Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Squash bugs are likely culprits attacking zucchini

Squash bugs suck the juice out of plants through their needle-like mouthparts. The adults are colorful, more than a half-inch long with the underside trimmed in orange to orange-brown stripes. UC Statewide IPM program/Courtesy photo

Question: Last year, my zucchini plants had yellow specks on the leaves that turned brown and then black as they became crisp and dry. What happened?

Chances are you had squash bugs, Anasa tristis. These insects (true “bugs”) suck the plant juices through their needle-like mouthparts.

Look for the colorful adults, more than half an inch long with the underside trimmed in orange to orange-brown stripes. (You may confuse them with stink bugs, similar in appearance though wider and rounder, that feed on tomatoes and legumes, not cucurbits.)

Sanitation is your best form of prevention. Remove zucchini plants after harvest or as soon as they have passed their prime. Keep your garden free of debris that may be overwintering sites for the bugs.

With spring, the adult bugs fly from their winter sites in search of squash and cucumber plants to feed, mate and lay eggs. From this hatch of eggs, a second generation of bugs will overwinter and produce eggs the following spring.

Adult bugs can be trapped beneath boards placed on the soil in spring. (Another entertaining snack for chickens!) When your plant is growing, look under the leaves for the eggs, in clusters and bronze in color. Remove and destroy these.

Question: I’ve been reading up on composting. Some of the sources talk about keeping a balance between green stuff (good sources of nitrogen, or N) and brown (for carbon, C). What happens to the N in the green plant material (such as green grass clippings) when they become dry and brown? Where does the nitrogen go?

The nitrogen remains in the material even after it turns brown. Drying (and turning brown) delays breakdown a little, but otherwise doesn’t change subsequent availability of the nitrogen from the material after it is returned to the soil or to a compost pile.

Lawn grass clippings are typically N-rich, have a relatively low C:N ratio, and breakdown quickly. By the way, I’d encourage you to leave the clippings on the lawn — that will reduce somewhat the fertilizer N required to keep the lawn looking nice.

If you are collecting clippings from someone else’s lawn, make sure they aren’t using herbicide (which they may do unknowingly with some “weed and feed” preparations.) A friend of the Garden Doctor nearly destroyed her tomato seedlings when she repotted them with homemade compost. After consulting with Yolo County farm adviser Gene Miyao, she concluded that there might have been some toxics in that pile, the likely source being lawn clippings.

The “recipe” for a successful compost pile is intended for gardens where the typical brown stuff is sawdust or autumn leaves. But our California recipe may include avocado peels, coffee grounds and banana peels. These look brown but are excellent sources of nitrogen. So it is good that you are remembering the chemistry behind the recipe.

I’m planning to replace my front lawn with native plants. What options are available to get rid of grass? What about perennial weeds? Should I use herbicide?

Congratulations on replacing your water-hungry lawn with native plants! That’s an excellent choice since most cities are now charging for water use. A great resource for choosing natives is UC Davis Arboretum’s “All-Stars” list, available online and as a printed pamphlet.

The All-Star plants have been chosen for their low maintenance, drought tolerance and attraction for beneficial wildlife. Remember, even drought-resistant natives need water until established in the site, as do all plants.

Once established, the native plants should be relatively pest-free and even attract beneficial insects that attack pests. In contrast, you are replacing a lawn that may have many perennial and annual weeds.

During the coming hot summer months, solarization is an excellent choice for removing a lawn so that when you plant the natives this fall there will be fewer weeds or weed seeds. Visit the UC Davis IPM site at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7453.html for complete guidelines on soil solarization.

Solarizing will work better if you remove existing turf by moistening the lawn and skimming the shovel beneath the grass roots. After you plant your new garden, be alert for perennial weeds that may have survived or reseeded. As perennial weeds reappear, continue to cut at the soil line and eventually the weeds will die from carbohydrate starvation.

Don’t forget to mulch! The Central Park Gardens are a good example of successful weed control by mulch. It benefits from regular applications of bark mulch. You might like to visit and see the meadow there — a little bit of paradise that was once a parking lot.

— Send questions, addressed to the “Garden Doctor,” by email to mgyolo@ucdavis.edu, 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://ceyolo.ucdavis.edu/Gardening_and_Master_Gardening.
Stop by and chat with us on Saturdays at the Davis Farmers Market.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

School district may redevelop downtown site

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

DUI suspected in crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Scots vote to stay in UK

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Storyteller will draw on music, dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free workout class set at library

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis maps available at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Reception benefits endangered gorillas

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Davis hosts its own climate change rally

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Qigong classes available for heart health

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Sick of being the bad guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Project has safety risks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Learn more about Paso Fino

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Educate homeless with dogs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Return to previous plan

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Save the ‘pine cone place’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Affirm our community values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Take Zona and Bama this week

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

 
A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A10

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Taylor Morrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Norcal Land

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Robin Garland

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Dana Hawkins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Marcelo Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Bob Bockwinkel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Juan Ramirez

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

James Hanna

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

First Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24