2014 Southwest Yard & Garden Archives


  • January 4, 2014
    Yes, some trees may change sex after environmental stress.
  • January 11, 2014
    Twig girdler beetles and other insects may be observed in New Mexico conifers as a result of the very dry conditions early last year.
  • January 18, 2014
    There are several beetles that can infest firewood, some may be a threat to landscape trees.
  • January 25, 2014
    Irrigation is more complicated than just supplying water to plants.


  • February 1, 2014
    Kalenchoe (Bryophyllum) plants are succulent plants that are easy to grow as houseplants.
  • February 8, 2014
    You can combine some vegetables and tropical fruit plants in a greenhouse if you consider the requirements of the plants.
  • February 15, 2014
    During dry winters some plants do not need irrigation, others will need some supplemental moisture.


  • March 1, 2014
    You can prune your fruit trees now and until the buds begin to "show color."
  • March 8, 2014
    A soil test is the best way to know how to prepare garden soil, but addition of compost is usually beneficial.
  • March 15, 2014
    Proper composting and vermicomposting will probably detoxify the allelopathic chemical juglone produced by walnuts.
  • March 29, 2014
    Raised bed gardens may be useful while developing soils, but may require special effort in some situations.


  • April 5, 2014
    Borers can cause bark to peel from a tree, or be a secondary problem that followed a problem that damaged the tissues under the bark.
  • April 12, 2014
    Sometimes a horizontal fence is needed to protect a garden from gophers and rabbits.
  • April 19, 2014
    Vegetables may not taste the same to you now as they did when you were younger for a variety of reasons.
  • April 26, 2014
    A repair graft may be used to help repair ripped bark damage from branch breakage due to strong winds.


  • May 3, 2014
    Proper plant selection, planting, and care can minimize tree problems.
  • May 10, 2014
    Summer pruning roses by cutting flower to take indoors or to remove spent blossoms helps manage plant size.
    Non-toxic and low toxicity methods of managing aphids on garden transplants are possible.
  • May 17, 2014
    Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to reduce kitchen and garden organic waste materials to worm castings.
  • May 24, 2014
    Natural fruit thinning is not uncommon when temperatures rise and winds increase in New Mexico.


  • June 7, 2014
    Organic matter such as compost is the best material to add to clay soils in gardens.
  • June 14, 2014
    Corn gluten meal and manual removal of seeds and seedlings can be non-toxic and relatively safe ways to manage goathead (puncture vine) weeds.
  • June 21, 2014
    Spittlebugs may often be controlled by simply washing their protective spittle from the plants on which they are feeding.
  • June 28, 2014
    Coffee grounds is a beneficial source of organic matter for your garden, but like some other fine textured organic materials there is a chance that they will cause a temporary depletion of plant available nitrogen while they are decomposing.


  • July 5, 2014
    New Mexico locust may grow in some high elevation New Mexico landscapes, but its thicket-forming habit may be undesirable.
  • July 12, 2014
    Sedum and some other plants may be used to replace turfgrass in some landscapes.
  • July 19, 2014
    Viral and fungal diseases are potential causes for problems with tomato plants.
  • July 26, 2014
    You can grow roses from seeds that form on your hybrid roses if you follow the rules, but the results may be surprising.


  • August 9, 2014
    High temperatures, excess nitrogen, shade and other factors can cause tomato plants to exhibit growth with no flower and fruit development.
  • August 16, 2014
    Venice hibiscus is a very pretty weed that may appear in your garden.
  • August 23, 2014
    NMSU publications give tips telling how to determine when your homegrown melons are ready to pick.
  • August 30, 2014
    Blackberry plants often reproduce themselves by tip layering, but be careful that you do not violate plant patent laws by propagating and distributing patented varieties.


  • September 6, 2014
    Later summer is a time for several garden activities in preparation for winter.
  • September 13, 2014
    Vetch and buckwheat are some cover crops that gardeners can use to improve their gardens.
  • September 20, 2014
    Roaches are common inhabitants of compost piles, but there are several ways to manage them to keep them out of your home.
  • September 27, 2014
    Fall webworms are attacking trees in New Mexico and it looks like the trees will be killed; don't worry they are doing very little harm.


  • October 4, 2014
    Mistletoe management is difficult, but there are things you can do.
    A reader suggests a fun way to disrupt tent caterpillar and fall webworm webs in trees.
  • October 11, 2014
    Elm leaf beetles are beginning to come into our houses looking for places to overwinter.
  • October 18, 2014
    Chiles can be grown year-round if they are brought indoors to a good environment for the winter.
    Siberian elm trees have some bad characteristics, but also some redeeming characteristics.
  • October 25, 2014
    Early fall pruning a Concord grape vine, while not recommended, will probably not kill the vine.


  • November 8, 2014
    It is autumn and there are several things that may be digging holes in your lawn.
  • November 15, 2014
    Cicadas could have made the holes discussed last week but they would have appeared earlier in the summer.
    Coppicing is a method of tree management that occurs naturally in New Mexico and can be used in some landscape situations.
  • November 22, 2014
    The choice of artificial or cut Christmas tree is a personal choice, but it is true that the cut tree requires more care.
  • November 29, 2014
    Some plants can actually survive being enclosed and wrapped as gifts for short periods of time.
    It is not uncommon for Benjamin's fig trees to drop leaves as the season and environment changes.


  • December 6, 2014
    Holes filled with compost, sulfur, and an iron source placed just outside the dripline of trees can help overcome iron chlorosis (deficiency) symptoms in the trees.
  • December 13, 2014
    Conifers respond to pruning in a manner different from the response of deciduous trees, so cutting the top of a conifer to use as a Christmas tree may not result in regrowth and an attractive tree that is left behind.
  • December 20, 2014
    Houseplants left outside in freezing weather for a short period of time may survive, but will need special care.
  • December 27, 2014
    Maintaining the beauty of a poinsettia into the spring is possible if the proper environment is provided.

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!