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Prepping Fruit Trees for Winter, Part 2: Avoiding Winter Sunscald

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Marisa 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 winter sunscald (aka southwest injury). Painting the trunk white with a 1:1 mixture of white latex paint and water or a 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.   Question: What do you recommend for winter care of fruit trees? – Bette A., Albuquerque Answer: Last week, we addressed this question by learning about cold-hardiness and how to avoid drought stress in the dormant season by irrigating properly and using mulch. Another major way to support your fruit trees during winter is to protect the trunks and

Prepping Fruit Trees for Winter

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  Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Marisa Thompson Persimmons still ripening on Halloween in 2017 at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. These fruit are special because they need a few hard freezes for the astringent compounds in the peel to fully break down. Photo credit Marisa Thompson.   Question: What do you recommend for winter care of fruit trees? – Bette A., Albuquerque Answer: This question was posed during a recent Ready, Set, GROW! webinar given by NMSU Extension Agents Suzanne DeVos Cole of Mora County and Sara Moran Duran of Bernalillo County on growing all kinds of fruit in New Mexico. To watch a recording of that webinar and to register for our next session, “Healthy Soils” for gardeners, at 3 pm on Wednesday, October 20, visit https://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/ready-set-grow.html . In terms of fruit tree management in winter, our biggest concerns are cold damage and drought damage. This is true whether trees are old or new. Selecting plants that a

Pruning Roses in Summer

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Curtis Smith Archived column from  August 2007   with intro by Dr. Marisa Thompson This beautiful rose bush at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center Learning Garden is full of buds, but a few of the stems have gotten leggy and can be pruned back now to encourage new buds to bloom before the season’s end. First frost is expected in mid-October. Photo credits Marisa Thompson. STAY TUNED for photos of the buds on the above stems in the coming weeks to see how many of the buds open indoors!   This time of year, we receive many questions about whether or not it's safe to prune landscape plants. I found this column written by former NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist Dr. Curtis Smith in August 2007 by searching the NMSU Southwest Yard & Garden archives at https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/search.html . For more details, try searching " pruning roses ." And to access a column from last August addressing the same question for trees, sea

Mushrooms Are a Necessary Part of the Landscape Environment

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Curtis Smith, intro by Dr. Marisa Thompson Reprinted from August 2010: https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/archives/aug-14-2010.html Mushrooms found hiding under leaf litter, surrounded by mulch in the Learning Garden at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas on August 17, 2021. Photo credit Marisa Thompson.   Blame it on the rain. Mushrooms are popping up all over the place, and County Extension Agents across the state are certainly hearing about it. This week, I selected an archived Southwest Yard & Garden column written by retired NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist Dr. Curtis Smith in August 2010. To access past columns, visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/archives/ . -         Dr. Marisa Thompson Question: I have mushrooms growing all over my lawn. Should I worry about them? How can I get rid of them? - Susie K. , Albuquerque Answer: I have received this question f

Container Gardening 101: What You Need to Grow

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  Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Marisa Thompson Adequate drainage in a growing container is a much bigger deal than many new gardeners realize. Photo credit Marisa Thompson. The only difference between a gardening guru and a newbie gardener is the number of plants they’ve killed. This column is for beginners interested in growing something in a container for their patio or doorstep but who don’t quite know where to start. Or maybe they’ve tried a few times half-heartedly, and it didn’t end well. Container gardening 101 includes the container type and size, drainage, soil selection, recommended plants, more drainage, placement, and irrigation. What size of container is best? Generally, use large pots for large plants or combinations of small plants, and use smaller pots for individual small plants. Note that the smaller the pot, the more quickly you can expect it to dry out. And avoid using a large container with a single, tiny plant because that extra soil can be problematic

Honeydew Drizzles and Cherry Pit Tips

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Southwest Yard & Garden by Dr. Curtis Smith with additional observations by Dr. Marisa Thompson ‘Prairie Red’ plums ripening at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas on July 29, 2021. Photo credit Marisa Thompson.   Partial reprints from July 2001 ( https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2001/071401.html ), written by Dr. Curtis Smith Question: I have a willow tree that seems to be "raining" down what feels like moisture in hot weather. Is this common? What is the tree doing? If you look at the tree with the sun behind it, you can see the droplets falling. Answer: This is a common occurrence in the summer. The most likely cause is an infestation of aphids feeding on liquids in the leaves of the tree. This "sap" is high in sugar and low in protein, so a large quantity of sap must be consumed. Surplus water and sugar (in the form of a syrupy substance called honeydew) are excreted by the aphids. This