2011 Southwest Yard & Garden Archives


  • January 1, 2011
    Prune tree to remove codominant trunk and prevent trunk splitting.
  • January 8, 2011
    Tulip bulbs received as Christmas gifts should be forced or planted (Do not try to save for next fall).


  • February 5, 2011
    Prune lilacs after blooming if light pruning, now for heavy pruning.
  • February 12, 2011
    Mid-winter houseplant problems may be insects, mineral salt accumulation, or other things.
  • February 19, 2011
    An old concrete lily pond with the bottom remove can become a large container garden.


  • March 5, 2011
    Many broad-leaf evergreens were injured by this very cold winter, wait to see if they will regrow.
  • March 12, 2011
    EPA says there is no approved use for creosote in residential settings.
  • March 19, 2011
    Proper houseplant watering compensates for shrinkage of potting soil.
  • March 26, 2011
    Many broadleaf evergreen (including pyracantha) plants were injured by this winter's cold weather. Wait and see if they can produce new growth before removing them.


  • April 2, 2011
    Raised beds are good for gardening, but keeping tree and shrub roots out can be a challenge.
  • April 9, 2011
    There are several reasons that New Mexico soil is too hard to dig into, but a common cause this year is the fact that the soil is dry.
  • April 16, 2011
    Cleaning water with vinegar can damage lawn unless diluted.
  • April 23, 2011
    Late April to early May is a safe time to move houseplants outside in most of New Mexico, but carefully adapt them to the outdoor environment.
  • April 30, 2011
    Check for the green cambium under the bark of Mexican elder trees and other woody plants when pruning them after this winter's cold spell.


  • May 7, 2011
    Mid-winter cold caused damage to roses and other plants, now late spring freezes and drying winds have caused additional damage.
  • May 14, 2011
    Mexican elder can be propagated from cuttings and seeds.
  • May 21, 2011
    Old rose bushes at historic homes can live for a long time.
  • May 28, 2011
    There are numerous things that can stunt garden plants.


  • June 4, 2011
    Although unlikely, it may not be impossible to grow roses from a long stem rose from a flower arrangement.
  • June 11 , 2011
    Spanish broom and some other shrubs frozen to the ground will benefit from the rejuvenation pruning to restore the plants.
  • June 18, 2011
    You can purchase chile varieties released by NMSU from the Chile Pepper Institute.
  • June 25, 2011
    Cut dead branches from rosemary after checking to see that they are indeed dead.


  • July 2, 2011
    Compost will help many New Mexico soil problems, but a soil test will also help determine solutions to problems.
  • July 9, 2011
    Symptoms of winter cold and now drought are showing up in trees. Proper watering is critical to tree survival.
  • July 16, 2011
    Hot, dry weather and soil salts can resulted in stunted tomato plants or undersized fruit.
  • July 23, 2011
    Wait until winter to prune figs, pomegranates, and other shrubs that are sprouting from the base after the great freeze of 2011.
  • July 30, 2011
    Late planted squash is not always safe from squash bugs.


  • August 6, 2011
    Blossom end rot in tomatoes and other garden vegetables is due to a failure of water to transport calcium to the tomatoes and other fruit as they form.
  • August 20, 2011
    Some tomato varieties do better in hot climates and some garden techniques help.
  • August 27, 2011
    Leaves from healthy plants may be left under plants as a mulch.


  • September 3, 2011
    There are some small trees appropriate for small properties in hot climates.
  • September 10, 2011
    When trimming indoor (or outdoor) cacti, be careful. You can start new plants from the trimmings.
  • September 17, 2011
    Move old established roses at the end of the winter, but root prune them in late summer or early fall to increase your chance of success.
  • September 24, 2011
    There are good, hardy trees to replace those damaged by last winter's cold weather.


  • October 1, 2011
    Poinsettias and other short day flowering plants may stay outside until temperatures near freezing.
  • October 8, 2011
    Soil and weather conditions could have contributed to poor tomato production this year.
  • October 15, 2011
    Tree replacement is the ultimate solution to incurable slime flux disease, but often not an urgent matter. Prune dead branches before dormancy so you can more easily identify the dead branches.
  • October 22, 2011
    Roses do not poison their soil, but there are several reasons roses do not do well where other roses have died.
  • October 29, 2011
    Concrete debris can cause problems in the garden, but removing the concrete solves the problem.


  • November 5, 2011
    Several types of common insects may come in with houseplants in winter.
  • November 12, 2011
    Wood ashes can be spread thinly over the landscape to minimize creating problems if they may not be disposed of in the garbage.
  • November 19, 2011
    Painting trunks of thin barked trees helps protect against southwest injury, a disorder due to our sunny days and cold nights.
  • November 26, 2011
    You can solarize plants before putting them into compost if you are not sure if they are diseased or not, or solarize the compost afterwards for safety.


  • December 3, 2011
    Your compost pile does not need to be covered to continue the process of composting in the winter.
  • December 17, 2011
    Development of black coloration on tree bark may indicate insect problems that should be managed.
  • December 24, 2011
    Wait until spring to prune grapes and then follow instructions from NMSU Extension publication.

Desert Blooms Website

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email: desertblooms@nmsu.edu, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook page.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!