Green Garden Intern at UC Botanical Garden

Project Leads: Chris Carmichael, Anthony Garza

Sponsor: UC Botanical Garden

TGIF Grant: $3,840

Project Theme: Habitat Restoration

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: This grant will fund a student intern to take a lead in the Integrated Pest Management program and to work with horticultural staff and the compost tea intern to refine and define UCBG's organic fertility regimens. This project is to broaden the scope of the original Compost Tea project.

Goals: Intern will 1) Develop a knowledge-base to become adept at monitoring for pests, diseases, and other biotic and abiotic problems in our plant collection; 2) Learn to translate field observations into recommended remedial actions or management plans; 3) In consultation with Garden Staff, develop and implement specific Integrated Pest Management interventions and protocols; 4) Disseminate knowledge and information about this methodology, including developing trainings for IB 112 and DeCal students, making information available to PP-CS Grounds Operation staff and staff from the Blake Estate, and creating public programs to be offered through the UCBG. Other goals include inoculating soils with beneficial microorganisms, releasing and monitoring beneficial insects for control of various pests and diseases, and experimenting with organic fertility regimens (compost, manure, fish and plant meals) in relation to specific UCBG plantings.

TGIF Blog Posts about UC Botanical Garden

2012-2013 Accomplishments
Goal of Intern: Develop a knowledge base to become adept at monitoring for pests, diseases, and other biotic and abiotic problems in our plant collection.

  • The first intern received hands-on training in the basics of composting, compost tea brewing and field application, recognizing and monitoring for pests and diseases, release of biological controls. A majority of the work focused on applications of compost tea for disease suppression and fertility management using TGIF-funded supplies and equipment.
  • Obvious qualitative results have been observed, particularly in the Rose Garden - the site of past regular doses of synthetic fungicides and fertilizers. The health and vigor of this collection are at or above average compared to earlier conventional horticultural management techniques. Some pest and disease suppression has been noted in the Asian collection as a result of compost tea applications and release of beneficial insects.
  • No synthetic chemicals have been applied during the duration of this project in the garden outdoors- this is the main goal of the Integrated Pest Management System.
  • A new student intern was hired mid-November and also received hand-on training.
  • Intern has been focusing on applying mechanical and cultural controls to deal with thrips (pest). Mechanical controls include cleaning out all dead, leafy materials around the plans where adult thrips would lay eggs. It also includes spraying the plants with a strong, fine stream of water to remove adult thrips from the plants themselves.
  • Intern is also working inside the greenhouses to assist with pest control.
  • The Green Garden intern has been assisting with the release of beneficial insects, including
    • Predatory beetles to help control mealy bug in the Garden and at the Jepson Herbarium plantings in VLSB.
    • Predatory wasps to fight aphids and whitefly in the Garden and at the Jepson Herbarium.
    • Green lacewing larvae for scale control at the Jepson Herbarium.
    • Beneficial bacterium to fight root mealy bug at the Garden.
  • During the whole of 2013, the intern has eliminated the use of potentially harmful synthetic fungicides at the Garden, in both indoor and outdoor plant collections.
    • Also reduced the use and purchase of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Custom compost teas have been created to serve as pesticides, fertilizers, disease suppressors, and insect controllers.
2014 Accomplishments
  • In addition to the total elimination of synthetic fungicides, the Garden has also reduced the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Compost tea and compost “quick extractions” have been used for fertilzer and pesticide, as well as disease suppression. These teas are customized with various additions of organic fertilizers and/or supplemental bacterium used for insect control both indoors and outdoors.
  • In an effort to expand the Integrated Pest Management portion of the program, the student interns have also been involved with:
    • Monitoring for harmful pests and subsequent releases of appropriate beneficial insect controls.
    • Strategic placement of liquid boric acid based ant bait stations. Ants contribute to the spread of several harmful plant pests.
    • Cultural and mechanical control of pests (water blasting, leaf debris cleanup).
Final Report

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.