Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

 Click here for Part I that focuses on how natural insect predators helped fight the ACP pest in Florida

Add plant diversity to your gardens. Also make sure you have flowering plants year-round. Ecologists say these key recommendations will usher in natural predators to our gardens and orchards to combat pests.

These tips can even help ward off the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) that is alarmingly moving into our citrus trees after devastating the citrus in Florida. [Read more…]

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Note: This is a two part article – More info on attracting native predator insects for pests, photos and references  is here

Ken Kupfer is a popular speaker on biological control, which is the use of natural enemies to manage pests and their damage. While his work with organic and sustainable growers finds Kupfer in California nearly half of the year, he resides in Florida. There he personally witnessed the infestation of the Asian citrus psyllid, referred to as ACP. After devastating the Florida citrus industry, the ACP has unfortunately made its way to California.

“In Florida, the [mandated] use of systemic pesticides and foliar pesticides for citrus crops has really saturated the environment and it of course kills 99% of other bugs it comes in contact with”  Ken Kupfer

[Read more…]

Great Hikes: Two Special San Bernardino National Forest Hikes

Great Hikes: Two Special San Bernardino National Forest Hikes

This is one of a dozen favorite hikes in the Inland Empire. Search ‘hikes’ for my others.

To escape our inferno heat in the Inland Empire (inland east of Los Angeles), I like to run to the forest.

Here are highlights from two favorite San Bernardino National Forest hikes — John’s Meadow and the bottom portion of the Vivian Creek Trail — both reward you with beautiful views, running water and a great sampling of the rich ecosystems our So California forest provide.  In spring and early summer this includes numerous butterflies and wildflowers. [Read more…]

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

We’ve had 17 inches of rain in our inland Southern California city this rainy season. That’s a lot for us. Our nearby deserts have received about half that. Along with pleasant temps, this translates into stunning wildflower and cactus flower displays which began in February.

For locals, it’s not too late to go. We drove to Anza-Borrego State Park yesterday. We stopped at several points, walked 50-100 feet from our car, and…. amazing! See below for photos – when I know what it is I identify it…. [Read more…]

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

There are major problems in the land of pruning, according to arborists certified by the internationally recognized organization, the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA).

Many tree pruners remove excessive live parts only to be doing paid work, says San Bernardino certified arborist Paul Chaney.  “This is unethical, and it damages the tree — the customer’s property.  Many large, mature, and valuable trees are being severely damaged [in Southern California] because of ignorant and unethical tree cutters,” Chaney says.

Severely overpruned Washington fan palms – aka ‘rooster-tailing’ Notice the trunk narrowing.

In this article, we will address palm pruning [Read more…]

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Last weekend my husband and I did a Salton Sea tour through the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert, led by College of the Desert professor Kurt Leuschner. For those who don’t know Kurt, he is a birding, wildlife and ecologist extraordinaire. We saw so many birds, and learned so much –including debunked myths about this amazing place.

Below are some photos and takeaways.  [Read more…]

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

If you’re in the market for a tree or shrub, consider California natives —  for a number of reasons.

While we’ve received nearly two inches of rain this fall, Southern California is still in an extreme drought. California native trees are drought tolerant and have the best chance of success once they get established. They attract native beneficial insects and birds. Plus, there’s a surprising variety to choose from.

I contacted local experts from the California Native Plant Society for their favorites. I also tapped Abby and Jason Harned, [Read more…]