balsam and noble firs as well as the Monterey pine. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the cut portion of the treet trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree is dry and a fire hazard.
Before setting the tree in your home, saw about one inch off the bottom and make sure the tree stand holds plenty of water at all times. The average six foot tree needs a stand that holds about a gallon. If there will be a delay in setting up the tree, be sure to store it in a shady location with the tree standing in a bucket of water.
Observing fire-safety precautions is very important. A tree can fill a room with fire and deadly gases very rapidly. Do not place the tree close to a heat source, such as a furnace-forced air outlet or fireplace. The tree will get dry. Also, check light cords for fraying and loose bulbs and connections. Be sure to turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
If properly cared for, new varieties of poinsettias provide several weeks of holiday color. A poinsettia plant require bright light and should be kept away from drafts. A temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Keep it well watered, but do not overwater.
After the bracts (the red petal parts) fade or fall, the plant can be set outdoors if they will receive indirect light and be in 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the plant back to within five inches from the ground and repot in fresh soil. Water sparingly with just enough water to keep the stems from shriveling.
Pinch the new growth back to a get the full-plant look with several stems.
After Labor Day, or when the nights start to cool to about 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the plant indoors. Continue to let it grow in a sunny room with a night temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
A potted plant of blooming chrysanthemum flowers can provide a nice color accent. With proper care, the plant should have a life of four to six weeks indoors. Provide the plant with several hours of bright, indirect sunlight near a window every day. This will maintain growth without premature fading blooms. Water when the soil starts to feel dry to the touch (but not completely dry) and when the pot is noticeably lighter in weight. Also, be sure the plant does not sit in water. Fertilizer is not necessary. Remove dead leaves and faded blooms to keep the plant looking its best.
After flowering, the plant can be moved outside (planted in a garden) where they often flower again in the fall, and at times, in the late spring. In the garden, trim the plant once or twice to keep it from getting leggy and re-trim it after each flowering cycle.
This unique, brightly colored plant needs indirect light and performs well in normal room temperatures. It can last longer when cooler daytime temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit prevail. Keep the soil slightly dry (the plant is very sensitive to too much water). The plant will provide repeated blooms over several weeks or months if growing conditions are satisfactory.
For more information, on environmental horticulture and gardening, please visit UC Cooperative Extension.