2016 Southwest Yard & Garden Archives


  • January 2, 2016
    Spider mites are common, but easily managed, pests of houseplants during the winter.
  • January 9, 2016
    Poinsettia plants may be propagated from stem cuttings to produce new plants if they are not patented varieties.
  • January 16, 2016
    Apple trees are impossible for most home gardeners to grow from stem cuttings due to limitations of adult phase stem tissue.
  • January 23, 2016
    Some indoor plants are attacked in winter by insects which may be treated with oil spray or rubs that are safe for people.
  • January 30, 2016
    Maples are not usually considered good choices for New Mexico landscapes, but there may be some varieties and other species of trees that can produce fall color in New Mexico.


  • February 6, 2016
    Painting a tree trunk white may help reduce the incidence of southwest injury causing splitting of the bark.
  • February 13, 2016
    New Mexico's soil, climate, and a gardener's choice of plants can create great challenges for gardeners new to New Mexico and the Southwest.
  • February 20, 2016
    Rooting hormones and rooting plant growth regulators help you create new plants from stems taken from some older plants.
  • February 27, 2016
    Splitting tomato fruit is a common problem in gardens, but there are some things you can do to reduce the incidence of split fruit.


  • March 6, 2016
    Organic matter can make clay garden soils much more pleasant for gardening.
  • March 12, 2016
    Heavy metal contamination of composted sewage sludge should not be a problem in most of New Mexico, but the Waste Water Department can probably give you information to confirm the safety of their product.
  • March 19, 2016
    Although gardeners often see recommendations on the internet to add wood ash to their garden, this is bad advice for most New Mexico gardeners.
  • March 26, 2016
    Piñon needle scale is a common New Mexico pest, but it can be fairly easily managed.


  • April 2, 2016
    Variability and unpredictability are characteristics of New Mexico's gardening weather.
  • April 9, 2016
    Tree of Heaven is not a desirable landscape tree and takes some effort to remove if it invades a landscape.
  • April 16, 2016
    Purple mustard and white top weeds illustrate the strategies to manage annual and perennial weeds.
  • April 23, 2016
    Late frosts and weather conditions reducing the availability of pollinator insects are common reasons for failure of fruit trees to produce fruit in New Mexico.
  • April 30, 2016
    Curling leaves of stone fruit plants in the spring often results from aphid insects.


  • May 7, 2016
    Container gardening provides some benefits for tomato growing compared gardening in New Mexico garden soil, but many of the same principles apply.
  • May 14, 2016
    Trees that did not fully leaf-out this spring may have been injured by the spring weather or by herbicide treatments.
  • May 21, 2016
    Peach trees bear their fruit on last season's growth and that can cause broken branches unless you prune properly.
  • May 28, 2016
    Wind in New Mexico can cause damage to newly formed leaves in the spring.
    A late freeze did indeed damage desert willows and other plants in parts of New Mexico this year.


  • June 4, 2016
    Although New Mexico soils often have surplus calcium, calcium deficiency in plant tissues may be observed and treated with proper cultural techniques such as the Three Sisters Garden or shade and wind protection.
  • June 11, 2016
    Transplanting ornamental small trees from pots after they have grown there for a long time can be challenging.
  • June 18, 2016
    The heat of New Mexico summers can prevent fruit from forming on some varieties of tomatoes until the weather cools.
  • June 25, 2016
    Newly planted trees will often exhibit stress in their first summer until they can develop a large enough root system to support the spring growth of shoots and leaves.


  • July 2, 2016
    If you did not thin your apple fruit crop, you can still do it, and do not worry about natural thinning that occurs in the stress of summer.
  • July 9, 2016
    Deciduous plants are those whose leaves fall in the autumn and evergreen plants retain green leaves through the winter.
  • July 16, 2016
    Some vegetable plants require a trellis, some do not, and some can grow on a trellis even if they do not need the trellis.
  • July 23, 2016
    Leaf miner insects are common pests in New Mexico gardens, but difficult to manage with insecticides.
  • July 30, 2016
    Cottonwood and other trees may naturally drop leaves to minimize summer stress, but proper irrigation can help minimize this leaf drop.


  • August 6, 2016
    Plant feeding bugs may feed on various parts of plants, including flower buds, and prevent flowers from opening.
  • August 13, 2016
    It is probably possible to grow delicious Southern purple hull peas in New Mexico.
  • August 20, 2016
    Tomato horn worms are common in New Mexico and seem to appear overnight.
  • August 27, 2016
    The summer moisture has arrived and now we find the benign and interesting slime mold organisms in our gardens.


  • September 3, 2016
    Fruit trees cannot be successfully grafted to Siberian elms, though I wish they could.
    Lime trees and most citrus cannot survive outside in New Mexico in the winter.
  • September 10, 2016
    Composting is a good gardening practice and can be enhanced by a knowledge of a few composting principles.
  • September 17, 2016
    Pear trees (and many other fruit trees) can be cross-pollinated by other varieties of the same species, in fact, some require another variety for pollination.
  • September 24, 2016
    The fact that rains may come in different seasons gives Southwestern native landscapes and xeriscapes a variability in which plants prosper and dominate from year to year.


  • October 1, 2016
    Exotic plants known as hurricane, spider, or surprise lilies may be grown in New Mexico.
  • October 8, 2016
    Numerous weeds, grasses, and even some landscape plants blooming now are causing fall allergies.
  • October 15, 2016
    In dry times, proper placement of water is critical for sustaining landscape trees until rains return.
  • October 22, 2016
    Tree roots under pavement and foundations can cause problems.


  • November 5, 2016
    There are no lawn grasses totally immune to infestation by white grubs, but some grasses may be somewhat more resistant than other grasses.
  • November 12, 2016
    It may be possible to grow okra even in Northern New Mexico if a proper microclimate and growing conditions can be provided.
  • November 19, 2016
    New apple trees cannot be grown from stem cuttings, but may be propagated by grafting.
  • November 26, 2016
    The delayed onset of cold weather has not harmed trees and shrubs, but now that winter has arrived you can begin pruning and doing other winter garden chores.


  • December 2, 2016
    Even though New Mexico's weather and climate are variable and fickle there are some good resources to help you identify plants for your garden.
  • December 10, 2016
    Living Christmas trees require some extra care if you really want them to live.
  • December 17, 2016
    Cool, dry conditions are necessary to induce amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs to bloom.
  • December 24, 2016
    Some hardy amaryllis (Hippeastrum) may actually survive the winter outside in New Mexico, especially in warm microclimates.

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!