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Showing posts from November, 2017

Part II: Winterizing Your Houseplants & Patio Plants

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Question: What steps do you recommend as we transition our houseplants back inside and prepare patio plants for the winter? -Dan G., Bosque Farms, Valencia County, NM Answer, Continued: This week we’ll go into more detail about checking houseplants for bugs before they get too comfortable and their populations get out of control. For more tidbits on how to care for your patio plants and houseplants when you bring them inside for the winter, check out last week’s column at https://nmsudesertblooms.blogspot.com/2017/11/winterizing-your-houseplants-patio.html I asked County Extension Agents from all over New Mexico to share the most common houseplant questions they receive. Responses were overwhelmingly pest-related. Dr. Carol Sutherland, NMSU Extension Entomology Specialist and NMDA State Entomologist, provided the skinny on a few pests you are likely to encounter and what to do about them: Spider mites are nearly microscopic, 8-legged, wingless creatures that thrive on a tremendous variety o…

Winterizing Your Houseplants & Patio Plants

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Question: What steps do you recommend as we transition our houseplants back inside and prepare patio plants for the winter? -Dan G., Bosque Farms, Valencia County, NM


Answer:
Three weeks ago, I brought in my container patio plants that can’t tolerate the cold. These included the huge spider plant that began as a cutting from my grandmother’s huge spider plant, various succulents, and my prized pineapple plant that I started from a pineapple top a few years ago. Other plants, like the octopus agave, geraniums, and purple heart, are hardier so they can stay outside longer, but I brought them in last week rather than risk it. I like to bring cuttings of various favorites inside for the winter and keep them in water. That way, if we get a severe cold snap, I have some plant tissue to rely on in the spring for replanting. This week I’ll winterize the hardy patio plants so that they can stay safely outside all winter. The two rose of Sharon shrubs—named, “Althea” and “Althea-later”—are currentl…

Cover Crop Considerations: Meeting Your Gardening Needs

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Southwest Yard and Garden |  by Marisa Y. Thompson

Question: We want to prep our garden area for the winter. What cover crop species do you recommend? -Jeff G., Belen, Valencia County, NM Answer: All of the NMSU Extension researchers I invited to give advice emphasized that the first step when considering a cover crop is to identify your management priorities. Are you planting this to reduce soil erosion, improve soil structure, build organic matter, or suppress insect pests, weeds, and diseases? There are many benefits to cover crops, and your selection(s) will depend on your end goal.  For single cover crop species, Dr. John Idowu, NMSU Extension Agronomy Specialist, offered, “We have had success with wheat, rye, and barley cover crops. Oats are also a good option, but they may winterkill in northern parts of NM, depending on the severity of winter. In our research, we have seen effective ground cover and weed suppression with the winter cereals. They also produce considerable biomass, wh…

Girdler Bug Attack: No Treatment Necessary

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Southwest Yard & Garden

Question:
Our mesquite trees are experiencing what appears to be a girdler bug attack. This is the first time we have experienced this. How harmful are they, and what can be done to rid these pests? -Jack D., Doña Ana County, NM




Answer: In order to answer your question, I enlisted the help of NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist and NM State Entomologist, Dr. Carol Sutherland. Here is her response: Yep. The culprit here is a type of long-horned beetle known as the “mesquite girdler” (Oncideres rhodosticta). Adults are about a half-inch long and are several shades of dark gray, with dots or patches of rusty brown, especially on their forewings. Their most obvious feature is the very long pair of antennae, which is characteristic of most beetles in the Cerambycidae family. The mesquite girdler is generally found from Baja California probably into southern California, and from Arizonato West Texas and south into Mexico, wherever potential woody hosts occur, includin…