2013 Southwest Yard & Garden Archives


  • January 5, 2013
    Christmas cacti need long, uninterrupted nights, dry and cool conditions to induce flowering.
  • January 12, 2013
    Abutilon (Flowering maple) and many other houseplants suffer from the high levels of dissolved minerals in Southwestern well waters.
  • January 19, 2013
    Warmth and supplemental light will help your houseplant cuttings form roots more readily in a cold room during the winter.
  • January 26, 2013
    Winter composting is possible in New Mexico, but care must be taken to keep the compost moist and to manage other factors important to maintaining the composting organisms.


  • February 2, 2013
    Indian paintbrush plants are difficult to transplant, to grow from seed, and are semi-parasitic plants.
    Pruning pinon trees is possible, but different from pruning deciduous trees.
  • February 9, 2013
    Large trees in confined areas are sometimes best removed and replaced with trees whose size better adapts them to the location.
  • February 16, 2013
    Angel wing begonias do become leggy, but they may be trimmed back and the cuttings used to produce new plants.
  • February 23, 2013
    Pruning is best done before new growth begins in the spring, but removal of dead branches can be done at any time.


  • March 2, 2013
    Various animals may damage tree bark in the winter, but there are some treatments that may protect the tree.
  • March 9, 2013
    There are indeed some evergreen, water-conserving groundcover plants for New Mexico landscapes.
  • March 16, 2013
    America's favorite garden vegetable, tomatoes, can be a challenge to grow in New Mexico's heat.
  • March 23, 2013
    Fast-growing, short-statured, evergreen trees for screening do exist, but some compromises and choices may be required.
  • March 30, 2013
    Creation of defensible space around rural homes as mentioned in last week's Yard and Garden is very important in New Mexico's dry environment.


  • April 6, 2013
    It is best to prune fruit trees before they bloom, but later pruning may also be done.
    Pine needles are good mulch for the garden.
  • April 13, 2013
    Solarization can be used to pasteurize compost before use in the garden if you have insects or concerns about diseases in the compost.
  • April 20, 2013
    NMSU provided gardening information through County Extension Service offices and internet can help you garden successfully in New Mexico.
  • April 27, 2013
    Some plants produce extrafloral nectaries that look to some gardeners to be insects on the leaves, don't worry about them.
    Frost, wind, and cold weather that reduced bee activity may result in few to no fruit in early blooming varieties this year.


  • May 4, 2013
    Pure compost or organic matter without some mineral soil is often not a good potting soil.
  • May 11, 2013
    In prolonged dry periods, trees in all parts of New Mexico need irrigation, but they must be irrigated properly.
  • May 18, 2013
    Cutworms, damping off disease, birds, and rodents may cause damage to garden plants.
  • May 25, 2013
    Environmental stress can make trees more susceptible to insect attack.


  • June 1, 2013
    If you are going to use a weed control product, it is important to use the right one and to use it properly.
  • June 8, 2013
    Summer is a good time to prune dead branches, but be sure they are dead.
  • June 15, 2013
    White, water-based paint on the trunks of thin-barked trees may help them survive the winter.
  • June 22, 2013
    Stands of scrub oak may appear dead, but may actually be waiting for moisture to begin growing again.


  • July 6, 2013
    Monsoon rains may not provide enough moisture to replace irrigations, it depends on how deeply the soil is moistened.
  • July 13, 2013
    Grape plants has been severely damaged by small greenish/gold beetles with segmented antennae.
  • July 20, 2013
    Many gardeners do not recognize mulberry seedlings when they come up in their garden because mulberry seedlings produce a variety of leaf shapes.
  • July 27, 2013
    It is difficult to manage weeds invading raised beds, but there are some possible management techniques.


  • August 3, 2013
    There are several reasons cucumbers are not forming fruit and several potential solutions to the problem.
  • August 10, 2013
    Iron chlorosis and improper watering can cause home fruit tree problems, but the lack of fruit this year is probably due to late freezes.
  • August 17, 2013
    The monsoon rains cause rapid development of weeds that require persistent management in New Mexico gardens.
  • August 24, 2013
    Jujube trees are worth considering for New Mexico gardens and landscapes.


  • September 7, 2013
    Environmental stresses can make trees susceptible to insect attack.
  • September 14, 2013
    Drought and other environmental stresses have led to diseases in junipers as the monsoon rains brought increased moisture and humidity.
  • September 21, 2013
    Powdery mildew on apple trees will not make the fruit unsafe.
    Now is the time to plant bulbs and spring flowering perennials.
  • September 28, 2013
    You have option in managing problems with tree roots damaging your patio.


  • October 5, 2013
    Mountain mahogany plants are excellent native shrubs for most New Mexico landscapes.
  • October 12, 2013
    There are several possible causes for foamy sap on the trunk of trees.
  • October 19, 2013
    Strawberries may survive without mulch in New Mexico, but properly applied mulch removed early will probably be beneficial.
    Lilacs should be pruned to renew the shrubs and increase flower production.
  • October 26, 2013
    It is possible to test for chemicals injuring plants and for diseases infecting plants to best know how to manage problems.


  • November 9, 2013
    You can overwinter potted citrus, fig, and pomegranate plants if you can provide the proper environment indoors in New Mexico.
  • November 23, 2013
    Gladiolus plants are not common garden plants in New Mexico, but if their requirements are met, may be grown successfully.
  • November 30, 2013
    Most fallen tree leaves can be safely rototilled into your garden in the fall or composted.


  • December 7, 2013
    Rose seeds may be grown into new plants if the required conditions are met.
  • December 14, 2013
    Some winter weeds look like dandelions, and like dandelions they must be managed.
  • December 21, 2013
    You will have much better success starting living Christmas trees from nursery grown plants than from cuttings taken from your cut Christmas tree.
  • December 28, 2013
    Snow accumulate around the base of trees and shrubs can provide insulation and moisture.

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!