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Southwest Yard and Garden

This column comes through the Grant County Extension Service out of New Mexico State University.

ash flowergall mite photo from nmsu plant diagnostic clinicAsh tree leaves from a sample submitted to the NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic in September 2019 look green and healthy. The rough, round, brown bits are galls formed by the ash flowergall mite, but they do not harm the tree itself. Photo credit NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic.

Question: Is there a systemic insecticide that can be used to control ash flowergall mites?

Question submitted by a Bernalillo County Extension Agent

img 6139Many roses are impressively drought- and heat-tolerant. A thick mulch layer and regular watering to a depth of 18-24 inches are great steps toward healthier, showier rose bushes. Photo credit M. Thompson.Question: Is it too late to prune my roses?

by Dr. Marisa Thompson  

Question: What are your favorite plant books?
-Santa Fe County Extension Master Gardener Trainee

Answer: I love this question. In summer 2018, Extension Master Gardener Lin Yeskie was looking for recommendations while revamping a Master Gardener volunteer library. So, I wrote a column about my favorites and surveyed other experts for their suggestions. I’ve recently updated our collective recommendations:

I still try to keep an edition—any edition—of Robert DeWitt Ivey’s Flowering Plants of New Mexico with me as I travel around the state.

swyg021320Artichokes like these growing in Valencia County Extension Agent Newt McCarty’s garden in Belen last summer are a great example of a biennial plant. In year one, they develop a rosette of dramatic leaves, but no fruit (sometimes huge leaves). You have to wait until the second year to get flower stalks and edible fruit. After year two, they’ll keep producing each year. That is, if you can keep the roots alive through the winters and especially that first winter. Photo credit M. Thompson.In the past month I’ve had a great time teaching “basic botany and plant identification” to Extension Master Gardener Trainee classes in Doña Ana, Santa Fe, and Taos Counties. From the NMSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) website: “Each year, EMG chapters throughout NM produce knowledgeable gardeners who enjoy assisting their local Cooperative Extension Service office in providing accurate, research-based gardening information to county residents. Within the programmatic structure of the Extension Master Gardener Program is a curriculum focused on the fundamentals of good horticultural and biological land management practices. Classes are held at varying times of the year (depending on the county) in an effort to prepare volunteers for service and keep those already trained up to date.” (https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/mastergardeners/about-us.html). 

Skinny Tomato Plants Started Indoors - February 23, 1997

Amaryllis Flowers Too Tall - February 11, 2000

tomato and artichoke starts marisa thompsonStarts of artichokes (left) and tomatoes (right) grown from seed by Ph.D. student Chuck Havlik at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas in winter 2019 became subjects for summer experiments on tomato rooting and artichoke viability. Photo credit M. Thompson.

by Dr. Marisa Thompson

southwest and northwest side of ash trunk sun scald copyBesides being girdled and slowly killed by hardscape at the base, this ash tree in Belen looks normal on the northeast side of the trunk (left) and severely wounded on the southwest side (right) due to sunscald (aka southwest injury). Temporary trunk protection, like a loose-fitting paper wrap, could have prevented this damage when the tree was younger and the bark was thinner. Photo credits M. Thompson.Besides being girdled and slowly killed by hardscape at the base, this ash tree in Belen looks normal on the northeast side of the trunk (left) and severely wounded on the southwest side (right) due to sunscald (aka southwest injury). Temporary trunk protection, like a loose-fitting paper wrap, could have prevented this damage when the tree was younger and the bark was thinner. Photo credits M. Thompson.

mistletoeQuestion: There’s mixed advice out there on how to control mistletoe. What do you recommend?

Question submitted via Sandoval County Extension Agent Lynda Garvin

mike burbano saguaro in las crucesThis six-foot-tall cactus in a Las Cruces yard is likely to be a Sonoran saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), even though it has grown remarkably fast. Photo credit Mike B.By Dr. Marisa Thompson

Question: Is this a saguaro in my front yard in Las Cruces? I’ve heard that saguaros do not grow well in this area. I planted it in 2012 and it is growing about 1 foot each year. It’s currently close to 6 feet tall. -Mike B., Las Cruces

Answer: Yes, probably, but maybe not.

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