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Don’t panic if you spy a small, mouse-like creature in your garden-chances are good that it is harmless. If it has a long, pointed muzzle and tiny eyes, it may not be a true rodent at all but a helpful, insect-eating shrew. 

Peter Rabbit of storybook fame was typical.  Rabbits are dauntless and will eat just about anything that grows in the garden, including beans, carrots, lettuce, peas, the tender shoots of ornamentals, and even the bark of apple trees.

Mice may browse your ornamental plants for edibles or go straight for seed packets, bulbs, and birdseed stored in the shed.

Whether you call them groundhogs or woodchucks, these large rodents are the gardener’s nemesis.

Gophers are bothersome rodents across North America and serious pests in the western two-thirds of the continent.

While mostly harmless to the home gardener, chipmunks are known to feed on newly seeded garden beds. They can be a nuisance in rock gardens as well, where they burrow and disturb both rocks and your plants. The primary tactic for getting rid of Chips and Dales is to eliminate the place where…

Birds like lots of the same foods we grow for ourselves, and they don’t have the good manners to leave some for others. Tactics from row covers to scarecrows can thwart winged raiders, and you can also plant a few taste treats to lure them away from crops you want to keep yourself.

Many gardeners go years without having raids on their gardens by four-legged pests, but for others, deer or rabbits are daily challenges. Most of us enjoy seeing occasional glimpses of wildlife-if it is not ruining our plants.

Today we will discuss knowing your enemies. Tiny whitefly adults-about 1/16 inch long-resemble moths with white, powdery wings. Shake a suspect plant. If a white cloud rises, the plant has whiteflies.

A chill is in the air, frost dresses the ground with a crystal white blanket handwoven by Old Man Winter himself, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is fast approaching, and ultimately, we prepare ourselves to wave goodbye to the old year while embracing the new.

When working around tall grass or densely planted trees, take precautions against ticks.

Let us go after those slimy little critters; the little culprits that you find on leaves filled with holes that have clean edges, often with a shiny trail of slime left behind, the snail and slug.

Mosquitoes love their breeding ground. Mosquito eggs, larvae, and pupae all need water; only the adult is non-aquatic. If you eliminate all sources of still water near your house, you can reduce the number of young mosquitoes that develop into biting adults.

If your garden is under siege by earwigs-those creepy-looking insects with the sharp pincers on their hindquarters-get rid of them by making your own environmentally friendly traps.

Caterpillars can wreak havoc in the garden. Treat the problem safely and effectively with a bacterial insecticide that specifically targets caterpillars. 

Don’t waste time getting rid of aphids the first time you see them these pests reproduce rapidly. They not only suck the nutrients from plants but can also spread any number of plant viruses, including bean mosaic virus and cucumber mosaic virus. If hundreds of aphids cover stem tips, or the…

In the summer months, people experiencing homelessness may establish encampments within the riparian zone of the Russian River and inadvertently create a significant source of trash entering our waterways.

Pros and cons of ants. Gardeners usually consider ants to be pests and it is true that ants can loosen the soil around young plants, causing them to die. Some species shelter and protect aphids so they can feed on the aphids’ sweet honeydew. On the positive side, ants can improve air circula…

Lots of beneficial bugs and birds eat problem insects. Attract the good guys and you will reduce problems with the bad ones.

Crawling, flying, swimming and most definitely gnawing-there are literally thousands of types of leaf-eating bugs, beetles and root-chewing grubs that may infest your yard, lawn, and garden. But with some home remedies and natural repellents, you can usually take care of that pesky problem. …

One of a gardener’s greatest accomplishments is to grow sun-sweetened fruits such as nice red apples or juicy berries.

September marks several dedicated efforts throughout California that signify the importance of clean water and promote cleanups of local waterways. Pollution Prevention Week, Creek Week, and California’s Coastal Cleanup Day all coincide in the third week of September to encourage public part…

If you have enough space, consider setting aside part of your garden for vegetables that will come back year after year. Incorporate them into parts of your yard where you grow shrubs or fruits, and you can harvest good things to eat without replanting each year.

No garden is pest free, but a well-tended garden contains a balance of beneficial predators and healthy, resistant plants along with a tolerable number of undesirable insects and other pests. Use pesticides only if an infestation is causing damage and cannot be otherwise controlled. Start wi…

Wasps comprise a large family of insects that includes hornets and yellow jackets. All are fierce predators of many common garden pests. Some members of the family, unfortunately, also damage fruit and deliver painful stings.

Among the 3,000 species of ladybugs, the type most familiar to gardeners is the one with a black-spotted orange back. But ladybugs can also be black or yellow, with or without white, red, or yellow spots. Two of the most common are the intriguingly named twice-stabbed ladybug and the converg…

The great pollinators. Bees are essential in any garden. In their search for nectar and pollen, they carry pollen from flower to flower, facilitating fertilization in many edible and ornamental plants.

Pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, are chemicals used to kill or deter pests. Pesticides are often used in and around our homes, schools, and businesses. Did you know that these pesticides can make their way into our water supply? Not only can the chemicals be ab…

Let’s discuss biological controls. What are they: Any biologically derived agents that help control garden pests. For example, some insects, called beneficials, feed on destructive bugs: Ladybugs eat aphids, green lacewings prey on a wide range of undesirable insects and praying mantises eat…

Spider minuscule mites are called two-spotted spider mites, red mites and simply spider mites and they attack fruit trees, shrubs, houseplants, and greenhouse plants.

No matter how much tender loving care goes into your garden, you will have to contend with outrageous insects, annoying pets, and wildlife that come from far and wide to nibble at your buffet. Every gardener must deal with weeds and there is no avoiding other adversities presented by Mother …

Tiny whitefly adults-about 1/16 inch long resembling moths with white powdery wings. Shake a suspect plant. If a white cloud rises, the plant has whiteflies.

Did you know that most residential landscapes are regularly over-watered by as much as 30-40%? When using water for irrigation, it is not only economical to use only what your garden needs, but it conserves water for other uses during our long, dry summers. If left unchecked, wasteful irriga…

Today we will discuss ticks on humans. With the hot and dry season, ticks are found every where especially around tall grass and trees.

Three hot and dry years have put us in the ‘save water’ zone. But to gardeners and residents with lush green lawns, it pains us to see the lawns and ornamental flower gardens drying out and lawns looking unkept.

Tiny whitefly adults-about 1/16 inch long resembling moths with white powdery wings. Shake a suspect plant. If a white cloud rises, the plant has whiteflies.

As we enter our third consecutive dry summer and water storage levels are well below average it is important to use water wisely. You may want to consider prioritizing water use in your landscape by letting your lawn go dry and instead focus on deep and infrequent watering of your trees. Gra…

Today we will discuss ticks on humans. With the hot and dry season, ticks are found every where especially around tall grass and trees.

Slugs and snails: These little critters are the culprits if you find leaves filled with holes that have clean edges, often with a shiny trail of slime left behind.

The adult moths that gather around lights on summer evenings are not gardeners’ enemies, because they seldom feed on plants. It is the moth larvae that chew on, bore into, and roll themselves up in plants-whether leaver, fruits, stems, or roots. The larvae which are called caterpillars or wo…

Mosquito eggs, larvae, and pupae all need water; only the adult is non-aquatic. If you eliminate all sources of still water near your house, you can reduce the number of young mosquitoes that develop into biting adults.

Did you know there are natural controls for Japanese beetles?

This week let us frustrate cutworms with toothpicks. Cut worms kill your seedlings by encircling and severing the stems. Stick a toothpick in the soil about ¼ inch from each stem to prevent cutworms from encircling it.

Caterpillars can wreak havoc in the garden. Treat the problem safely and effectively with a bacterial insecticide that specifically targets caterpillars such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).  Harmless to animals, humans and most other insects, Bt controls cabbage worms and loopers, hornworms,…