by Eunice Messner

I will be bringing 'Elixir' scionwood to the next meeting. It may not be as good a time to graft as March or April but I have had success with fairly large caliper rootstock.

I hope you all remember reading about the fabulous moringa or "horseradish" tree from India that has many edible uses - even parts of it can be used for purifying water or for maintaining dental health. I will be bringing some in tree pots to the next meeting. They will be $15. Proceeds to go to our "Green Scene" account.

One of the questions we find difficult to answer is: What fruit trees can be recommended that will produce well near the coast - or at least receive considerable coastal influence? Frank James thinks because coastal areas don't experience frost and have very few take-away hours above 65 degrees,
they get more chill than inland trees. So the 300 to 400 hours of chill for Orange County may apply to the coast only. Inland, this year, our very warm January wiped out most of our previously accumulated hours and we ended up with maybe only 150 to 200 hours of chill. Of course, lack of
heat near the coast poses a different growing problem.

We are updating the lists on our web page on what fruit trees do well in Orange County and so would appreciate input from members who live in the above mentioned growing areas.
Respond by email to or bring your list to me at the next meeting.

I was given a good lead on ground squirrels by USDA's Agricultural Research Dept. and received permission to reprint a very informative article if I listed the commercial company as the source. Copies will be available at the next meeting for those who have ground squirrel problems.
A commercial, organic grower at the Farmer's Market told me he used poisoned oats successfully, so I have been giving it a try. The first two days I used oats from the kitchen as bait, then - using a long handled spoon - I put the poisoned oats deep inside the tunnels under the three concrete aprons on my hillside. They have freeways under there that extend 120' and even beyond into another neighbor's yard. I was told they would remain in their tunnels to die, so I am not worried about another animal eating the carcass. I am extremely careful that none of the poisoned oats bait is exposed to where birds could see it. I have seen no ground squirrels for a couple of weeks and I can definitely smell the odor of a dead animal near their entryways. I will try a high pressure water nozzle to force some of the dirt mounds back under the concrete aprons. I am also using "Fastrac" for rats. It has no secondary effect on any bird or animal that might eat the dead rodent. I place the bait in the middle of a 3"x3' plastic tube. I also bought materials to make two feeding tubes that use a "T" joint in the middle. I cut four 18" pieces for the two bases and used the remainder for the capped, vertical tube. I can use it for rats or squirrels in open areas and put in a 2 or 3 day supply. Home Depot only had the heavy duty black pipe in 10' lengths. I had them cut it in half. The price for two "T's" and caps, plus the 10' pipe came to $25. I think both rats and squirrels are taking the oatmeal bait.


The last part of the blackberry season produced nothing but hard red berries so that was it - out they came!! I will not miss their catclaw thorns and jungle like growth. It took me five days of stoop labor to scrounge out every smidgen of a root and to cut up all those vines into short pieces for the shredder. But, now I have a 3' by 32' bed of glorious zinnias before a winter garden goes in that space. The 'Triple Crown' blackberries were also moved to a colder area. I can only hope they will be a better performer in their new location and this will be the end of my berry problems.