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» June 30, 2006 «
An invasive weed known as Japanese dodder has appeared in two more California counties, and agricultural commissioners across the state are being asked to search for it. Commissioners in Contra Costa and Sacramento counties said this week that they had found the weed. Earlier, Japanese dodder had been found in Los Angeles, Shasta and Yuba counties. The weed will eventually kill the plants it invades, and it can attack orchard trees. Thus far it has only been found in urban settings.
It's been a pleasant surprise for California cotton farmers. They say their crops are developing better than expected, after planting delays forced by cool, rainy spring weather. Even though Central Valley farmers planted cotton as much as four weeks later than usual, conditions turned ideal once the rain stopped in April. Observers say the cotton plants are strong and have had to withstand less pest pressure than originally feared.
Unusual weather could bring an unusual pattern for this year's pistachio harvest. The California Pistachio Commission says half of the harvest will likely come from Merced and Madera counties, which have only about a quarter of the trees. The commission says pistachio trees in other regions may be resting this summer after two large crops in a row. Overall, the state's pistachio crop could be nearly 30 percent smaller than last year's.
An invasion of Asian longhorn beetles appears to have been repelled, but state officials say they can't yet declare the pest eradicated. It's been about a year since beetles were found in a warehouse district of Sacramento. No more beetles have been found, but inspectors in Eastern states have learned the insect can bury itself in the bark of trees and be missed by surveyors. The insect can destroy a variety of trees.Top