Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pomegranate Trees and Pests

Pomegranates are good choices for drought tolerant gardens. They can take regular garden watering, but will grow in drought conditions once established.

These deciduous trees can grow up to 20 feet tall and across, forming a large round shrub. They can also be trimmed and formed into multi-trunk trees.

But sometimes there can be trouble in paradise.......

The Pomegranate Mystery Pest

pomegranite pestYUCK!

What is this bug?

How can I get rid of it?

I'm starting this blog entry and a page on my regular site to collect information about it, and how to get rid of it!

I believe this is called the leaf-footed plant bug. I am told it is rare in California, but you wouldn't know that by looking at my tree! This pest bores holes into the ripening pomegranate fruits. The fruits get brown spoiled spots on them and eventually fall to the ground in a pile of rotting fruit.

Last year when the pomegranates were all gone, they moved to my Navel Orange tree. The oranges seemed to develop thicker skins where the bugs tried to drill into them. I have not seen damage on the oranges - yet.

Please join me on my quest for information on controlling this evil garden pest!

Plant Profile: Ethereal White Sage Blooms Add Grace to Southern California

California White Sage (Salvia apiana)

This beautiful shrub is native to Southern California and Baja. It is usually found growing wild in the coastal sage scrub habitat on the western edges of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. The books say it will grows five feet tall (at least) and 5 feet across, but I have seen larger specimens.

The plant in the photo growing in my garden since I am lucky enough to live near the famed Theodore Payne Foundation and Native Plant Nursery. White Sage is also called Bee Sage because bees love it.

When the flowers are at their peak my whole plant is usually buzzing with happy bees. The bees are so focused on their work they don't mind the dog running around or me intruding with the camera. The small flowers on all sage plants also make them a favorite of tiny beneficial insects. The leaves are up to 4 inches long, thick and velvety and are slightly sticky. The whole plant is very aromatic so you should find a spot in your garden where you can enjoy its fragrance.

The silvery plant seems to glow in the moonlight. The flowers are white, sometimes tinted purple and are produced in whorls on long branches up to three feet long.

White sage is considered sacred by Native Americans, like the Chumash, in the southwestern United States. The Peterson Field Guide To Western Medicinal Plants And Herbs describes it thus: "Considered an expectorant; used for colds, coughs, sore throats and systemic poison oak rashes. An important ceremonial plant among southwestern Indian groups. The herb was burned as a fumigant after an illness in the dwelling".

These shrubs make a nice addition to the back of the border. Their light grey leaf color really glows in the moonlight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Acacia Tree Changes Attire From Yellow Flowers To Golden Seed Pods

Here's a follow up on the Blooming Acacia Tree posts.

It has now developed seed pods which dried fairly quickly. We've been having a heat wave so summer is off to a crackling start here in So Cal.

The seed pods are about 2 or 3 inches long and have bumps over the seeds.

They turn a deep golden brown color. They make a pretty contrast against the light green leaves and the golden yellow branches.

Little flocks of sparrows show up when the seeds are just right and cover the tree chirping and shaking branches then disappear in an instant.

Squirrels seem to like these too. And there is now a carpet of deep gold pod shells on the path under the tree.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blooming Purple And Blue Jacaranda Trees Bloom In Los Angeles

Here's a pretty picture from Los Angeles for you.

I originally posted on my LA blog, but they are such pretty trees I thought you might like to see them too.

The jacaranda trees are blooming now, the skyline is turning blue and purple.

Jacarandas are native to south America but have become popular in California.

They grow up to 40 feet tall and almost was wide in areas with little or no frost.

In spring they are covered in giant clusters of blooms in blue to deep purple.

Jacaranda lose most of their foliage in winter so the entire tree seems to be purple. They will eventually form giant seed pods.


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