Pear Trellis Rust

With the seasons slowing, there’s time to review the pests of this year, and make some mental notes for spring. Julia Turney, MG Class of 2004 and one of our Diagnostic Clinic coordinators, tells us about one annoying visitor to her garden.

Rust on upper leaf.

Rust on upper leaf.

A plant problem that didn’t come into the Diagnostic Clinic this year but did show up on my Orcas pear is Pear Trellis Rust or Pacific Coast Pear Rust. It was first noticeable as orange spots on the upper leaf surface. Later in the summer the opposite lower leaf surface grew raised bumps called aecia. The sides of the aecia are finely divided, giving a trellis-like appearance. There were 20 or so leaves on the the tree with spots and the fruit didn’t seem to be affected.

The Pacific Northwest Disease Handbook identified junipers as the alternate host for the disease. This fungus first appeared in Bellingham in 1997 and has since been found in many areas of Western Washington. Coincidentally, my neighbors new landscaping includes junipers.
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Diagnostic Clinics 2014 Year End Wrap-up

by Julia Turney, MG Class of 2004, and Kate Yturri, MG Class of 2013

Vintage Microscope 2Another successful Diagnostic Clinic season has drawn to a close. A big thank-you to all of the Master Gardeners who participated in the Diagnostic Clinic this year! Ervine Munroe, Kate Yturri and Julia Turney coordinated the clinic; Sandy Johnson and Diana Brooks logged in samples and made sure our records were in good order. Special thanks to Kris Bayas for clinic support. New tasks we completed to help the clinic work efficiently were setting up the book reference list, creating written procedures for equipment set-up, and a schedule of educational talks. The written procedures have made clinic setup run smoothly and allow anyone to step in and help.
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A Quick Note on Fall Webworm

from Kris Bayas, Volunteer Coordinator, WSU Extension-San Juan County

We have received several calls about webbing in trees. This is fall webworm, and you can tell the difference between the fall webworm and the tent caterpillar by the way the fall webworm encloses itself in the nest.

Since these caterpillars are feeding on foliage that is just going to drop off soon anyway, we seldom recommend anything other than pruning off infested branches or physically removing the webs/nests.
For information, see the WSU HortSense entry.

Fall webworm can also be an orchard pest. There is a great page on the subject at WSU’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center.

            Fall Webworm wiki  Fall Webworm nest gardeningknowhow

Photos Credits: Webworm photo from Wikimedia Commons;
Nest photo from

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Slugs, But Were Afraid to — well, o.k., maybe you didn’t really want to know this much about slugs…

by D.A. Salazar, MG Class of 2009

drawing of a slugWe master gardeners get a lot of questions about slugs. Mostly along the lines of “Yuck! Gross!” — which, granted, are not actually questions, but do convey a certain puzzlement about these particular molluscs.

Since they’re such an unavoidable part of our gardening lives, maybe it’s worth knowing a little more about them. Here, then, for your edification a brief general overview of the biology and habits of slugs, and the top WSU-approved recommendations for dealing with them in the home garden.
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The Myth of Well-Behaved Ornamentals

by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor,
Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University

happy-flowers-day - CopyThe Myth: “Garden plants do not become invasive.”
We’re all familiar with weeds in our landscapes: Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed), Equisetum arvense (horsetail), Taraxacum officinale (dandelion), and Cirsium arvense and C. vulgare (Canadian and bull thistle) are but a few of the weeds we battle in Pacific Northwest gardens. Larger herbaceous and woody perennials such as Hedera helix (English ivy), Ulex europaeus (gorse), Cytisus scoparius (Scots broom), Rubus discolor (Himalayan blackberry), and Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) are ubiquitous in parks and along roadsides. These species have cost countless hours of labor and gallons of herbicide in our quest to restore impacted landscapes to a more natural and diverse state.
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Fungus & Cankers & Mites, Oh My! Diagnostic Clinics Begin April 17.

from Your Diagnostic Clinic Team

Vintage Microscope 1Hello Master Gardeners!

The 2014 Plant Diagnostic Clinics have been scheduled, and we have a couple of updates and a great opportunity to announce. This year’s clinic will be organized by Ervine Munroe with the assistance of Kate Yturri, Julia Turney and Kristie Jacobs. We will be alternating the meeting coordination between Ervine, Kate and Julia.

The first meeting will be Thursday, April 17, 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is a general orientation meeting for all Master Gardeners. If you haven’t had a chance to come to the clinics in the past, this is a great opportunity for everyone to learn how the clinics are organized, the equipment and references resources available for plant problem diagnosis, and to meet your fellow master gardeners from around the County. From May 1st through September 25th we’ll be meeting the first and third Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Extension Community room in Friday Harbor.

These clinics benefit our County community and are fun! It is definitely a fun half-day excursion to Friday Harbor from Lopez, Orcas and Shaw Islands. The clinics have the additional benefit of sharpening our skills and giving us more confidence answering questions from the public at our farmers markets. Don’t hesitate — join the group and please come to the orientation meeting to learn more about the clinics. But don’t worry if you can’t make it — there is plenty of help at every meeting if you’re new to the clinics.

Keep track of clinic dates on our Calendar page. All San Juan County Master Gardeners and MG Interns are welcome! If you have any questions, contact Ervine Munroe at jcemunroe @ rockisland dot com.

The  most interesting stuff comes up when you google "high school science class"...

P.S.: Y’know, the most interesting stuff comes up when you google the phrase “science class”…