Sunday, April 19, 2015
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 [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://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

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City wants a study of sewer rates

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Art helped sell California’s agriculture

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

 
Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Garamendi hosts conference for women

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Get some advice at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Free gardening advice offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Grad Night tickets on sale online

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
NAMI group offers family support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Forum

 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

By Our View | From Page: B6

Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
Leash your dogs; it’s the law

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

Speak out

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

 
Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Obituaries

Jody Zewe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Herman Timm

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Alice Catherine Micheltorena

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8