Posts

Leaf Miners Cause Minor Damage

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Southwest Yard & Garden Partial Reprint by Dr. Curtis Smith  with an added note by Dr. Marisa Thompson Leaf miner patterns in a luffa leaf.  Photo credit Forest and Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons . Partial reprint from   July 23, 2016 Question:  My bean and luffa plants have been diagnosed with leaf miners. What should I do now? Answer:  Several unrelated insects are called leaf miners. The one infesting your vegetable leaves is probably the larvae of a very small fly. Like all leaf miner insects, the eggs are laid by the adult female insect on the outside of the leaf, usually on the underside. When the egg hatches, the larva immediately enters through the lower surface of the leaf into the layers of cells between the top and bottom surface. The larva then feeds on the layers of cells inside the leaf that contain chlorophyll. Because the green cells containing chlorophyll have been consumed, the path of the larva's feeding appears white or yellowish, and the affected area can t

Heat-Loving Flowers for Color All Summer

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Southwest Yard & Garden By Dr. Marisa Thompson   Desert marigold seedling with tiny, fuzzy, blue-ish leaves at Elephant Butte Lake, February 2020 (left); mature flower stalks in a new development off Hwy-10 in Las Cruces, October 2020 (middle); and a sunny flower head soaking up the sun in Los Lunas, August 2017 (right). Photo credits M. Thompson. Question: I want to try growing flowers from seed in my front yard. Which do you recommend I start with first? -           Sylvia S. (age 10), Las Cruces   Answer: I’ve had great luck growing flowers from seed, and I think you will too. I try different combinations each year and usually forget the ones that didn’t ever come up. One tip is to get a mix of wildflower seeds the first year, pay attention to the ones that flower and thrive in your particular environment, and then buy more of those in future years. To save you the trouble, here are a few that have worked well for me: rocket larkspur, cosmos, sunflowers, blue flax, Rocky

Frequently Asked Questions about ROSES

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Southwest Yard & Garden   reprints by Dr. Curtis Smith Reprinted columns from May 2000 ( https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2000/050600.html ) Many roses grow well in New Mexico, even with minimal care and relatively low amounts of water. Scroll down for answers to more common rose questions! :) -Marisa Rose damaged by thrips feeding on new bud tissue. Photo credit Scot Nelson flickr.com (public domain).  Show-offs at the Albuquerque Rose Garden on May 13, 2020. Photo credits M. Thompson. Question: Is it too late to plant roses now? Answer: In all of New Mexico, it is too late to plant bare-root roses (those that come in the pack with sawdust around the roots). However, containerized roses (those in pots in the nursery) can be planted. They may suffer some transplant shock, so be careful to keep them moist and protected from full sunlight and wind for a while after you plant them. You can do this by placing them inside a tomato cage wrapped with white floating row cover material

Two Myth Busters: 1) Is Cottonwood Fluff an Allergen? And 2) Do Irises Use Too Much Water?

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  Southwest Yard & Garden REPRINTS by Dr. Curtis Smith, former NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist (updates and photos by Dr. Marisa Thompson) Cottonwood fluff, shown here coating the Los Lunas bosque floor in July 2018, is not the allergen enemy some people think it is. The “cotton” is the female seed with a fuzzy appendage to help it fly far, where it can grow into a new tree. It’s the male flowers that are the allergy problem, and they release pollen earlier in the season, April in central New Mexico. Photo credits Marisa Thompson. Reprinted from May 2003:  https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2003/050303.html   Which Cottonwood Makes Cotton? Question:  I know some cottonwood trees make cottony fluff, and others make pollen. Which is which?   Answer (by Dr. Curtis Smith):  Male cottonwood trees produce pollen, while female trees produce the cottony fluff that we call cotton. That “cotton” is an appendage to help disperse the cottonwood seeds so they do not fall only at the base of

Hummingbirds are BACK

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Southwest Yard & Garden  by Dr. Marisa Thompson Golden currants ( Ribes aureum ) in bloom in the Los Lunas bosque on April 7, 2019 (left), March 25, 2020 (middle), and April 5, 2021 (right). Photo credits Marisa Thompson. This week, in honor of the golden currant ( Ribes aureum ) shrubs blooming in the Los Lunas bosque and at the City of Albuquerque BioPark Botanical Garden , I’m writing about hummingbirds in the garden. I learned from a local birder (I wish I could remember who it was!) that you know it’s time to put out your hummingbird feeders when the golden currants are in bloom. If you’re curious about creating a hummingbird haven in your yard, the book Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest by local author Marcy Scott is a great place to start. On top of excellent details on 120 hummingbird plants for gardens in our region, Scott profiles the 14 hummingbird species found in the Southwest. She also provides precise information on how to create prime hummingbird habitats. “ Fo

Starting Seeds with Patience

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Marisa Thompson AND Dr. Curtis Smith ( partial reprint! )   Artichoke seedlings planted by Chuck Havlic and Mellene Pablo at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas in 2020. Photo credit M. Thompson.     Starting plants from seed can be confusing. Too little water, and they dry and die. Too much, and all of a sudden, you’re farming algae. Patience and attentiveness are required during this delicate phase of seedling growth, especially if some seeds are sprouting while others take their sweet time. For more seed starting tips, check out: The recorded webinar “ Indoor Seed Starting ” with NMSU Bernalillo County Extension Program Manager Nissa Patterson that's part of the  Ready, Set, GROW! gardening  series. My recent article in Edible New Mexico Magazine: " Touch and Grow: Seed Starters " NMSU Extension Guide H-220, “Starting Plants Early Outdoors”   aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_

Diagnosing Trees with Oozing Sap… Again

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Marisa Thompson, with diagnoses by Phillip Lujan of the NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic Diagnosing Trees with Oozing Sap… Again (but this time, the sap is reddish-orange and doesn’t stink!) Reddish sap oozing from a plum tree at Bachechi Open Space in Albuquerque, March 2021. Photo credit M. Rehn. Question : Any idea what may be causing the sap to run out of some of these plum trees in the arboretum at Bachechi Open Space? -           Dustin C., Albuquerque Answer : This is turning out to be another one of those common questions that come in from all parts of the state. In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten photos of orange or red sap oozing from plum trees and a redbud in the Albuquerque area, an ash in Las Cruces, and I’ve taken a ton of pictures of plum, cherry, and peach trees with similar globs that have hardened after a few years in the sun. Are these weird amber blobs caused by borers or a plant pathogen? Or both? How do you tell? And what can