- Author: Cris L. Johnson
The event was sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Flower and Nursery Growers Association and included a barbeque lunch as part of the registration fees.
The workshop was designed to assist greenhouse and nursery growers evaluate their water quality management practices (BMPs) and implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. Information was provided to assist growers in conducting a self-audit of current water quality management practices, developing a farm water quality plan and implementing an IPM program to reduce impacts on water quality.
UC and ANR manuals and resources were used to supplement the presentations. Continuous education credits were also requested for participants.
UC Cooperative Extension Advisor, Julie Newman works to reduce potentially damaging environmental impacts while improving the profits of nursery and greenhouse producers. Luckily, these two goals often go hand in hand.
Greenhouse and nursery crops are big business in Ventura County and Julie’s work helps to provide the science-based research required to further strengthen this industry.
Local ongoing field research includes the development of pest management programs which reduce the use of pesticides and incorporate environmentally-friendly pest management strategies, and the development of crop management systems for growers which utilize less water while protecting the quality of our water for drinking and other beneficial purposes.
UC's Nursery and Floriculture Alliance (UCNFA) joins UC researchers throughout the state, providing a great way for information to be shared. Julie Newman and other UC scientists work together to produce the UCNFA newsletter. The new edition has recently been added to our website and includes the following topics:
- Ecological approaches used in nurseries to treat water
- Drainage channels and vegetated filter strips in nurseries
- Give your potting mix the gentle and clean smell of freshly laundered linens while it repels insects
- Two new pests and soil fumigant label changes
- Light brown apple moth management in nursery stock: Mating disruption control strategy proven useful but incomplete
- How Aussie growers are addressing water issues
- And more!
For those of us who are not growers, the newsletter provides a unique look into the industry that produces these products for us.
UCCE’s Strawberry and Vegetable Advisor, Oleg Daugovish recently held a Strawberry Irrigation Field Day. The workshop was well attended. In fact it was so well attended we ran out of handout materials.
For those who attended but did not receive outreach materials, the new order has arrived. Please contact us to make arrangements to receive your materials.
We know have a great collection of links on our website to connect growers to electronic publications and resources for improving water quality. Compiled by UCCE Environmental Horticulture Advisor Julie Newman the list provides some links specific to strawberry production, while many of the links will be equally beneficial to growers of other commodities.
Please click on the appropriate link for your location.
To protect water resources and comply with increasing regulation, greenhouse managers are wise to make changes to prevent pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and container media from ending up in surface and ground waters. One way to do this is to use vegetated buffers.
Vegetated buffers are areas or strips of land maintained in permanent vegetation to prevent erosion and improve water quality by trapping and treating contaminants. Vegetative buffers can also provide many other benefits such as increasing beneficial insects for biological control of crop pests and protecting streambanks. In addition, they can be used for green waste and secondary crop production.
Some examples include vegetated buffers are bioswales, vegetated filter strips, and constructed wetlands.
- A vegetated bioswale is a stormwater conveyance system that channels stormwater. This type of buffer system improves water quality by reducing flow velocity and increasing sedimentation, filtering pollutants, and allowing infiltration into the underlying soils.
- A filter strip is a band of vegetation that can be used between a greenhouse and a waterbody. The purpose of the filter strip is to slow runoff from the production area and trap sediment, fertilizers, and pesticides before they reach surface water.
- A constructed wetland is an artificial marsh or swamp for treating wastewater, controlling flood waters, and reducing erosion. In greenhouse production, they can be built to further remove pollutants in the effluent from a retention basin.
Although there are different types of vegetative buffer systems, most work in a similar manner. Runoff containing soluble nutrients and pesticides, and sediments with adsorbed pesticides, enters the buffer. Vegetation in the buffer slow surface flow and sediments drop out. Some water infiltrates into the root zone and subsoil, while the remainder becomes lateral subsurface flow. When the roots of buffer plants grow to sufficient depth, they intercept infiltrated water, taking up the soluble nutrients and pesticides. Pesticides adsorbed to soil particles become trapped in the root zone, and high soil organic matter provides conditions for denitrification and pesticide degradation.
Things to consider before constructing a vegetative buffer.
When planning and designing a vegetative buffer, it is best to consult a licensed engineer or the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Buffers need to be designed and constructed to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Plant species that are used in buffers should be selected based on their adaptability and tolerance to site conditions. Check local information sources, such as the NRCS and Cooperative Extension, before making selections. Some points to consider are: cost, growth rate, potential of plant invasiveness if not using native plant species, and the ability to use the buffers for producing secondary crops. Growers who are interested in developing techniques to produce secondary crops in vegetative treatment systems should contact Cooperative Extension and the NRCS for guidance.
Planting should be timed so buffers are established prior to expected runoff. Maintenance of vegetative buffers is necessary to sustain buffer function and effectiveness.
The information above was extracted from a larger document, written by Ventura County Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Julie Newman. Please contact us if you would like to read the original document in its entirety.
Below you will find a summary of what we did last month. By no means does this summary capture all that we accomplished or began, but it gives a nice glimpse of what we do.
1. Research Activities
This is a sampling of the research activity conducted in June.
- Established an experiment testing an herbicide for management of yellow nutsedge, a major weed in production agriculture costing Ventura County growers thousands of dollars annually to control. For more information on nutsedge and its impact, please read previous blog posts.
- Established an experiment testing an organic method of soil disinfestations by creating anaerobic conditions in strawberry beds and monitoring effects on plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae. This research makes direct contributions by addressing the issue of seeking alternatives to fumigants such as methyl bromide.
- Finished four field trials that evaluate management options for four pests detrimental to the strawberry industry. Management strategies included physical, thermal and chemical control measures.
- Initiated a project with CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture and local strawberry growers to introduce a biocontrol agent for Lygus bug, the #1 insect pest for strawberries and significant for other row crops.
- We are continuing research on minimizing irrigation needs for strawberries, which addresses both economic and environmental issues.
2. Educational Activities
This is a sampling of the educational activities conducted in June.
A. Grower/Clientele Education
- Jim Downer presented sessions at a regional meeting on nutrition of palms and diseases of shade trees. 100 in attendance.
- Ben Faber participated in a program at UC Riverside on Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), which poses a significant threat to the citrus industry. It was clear that fruit from affected areas coming into Ventura County packing houses could be a host for the psyllid. Ben spoke to Henry Gonzales about this and as a result the import of lemons from Imperial County (quarantine area) to Ventura for repacking has been restricted to reduce the likelihood of introducing the pest here. Both Faber and Rose Hayden-Smith participated in a meeting that brought packers together with the Ag Commissioner, where they hammered out a solution/agreement.
- Ben Faber delivered two grower workshops, one on avocado irrigation and the other on techniques to reduce surface water contamination.
- Rose Hayden-Smith presented her research on gardening and community development at a City of Minneapolis/IATP event attended by more than 100 people. She also presented a two-hour workshop on Victory Gardens, past and present, to a sold-out audience in Minneapolis. She offered a talk on gardening trends and public policy in Oxnard to an audience of 75. Earlier in the month, she facilitated an Urban Agriculture Symposium for 175 people in Chicago, which generated public policy recommendations for the USDA.
- Monique Myers presented the Ventura County RESTOR Project at the National Marine Educators conference in Monterey.
- Monique Myers organized a focus group for Ventura City/County Planners and city storm water experts addressing low impact development and emergency safety issues.
- 4-H staff trained staff at Pt. Mugu and Port Hueneme Naval Bases in the basics of 4-H program management. Also trained new 4-H club leaders.
B. Youth Education
- Monique Myers directed/facilitated the last of 8 RESTOR teacher/student field trips to Ormond Beach (~70 students per trip). RESTOR is a grant-funded wetlands/ecological restoration program linking teachers and youth with science education and community service opportunities.
- Monique Myers led a RESTOR Project field trip with 28 student essay contest winners and their teachers on the NOAA research vessel Shearwater.
- 4-H held a Science, Engineering and Technology Day at the military base.
- 4-H held events at both military bases kicking off the new 4-H programs there.
- UCCE staff. Launched a UCCE/Farm Advisor blog http://ucanr.org/blogs/venturacountyucce/
- UCCE staff. Produced a new UCCE/Farm Advisor educational brochure.
- Daugovish, Oleg and Maren Mochizuki submitted a paper to HortTechnology detailing the potential for carbon dioxide to be taken up by raspberry plants to boost productivity instead of being released to the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. We hope this method will gain attention as one of the ways to tackle a global issue on a local scale.
- Downer, James and Maren Mochizuki.
- Two manuscripts accepted to HortTechnology.
- Pruning landscape palms
- Diseases of palms.
- Two manuscripts accepted to HortTechnology.
- Downer, James. Landscape Notes – Landscaping Trees. Available at http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/newsletterfiles/Landscape_Notes17660.pdf
- Downer, James: Article on mulches in Western Arborist Magazine.
- Downer, James, Article on a new pest, the Date Bug, in Southwest Trees and Turf Magazine.
- Faber, Ben and Newman, Julie, et al. 2009. Re-evaluation of the roles of honeybees and wind on pollination in avocado. J. of Hort Science and Biotech (84)3:255-260.
- Faber, Ben and Newman, Julie, et al. 2009. Farm Water Quality Planning Project – From Education to Implementation. Statewide Conf., Sacramento April 27-30.
- Faber, Ben. 2009. Cherry Vinegar Fly in Ventura County. VC Farm Bureau Newsletter 41(7): 2-3.
- Hayden-Smith, Rose, et al. Proceedings of the Chicago Urban Agriculture Symposium. Includes policy recommendations for the USDA and other cities relating to urban agriculture. http://www.chicagobotanic.org/wed/index.php
- Myers, Monique, et al. Differences in benthic cover inside and outside marine protected areas on the Great Barrier Reef: influence of protection or disturbance history? was published on-line (in advance of printing) this week in Aquatic Conservation. (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/84503925/issue)
- Newman, Julie. Wrote an article for Greenhouse Management & Production, a national grower magazine
- Monique Myers and Sabrina Drill won an Award of Merit from the 2009 Ecology Awards for their Quagga Mussel manual.