You will have to get going a week early but boy, do we have an amazing field trip lined up for May 7th! One of our long-time members is giving us the very great privilege of visiting his over three-quarters of an acre planted with hundreds of densely planted fruit trees. A master propagator, he has created many of these trees himself though he also buys others from local nurseries, just like us regular mortals. An ambitious fruit grower who is always pushing boundaries, he generously shares both his successes and failures, so there is not a soul who will fail to learn something from this trip. There is however one BIG CAVEAT! The property is almost vertical and better suited to mountain goats than yes, us regular mortals. As a result, only the hardiest among you should attempt the visit (and Margaret suggests walking sticks if you have them). Our Program Chair will be live streaming as she did our previous vertical field trip to Aaron Ostrom’s. If you participated in that Zoom, you know Deborah is really good at videoing whereas yours truly (responsible for the last two disasters) is not. So rest assured you will actually see something this time.
Because this is a field trip to a private home it is restricted to active chapter members only. Members will be receiving a newsletter with the address and Zoom links. If you intend to attend in person, could you please let us know? Our host figures he can handle no more than 40 people.
Boy, what an amazing meeting we had this past Saturday. Andrew Schiavone and Jeff Micka of Bartlett Tree Service gave us a jam-packed, info-filled survey of tree care from correct planting (not too high and especially not too low); through best irrigation practices (watering newly planted trees right at the root ball so the water doesn’t run around it and pool underneath; then making sure to expand the watering radius as the tree grows); and pruning (the rule of thirds, the hormonal importance of the branch collar) while making fascinating detours through the underground world of roots and soil plus the cultural sources of most insect problems and disease. (not to ignore a recommended treatment for scale!)
Even those of us who have been growing fruit for years learned a lot. They highly recommended soil samplers to give us an accurate idea of our soil’s structure and moisture; and provided business cards and soil sample bags for anyone who wants to get their soil analyzed by their lab in North Carolina, especially for suspected root rots (this would be about $50). And of course, they are available for consultations and remedial work in your orchards. They can be reached via
BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS
2369 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034
phone (310) 454-2033
For those of you who couldn’t make it to Culver City, I apologize for the poor quality of the Zoom. Our dedicated and selfless facilities chair was home sick as was our Zoom host; while our fearless and innovative program chair had Master Gardener duties to fulfill. This left your humble ottoman trying to juggle all their duties while simultaneously setting up the tripod and attempting to video with low bandwidth. If we are going to continue to Zoom live meetings, we need someone to take over the video job. As it happens, the next two meetings will solely be via Zoom because our speakers are from out of the area. May’s field trip, however, will also be a hybrid. After that, if we cannot find anyone to take on the Zooming responsibilities, we will have to return to live meetings only. Barring another surge, it is so much more fun and informative to come to meetings than sit home in your jammies. Plus, we had cookies!
Yes! At long last, we are having a real-live meeting in Culver City! And to celebrate this return to semi-normalcy, Andrew Schiavone — the manager of the Westside branch of Bartlett Tree Experts — and Jeff Micka — their fruit tree expert — will be speaking to us on the planting and pruning and general care of our trees.
Jeff is a friend and colleague of our revered Tom Del Hotal, whom Tom taught and worked with on fruit tree pruning projects. Andrew started with Mellinger Tree Service as a climber in 2010, and worked closely with Carl Mellinger (who was the previous owner of this branch of Bartlett), to gain insight into Carl’s Shigo-esque and less is best approach to tree care. If you have a specific tree you find problematic, please zip your question or concern to Contact Us and we will pass it on to these kind and knowledgeable gentlemen.
Please note that our beloved MultiPurpose Room has been preempted by Culver City for April 9th, so we will be using the Garden Room which also has a patio, albeit much smaller. The easiest way to access the Garden Room is via the electric-door east of our normal entrance.
Also, your humble chair will try to do a better job of Zooming this meeting than I did our field trip to Deborah’s (hey, it was BRIGHT out there and I couldn’t see my phone screen); but since both our June and August meetings will have to be on Zoom — because the speakers are based in Northern California –, it would be really great to have as many folks as possible show up for Andrew and Jeff.
Until further notice, Culver City still requires masks and proof of vax.
Photo by Árpád Czapp on Unsplash
You have to enter either Wants or Offers into the app to get the Exchange page to generate. And don’t forget to click Update at the bottom of the page after entering your Wants and/or Offers.
Thank you to the members who have already done so. The rest of you, get pruning! With this crazy January weather, my apples are already leafing out…
Photo by Olga Thelavart on Unsplash
With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in LA County, and the fact that Culver City has closed its schools, the odds of our having a traditional scion exchange this year are starting to look slim. Fortunately, Fang has reactivated the Scion Exchange app he built last year so we can start posting our Offers and Wants now. If the rate of hospitalizations and deaths stays the same, we will use the format we did last year. IE folks can drop any OFFERS requested on Saturday February 12th at my driveway (labelled please!) . I will sort them and make them available for pickup by the WANTERS on Sunday February 13th. There is a place on the app to work out these exchanges ahead of time and please do so.
Of course, if COVID miraculously goes into retreat, we can do the exchange of Offers and Wants all in one morning on the outdoor patio of our beloved MutliPurpose Room. We would still need to be masked and respect social distancing.
This year, as was true last year, the Exchange will unfortunately only be open to the West LA Chapter. The link to Fang’s app has been sent to all current members. If you didn’t receive it, please let us know.
Also please stay tuned for updates. Circumstances can change on a daily basis.
Photo by Luke White on Unsplash
As promised, Javier immediately sent us the list of resources he had posted during his talk. The Novavine site lists 20 different varieties, their uses and most appropriate locations.
Visit the UC Davis Olive Center website for a complete list of resources:
Soil survey https://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/soilweb-apps/
Information about soil at your location and other soil resources
UC IPM site https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/olive/
Information on olive pests and diseases and currently registered products for control
Pest Management Guidelines in PDF (2014) http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PDF/PMG/pmgolive.pdf
Information for figuring out what might be causing a problem with your olives
Olive variety information https://www.novavine.com/olives/olive-varieties/
Information about popular olive varieties including notes on growing, disease susceptibility, etc.
Olive tree planting guidelines https://www.novavine.com/olives/planting-olive-trees/
Pickling table olives https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8267.pdf
A complete guide to various methods of curing table olives with food safety guidelines
UCCE Master Gardener program https://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/
Locate your county chapter of the MGs for local gardening support
Javier Fernandez-Salvador is the new director for the UC Davis Olive Center (North America’s leading olive oil institution) and we are very very lucky he has agreed to speak to us.
He came to Davis after 9 years at Oregon State University, including 5 years as Assistant Professor in the Extension Service where he specialized in small fruit and berries and (especially) olives, along with soil and plant nutrition and organic production.
At Davis, his goal is to modernize California table olive orchards while involving undergraduates in the use of the Olive Center’s own olive groves for experiments in olive oil production, super high density planting and different irrigation management techniques, which will become increasingly necessary as California becomes hotter and drier.
Wendy Temple, our adjunct Program Chair, chased Javier down in the hopes of learning what to do with her olives. But I think we will all learn a lot more than that!
Zoom links will arrive in your newsletter. And yes, we had hoped to be back to face to face meetings by now, but Omicron has put a crimp in that particular plan. Stayed tune for future developments around our Scion Exchange and grafting demos, now scheduled for February 12th.
Now that we have all finished the last of our Thanksgiving cranberry sauce harvests (and getting those cans out of our backyard bogs was no picnic), it is high time we begin thinking about our fabulous CRFG-WLA Holiday Party. Yes, thanks to Culver City’s implementation of mask-plus-proof-of-vax rules, we feel comfortable returning to face to face for the very first time in two years!
December 18th is the date, to coincide with our Holiday Plant Sale blowout. Eleven am is the time to start schlepping stuff in though we probably won’t actually sit down until noon. And we will be back in our beloved MultiPurpose Room in the Culver City Memorial Complex. Since this gives us both indoor and outdoor areas, anyone not entirely comfortable eating indoors can easily park their patooties outside (and hey, help with the Plant Sale at the same time)
So put on your best holiday duds… Margaret, break out that flashing light jewelry… cook up some holiday special to share… label and price any plants you’re donating to our plant sale… and get ready to welcome in the winter solstice with a bang. Wahoo!
PS Don’t forget your proof of vax or a negative COVID test within 72 hours. Sofia the Machete will be checking them at the door.
Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash
You can see the mini-site I have built to announce it here. If you have plants you want to add to the amazing list, please let us know. If you have access to any ways of publicizing it (the Patch, etc) please feel free to do so.