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Hydrilla eradicated in Shasta County

Occasional good news on the weed front... "SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), working in cooperation with the Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner's office, has eradicated two hydrilla infestations within the...

Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 10:18 AM

New Noxious Weeds?

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Back in 2017, I wrote a brief blog about myrtle spurge being present in Lassen County. Myrtle spurge was evaluated by CDFA and determined to warrant being placed on the A list of noxious weeds here in California. Recently, a local landowner asked me...

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 7:00 AM

UC researchers discover how grapevine red blotch virus diminishes winegrape value

Grapevine red blotch virus, a disease that is dramatically reducing the value of winegrapes in California's premium wine production region, is harming plants by inhibiting photosynthesis in the leaves, according to research published this month in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The new research also showed that infected vines weren't able to conduct water effectively, leaving whatever sugar that was created by photosynthesis stuck in the leaves. The accumulation of sugar in the leaves results in reduced sugar in the berries and lower-quality wine, said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Kaan Kurtural, one of the study authors.

A grapevine with red blotch symptoms. (Photo: Evett Kilmartin)

According to the report, sucrose and its monosaccharides were the vast majority of soluble sugars found in the leaves. The leaf sugar tended to decrease in the ripening process on red blotch negative vines. But this was not the case in red blotch positive vines. As a result, grapevines infected with the virus produce winegrape clusters with reduced sugar content, poor color development and increased acidity.

Kurtural said the research will inform winegrape growers as they consider possible treatments in vineyards with grapevine red blotch-infected vines.

“There are some treatments that are being offered to growers, but now that we better understand the disease, we know they won't help,” Kurtural said. “Growers don't have to replace the infected vineyards immediately. But if 40 percent of vines are infected, they may want to consider replanting. At least now we know what the disease does, so they won't pay for snake oils.”

Grapevine red blotch virus was first discovered in the Oakville Experiment Station, UC Davis' research vineyard in Napa Valley, in 2008. Since then, researchers found the virus in grapevines throughout California and in 11 other states.

For the new research, the scientists compared naturally infected winegrape vines at the Oakville Station on two rootstocks – 110 R and 420 A – with vines grown on those two rootstocks that were not infected. Grape clusters were collected to examine differences in berry weight, titratable acidity, pH and total soluble solids.

“All those characteristics are important for wine quality,” Kurtural said. “Acidity and pH effect palatability and storage potential. Berry weight and soluble solids impact the physical characteristics of the wine.”

The grapevine red blotch virus impact on anthocyanidins and tannins are a still greater concern for winegrape growers as they change the flavor profiles sought in premium wines.

Fall colors in California wine country aren't good news for the industry. Red leaves on grapevines can be a symptom of serious plant diseases, such as grapevine red blotch virus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“High-value winegrapes are sold between $7,000 to $23,000 a ton. If the winegrapes don't have the profiles that wine makers are looking for, they may only be valued between $1,500 to $2,000 per ton,” Kurtural said.

The research was conducted by UC Davis post-doctoral students Johann Martinez-Buscher, Cassandra Plank, Runze Yu and Luca Brillante in collaboration with Kurtural, UCCE viticulture specialist Anita Oberholster, UCCE advisors Monica Cooper and Rhonda Smith and UC Davis Foundation Plant Services academic administrator Maher Al-Rwahnih.

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Americorps NCCC Gold Seven Team Experience Hopland REC

The wonderful NCCC Gold Seven team have been working at HREC for the past 3 weeks, they have been so helpful - all the HREC staff will be so very sad to see them go!  In this blog post we learn a little about the team members and get an overview of the work that they have been involved in, the interviews were conducted by Hannah Wood, the media lead for the team.

As the AmeriCorps NCCC team stationed at the UC ANR Hopland Research and Extension Center, we've had plenty of projects to keep us busy! In the three weeks we've been volunteering here, we've helped repair fence lines previously burnt in the River Fire, were put in charge of some daily barn chores, helped build infrastructure for upcoming research projects, assisted with K-12 educational programs, cleared brush, helped tidy up the place, and sometimes worked closely with the sheep (tagging, paint branding, raising bummer lambs, and giving vaccines).

Although the work was daunting at times, and the weather was never perfect, we were thankful to be working and living on this beautiful property right alongside the welcoming staff and their families. We learned loads of information about California seasons and climates, lambing, the important research projects going on, Northern California ecosystems, wildlife in the area, and wildfire mitigation and recovery. And the baby lambs made our days brighter… even with rainy skies!

I've asked a few of my fellow Corps members some questions about their personal experiences at the UC ANR Hopland Research and Extension Center… and here's what they said!

Q: What was your favorite part of volunteering at HREC?

I enjoyed learning a ton from the very knowledgeable HREC staff. Their welcoming attitude enabled us to get a firsthand experience of what living and working at a research extension center entails. We worked with each and every person on staff and they all showed us the details and unique experiences of their work duties, while also being very open and friendly toward us.

-Jared Gasper: 19 yrs old, from Nebraska


Q: What has made your experience at HREC?

I liked getting insight into the life of a shepherd and seeing the day to day responsibilities of working on a ranch. I also really enjoyed learning about all the research projects! Overall my time here has been extremely educational and useful for developing myself and my interests, specifically when working with the Forest Advisor for Mendocino Lake and Sonoma counties on post fire vegetation plot surveys.

-Dariel Echanis: 18 yrs old, from Vermont


Q: What's it like living at the HREC?

I think we all can say it's been extremely comfortable living and working on the HREC campus. We were very cozy in the dorm house, and enjoyed going for hikes and doing physical training on our off time.. which included beautiful views of course! Hannah Bird made us feel right at home with her caring and immediate attention, giving us fresh lamb meat, welcoming us into her home for dinner, and making sure we were always having new and exciting experiences:)

-Hannah Wood: 22 yrs old, from New York State


Q: What was it like as the Team Leader coordinating daily projects with the staff?

The staff at HREC are all incredibly helpful and organized so I had a really great experience working with them. I never had trouble getting into contact with anyone and every member of the staff was happy to answer questions. The team got to work with a number of staff members who all had diverse bodies of knowledge and we learned a lot from them!  Working at HREC has been a wonderful experience for me and for the team.

-Jessi Hagelshaw: 22 yrs old, from California


Q: What was it like volunteering on the weekends with the Ukiah Animal Shelter?

It was really rewarding! It was good to see that none of the animals we worked with before Christmas break were still there when we returned in January. I'm glad we got a chance to help out and I would love to do more work with animal shelters in the places we'll work at in the future.

-Alex Faeth: 22 yrs old, from New Jersey


Q: How was it working with the K-12th graders that came to HREC to learn about sheep?

Working with the school children was a great experience. The weather was cold and wet a lot of the days we did field trips but the teachers and students were enthusiastic to hike the property, which in turn, energized the staff and volunteers!

-Danny Zoborowski: 24 yrs old, from New York State


Q: Anything you'd like to say to the HREC and Hopland/Ukiah communities?

HREC's hospitality was great. The entire staff was welcoming and helpful, the dorms are nice and cozy, the land is beautiful, and it is a great place to hike... or just roam. Thank you HREC staff!

-Amir Corbett: 20 yrs old, from Pennsylvania



Amir and Alex show the "bummer" or adopted lambs to the K-12 students.

Hard work on the hill!

All the Americorps Gold Seven team worked so hard rain, snow or shine!

Clearing brush, to be prepared for future fire was one of the key tasks that the team helped HREC with.

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 9:40 AM

A Valentine's Day Blog Post: Weeds With Pretty Names (Re-Posted)

Field Bindweed

You just KNOW that some plants are considered weeds. Their common names give them away. They sound awful. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus). Devil's claw (Proboscidea lutea). Smellmelon (Cucumis melo). Itchgrass...

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 10:11 AM

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