The first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth.”
Many groups were advocating for environmental action and policy to address oil spills, air pollution, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife and other issues. A committee chaired by two senators, recruited a young activist to mobilize students nationwide, educating and demonstrating the public on these pressing environmental concerns.
More than 20 million Americans participated; at that time it was 10 percent of the population. Pretty impressive for a campus-based effort. As a result, Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders.
By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.
Two years later, Congress passed the Clean Water Act. A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and, soon after, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (earthday.org).
Many of our Master Gardener projects support, protect and enhance habitats for our native plant, beneficial insect and wildlife species. We also educate the public about resilient gardening and being good stewards of our limited resources.
In his beautiful book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Aldo Leopold wrote, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
In honor of Earth Day, I encourage you to reflect on your relationship with the land. Do you see yourself as part of the Earth community or apart from it?
As a fellow community member, I thank you for your efforts to preserve, protect and regenerate species diversity, one garden at a time. To find out more about Earth Day and how you can participate in their programs focusing on education and science, personal and civic action, and conservation and restoration visit earthday.org.
April also means fruit trees are blooming and we all pray the blossoms and young fruit won’t be hit with a mid-April freeze to dash all our hopes for home-grown fresh fruit, jams, cobblers, pies and butters. If we escape the last freeze, we want to make sure we have the best quality fruit possible and take preventative measures against pests.
In the extension office, the most frequently asked question about fruit trees is: “How do I keep my apples from getting wormy?” Unfortunately, by the time the question is asked, there is little to be done. The worm in question is the larvae of the Codling moth.
Codling moths are not easy to manage. Their development is tied to temperature and they produce several generations per year. The timing of their activity varies from year to year because temperature varies from year to year. Here are a few options for management.
• Do nothing
• Install maggot barriers. These look like panty hose footies. Put on each apple you want to keep worm free when they are only dime to quarter size.
• Hang a pheromone sticky trap out when trees are in full bloom. This may trap out enough of the male moths to provide more worm-free apples than doing nothing.
• Spray (use product with active ingredient Spinosad) about 10 to 14 days after petal fall. Follow the label on the product for application rates and timing. It may take several applications to manage the damage. This method may be more effective some years depending on the temperatures. Other years, the spray times may be out of sync with the moth’s life-cycle.
• Sanitation — remove infested fruit from the tree, look for worm entry points with mounds of reddish brown frass (insect poop). Rake up and remove dropped fruit and deposit in the trash, especially in May and June.
• Hang a pheromone sticky trap when the trees are in full bloom. Monitor it for codling moth daily. Adult moths emerge in mid-April through May around petal bloom and mate after sunset temperatures exceed 62 degrees.
For more information contact the Valencia County Extension Service, [email protected] or 505-565-3002.
Don’t forget free these free gardening classes:
Ready, Set, GROW! at valenciaextension.nmsu.edu/documents/rsg-spring-to-summer-2021.pdf and Sandoval County’s Gardening with the Masters series at sandovalmastergardeners.org/
(Lynda Garvin is the interim county program director and agriculture agent/Extension Master Gardener coordinator for the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service.)