CSUN-al discuss pest management methods for home gardens

Brandon Hensley

The CSUN-al Gardening series came to a close Saturday morning as the over 50 attendees learned about pest management for their home gardens.Jerry Turney, a plant pathologist for the L.A. County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, and Brenda Kanno, manager of CSUN’s botanic garden, presented at the CSUN-al Gardening event. “CSUN-al” being wordplay for “seasonal”.The free class tackled integrated pest management, a strategy for using the least toxic chemicals available to control pests in a garden. Turney said using a scorched-earth method for getting rid of pests is unproductive and unhealthy for the plants.

“It’s about identifying insects and then understanding what products are available for those insects and when you need to use those products; a lot of times you don’t need to use products,” said Turney, who teaches classes at the Arboretum and Descanso Gardens.

Turney presented a slide show on how to monitor and identify pests, effectively use less-toxic chemicals and how to properly landscape for specific types of gardens. He showed the class some of the right chemicals to buy and had books on hand on how to care for different fruit trees.

The key word throughout the lecture was control.

“You can try to kill them all, but you’re not going to,” Turney said.  “What you’re doing is controlling them, because you’re never going to eradicate them.”

The content of the lecture made it no surprise that mostly middle-aged couples filled the seats. After all, they’re mostly the ones with homes to garden in, said Kanno.

Kanno said the event that draws the younger people is the spring tomato class, which is held outside in the school’s botanic garden.

Thinking about where to hear about each installment might seem hard at first, but word gets around. Information can be found at www.csun.edu/botanicgarden, and the school sends out press releases which get picked up by local papers.

Roger Ballasteros came from Granada Hills to learn how to treat his pests with alternative means.

“I learned about some of the things that are affecting my plants, like the citrus leaf miter, and (Jerry) answered my question about the grubs in my compost,” he said.

Kanno said he thinks the public appreciates a free class that discusses something that is relevant to them, and practical for their lives.