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» February 18, 2009 «
Thus far the strong winds have done little damage to California almond trees. The trees are shallow rooted, but as they have not yet leafed out, the wind just went through the branches. The ground was wet and a few trees were uprooted, but not many. The trees are close to blossom time, and some in Kern County have already flowered. The sunny weather predicted for the rest of the week may bring more trees to bloom. However, farmers are concerned about what the predicted rain and wind this coming weekend might do.
Scientists are releasing thousands of small brown wasps that are a natural enemy of the olive fruit fly. The invasive pest was first found in California in 1998 and now infests all the state's olive-growing regions. The wasps destroy the olive fruit fly larvae. They are harmless to people, pets and plants and appear more effective than some other natural enemies of the olive fruit fly.
Even with the weekend storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is only 70 percent of average. The California Department of Water Resources projects a runoff this spring of 57 percent of average. The dry January has created a void that will be difficult to fill in the coming months. Meteorologists say the storms projected to arrive in the state this weekend are not looking as productive as they did a few days ago. Reservoirs remain low, at about 47 percent capacity.
Garlic has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries, and now scientists are learning how it works. A British research team has gained insight into how allicin, an organic compound that gives garlic its aroma and flavor, stops the damaging effects of free radicals. The researchers said they didn't understand how garlic could be such an efficient antioxidant. California farmers grow 87 percent of the U.S. garlic crop.Top