Friday, January 30, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Garden doctor: Mistletoe is a year-round issue

indianmeal mothW

Not all moths eat wool. The Indianmeal moths will lay larvae in anything from food stuffs or bird seeds. Look for tiny holes in plastic bags, and cobwebby material in food boxes, where the moth larvae have chewed their way out and are now flying around your house. Regents, UC/Courtesy photo

Need help?

Master Gardeners will be at the following events:
* 9-11 a.m. Saturday, June 14: Emerson Junior High School Garden, 2121 Calaveras Ave.: Hands-on workshop on sheet mulching
* 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 15: Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., Davis: Water-wise workshop
* 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays: Davis Farmers’ Markets, Central Park

Question: I have mistletoe growing in my oak tree. How do I get rid of it?
Answer: Mistletoe, Phoradendron spp., is known as a parasitic seed or plant — one that lives off another plant. A broadleaf, perennial plant, mistletoe is usually spread by birds via droppings or their feet and beaks. It also can be spread by tree pruning equipment.

Although it may seem to be everywhere, it can only survive by being dropped at an ideal point of entry: a tree’s bud, leaf base or twig. The seed needs to penetrate the woody branch for nutrients and water in order to germinate, a process that takes about six weeks. Once the green leaves and shoots are established, the plant produces its own nutrients, but it is still dependent upon the host plant for water.

The host tree and mistletoe may coexist for years. In drought conditions or if the tree is weakened by a bacterial or viral infection, the mistletoe becomes a problem by drawing large amounts of water from its host. A few growths of mistletoe on a vigorous tree may cause a portion of a branch to be stunted or die, but the tree won’t die. Numerous outbreaks throughout the tree cause serious stress, leading to premature death through secondary disease or insect infestations.

Pruning is the only way to eradicate mistletoe from a tree, cutting out the infected limbs back to strong healthy wood. Take care that the pruning doesn’t add unnecessary stress. For example, pruning during the summer months may expose the tree to more sunlight and cause sunburn to limbs that once were shaded.

Often, a gardener only notices this parasite when the tree’s leaves drop. The shiny berries contain one seed each surrounded by a gelatinous adhesive substance. Mistletoe blooms from April through December with very inconspicuous flowers among the oval-shaped thick leaves.

The UC Davis IPM website provides good information and diagrams for identifying mistletoe and how to live with it: www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/WEEDS/mistletoes.html.

Question: I’ve got moths! Where are they coming from? I don’t even have that much wool.

Answer: You may be right, but are confused about the kind of moths that are flying around your house (mine have the annoying habit of flying in front of the TV screen).

The moths you are seeing are probably Indianmeal moths, Plodia interpunctella. You will need to search your pantry and other food storage areas carefully. Another likely source is that bag of bird seed you got on sale and haven’t gotten around to putting out for the birds. You will find tiny holes in plastic bags, and cobwebby material in food boxes, where the moth larvae have chewed their way out and are now flying around your house.

A vacuum cleaner is a good way to make sure you have picked up every bit of frass (droppings) and even eggs that might be left behind. Inspect all the food containers, including unopened boxes that may have tiny holes indicating entry points for the larvae.

You can still feed that bird seed to the birds. You probably will want to discard any other food products that have become infested. For more information, go to www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7452.html or pick up a “Quick Tips” on moths next time you come to the Master Gardener table at the Farmers Market. (The moths that attack wool are much smaller. You can also find out about them at the IPM site.)

— Send questions, addressed to the “Garden Doctor,” by email to [email protected], voice mail to 530-666-8737 or regular mail to UCCE Master Gardeners, 70 Cottonwood St., Woodland, CA 95695. Be sure to include your contact information because any questions not answered in the Garden Doctor column will be answered with a phone call or email to you.

You can request the Yolo Gardener newsletter, delivered by email, and learn more about the Master Gardener program in Yolo County at http://ucanr.edu/sites/YCMG.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Suspected Ebola patient being treated at UCD Med Center

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Schools give parents tools to help kids thrive

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Two more cases of measles in Northern California in children

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Dartmouth bans hard liquor

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Free tax preparation service begins Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

    No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    February science fun set at Explorit

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    See wigeons, curlews and meadowlarks at city wetlands

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Time for bed … with Grandma

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Protect root zone to save trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Weigh quality of life, density

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Olive expert joins St. James event

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Mustangs hold off UCD women

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD men set new school D-I era win record

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sharks double up Ducks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    ‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: A9