REC AO Blog
Found in shady areas of oak woodlands and other forest vegetation types in all counties of California outside of the extreme high elevations of the Sierras, the dry deserts in the south, and the Central Valley, you can now find California Indian Pink (Silene californica Durand) blooming throughout. This relative of the ornamental carnation is in the "Pink" plant family Caryophyllaceae, and has "pink" in its common name, but is otherwise not pink in color, but rather crimson or scarlet red in color. Another common name for this perennial plant species is California Scarlet Campion and is sometimes referred to as "fringed" because of its cleft petals. The genus name Silene is probably derived from the Greek name Silenus who according to Greek mythology was the intoxicated foster father of the Greek god Bacchus and was described as covered with foam ... perhaps alluding to the viscid sticky secretion covering many of the plant parts of the species in this genus. This sticky secretion traps many small insects.
Currently, a show of pink adorns a small area of the upper elevations of the UC-Hopland Research & Extension Center. During a past era of chaparral-brushland conversion to seasonal rangeland pasture, which took place from the late 1950s to early 1970s, a showy ornamental shrub was planted as part of a research project that was looking for adaptable, drought tolerant plants. Rock-rose (Cistus creticus L.) was one of those introduced plants, and it has persisted for over three decades, gradually spreading and increasing in coverage. It is still within the confines of a 100-foot diameter circle ... so the rate of spread (at this location) is extremely slow. This plant species, which is actually native to southern Europe, is now common along the central coast and south coast of California, especially in the south coast coastal brushlands. Rock-rose is also a common drought-tolerant ornamental with several cultivars for the nursery trade.
Dr. William Cheung is conducting tests at Lindcove REC to profile the response of a Washington navel orange tree infected with citrus tristeza virus (CTV) compared to an uninfected tree. A mobile sensor employing differential mobility spectrometry (DMS)...
Aerial spraying of any sort has become a "thing of the past" in Mendocino County. Control of woody broadleaved trees on private timber lands and aerial applications on pear orchards and vineyards have not occurred in many years. Twin Cities Aviation, out of Yuba City, was able to safely and efficiently "attack" problem areas of Yellow Star Thistle that are scattered on the UC-Hopland Research & Extension Center with a broadleaf-selective herbicide called "Milestone". Fifty acres was addressed in a two hour period using light loads (50 gallons of tank mix) and the "dexterity" of a small helicopter with an experienced pilot. Here you see the "tank mix rig" which allows the pilot to land the chopper on top of the trailer for ease of tank mixing. The operation was observed by the Mendocino County Agriculture Commissioner's representative.
To continue from yesterday's BLOG post, mosquitofish are among the most common aquatic invasive species in the Western United States. Native east of the Rocky Mountains, mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis and Gambusia Holbrooki) have been introduced to every continent except Antartica. Their widespread introduction has resulted from their use as biological control agents of larval mosquitos which transmit human pathogens. Mosquitofish are successful invaders because they are livebearing, can reach sexual maturity in only 18 days and are able to survive a wide range of environmental conditions. Our UC-HoplandREC study involves introducing mosquitofish to one-half of a barrier-divided wetland (see photo) containing native species. Our aim is to understand how they influence native wetland communities of invertebrates and amphibians. While mosquitofish may be useful for controlling mosquitos, we suspect they have unintended effects on native aquatic species, which should be considered before they are released into water bodies in northern California (and elsewhere). Author - Dan Preston