April Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment. Doug Larson
2018 Spring Garden Market!
Want help starting your summer garden? Visit our Spring Garden Market at our new location : Martial Cottle Park. Choose from a huge variety of  tomato pepper herb , and flower  seedlings, plus an assortment of  succulents . All raised right here in Santa Clara Valley. We grow many varieties not available elsewhere, selected for outstanding taste, beauty, and performance in our soil and climate.

Looking in from the entrance to Martial Cottle Park
Entrance to the Master Gardener area at Martial Cottle Park. Want a closer look? Here's a drone's eye view of our parcel!
Pepper seedlings being grown for Spring Aren Market (Allen Buchinski)
Spring into Summer with Vegetables!
I t’s a great time to start transplants from seed indoors even if the soil is too chilly to seed or transplant summer vegetables outside. While you are waiting for those to be ready, you can still sneak in some cool season greens like bok choy or spinach to make full use of your garden space. See our vegetable planting chart for details.

Photo: Pepper seedlings at Martial Cottle Park
Tree Sunburn Prevention Prevent sunburn or sunscald on bark by applying white interior latex paint diluted 50% with water to young trunks.
Painting Tree Trunks
Trunks and scaffold branches of some trees, particularly young fruit trees, can get sunburned. When this happens, the bark can crack or peel and allow pests and insects to enter the wood. The best way to avoid this is to paint them with white interior latex paint, mixed half and half with water. 

Photo: UC, by Jack Kelly Clark
Sooty mold on  leaves of citrus infested with scale, UC, David Rosen
Sooty Mold on Citrus
That black coating on some of your orange leaves is not a systemic disease of the tree, so don’t reach for the chemicals. It is a mold that grows on “honeydew” which is the sugary excrement of insects like aphids, whiteflies, and scale. Also, ants protect those insects in order to feed on the honeydew. To prevent sooty mold, use a strong jet of water to wash off insects. For ants, spread a sticky substance (such as Tanglefoot) on tape wrapped around the trunk.

Photo: sooty mold on citrus leaves infested with scale, UC, by Jack Kelly Clark
Argentine Ant, Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, A Grower's Guide to Using Less Pesticide Second Edition - by Jack Kelly Clark
Keeping Ants Out
Ants serve a useful function in the garden, aiding in decomposition. Yet they are never welcome indoors! Exclusion and sanitation are the primary strategies for keeping them outdoors. Seal any cracks and other entry points with caulk. And make sure that the kitchen in particular is kept clean and dry, with food well-sealed. Argentine ants are the most common species in our area.

Photo: Argentine Ant, Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide, Second Edition, by Jack Kelly Clark
Photo from UC Davis All Stars website
Native Plants
If you are looking to prepare your yard for future droughts, planting California natives is a good start. They evolved in our area with the same weather, soil, and pollinators. This makes them easy to care for with little or no need for supplemental water or fertilizers once they have a year or so to establish a good root system. The California Native Plant Society website is a good resource for more information. To see native plants in use in gardens in your area, sign up for one or both Going Native Garden Tours, for Northern or Southern Santa Clara County.

Illustration: Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants, from UC Davis All Stars website
There's Still Time to Apply!
If you're interested in learning what it takes to become a Master Gardener, there's more information on our website . Applications are accepted every other year. The deadline to join this year’s process is May 31.
Visit or subscribe to our blog  for longer articles on seasonal topics
Upcoming Events
Mon, Apr 02, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.,  Beginner Gardening: Three-Week Course , FUHSD Adult School, 591 W. Fremont Ave,  Sunnyvale

Sat, Apr 07, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Going Native Garden Tour Northern Santa Clara Cities

Sat, Apr 07, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.,  Growing Vegetables in Containers , Palo Alto Demo Garden, 831 Center Drive,  Palo Alto

Sun, Apr 08, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Going Native Garden Tour Southern Santa Clara Cities

Sun, Apr 08, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Attracting California Native Bees To Your Garden , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose

Sun, Apr 08, 11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  California Native Arboretum Allstars , 1553 Berger Drive,  San Jose

Tue, Apr 10, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Easy to Grow California Native Plants , Gilroy Library, 350 W 6th St,  Gilroy

Sat, Apr 14, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.,  Spring Garden Market - Martial Cottle Park , 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose

Mon, Apr 16, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Flowers and Herbs for your Spring and Summer Garden , Morgan Hill Library, 660 W. Main Ave,  Morgan Hill

Thu, Apr 19, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Learn to Sharpen your Pruning Tools , Rinconada Public Library, 1213 Newell Road,  Palo Alto

Sat, Apr 21, 10:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.,  South County Spring Garden Market , Guglielmo Winery, 1480 East Main Ave,  Morgan Hill

Sat, Apr 21, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Planning and Planting a Cutting Garden , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose

Sat, Apr 21, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.,  Producing Food and Beauty Around Your Home , Berryessa Branch Library, 3355 Noble Ave,  San Jose

Wed, Apr 25, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  Growing Asian Vegetables and Dragon Fruit , Calabazas Branch Library, 1230 S Blaney Ave,  San Jose

Wed, Apr 25, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  The Incredible Edibles: Cucumber, Melons, and Squash , Los Altos Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd.,  Los Altos

Sat, May 05, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.,  Martial Cottle Park Spring Celebration , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant  problem diagnosis tips .
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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