2013 Southwest Yard & Garden Archives

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Southwest Yard & Garden is a weekly column, written by Curtis W. Smith, Extension horticulture specialist, that addresses garden and landscape questions.

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension publications World Wide Web site at http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h.


  • January 5, 2013
    1- Christmas cacti need long, uninterrupted nights, dry and cool conditions to induce flowering.
  • January 12, 2013
    1 - Abutilon (Flowering maple) and many other houseplants suffer from the high levels of dissolved minerals in Southwestern well waters.
  • January 19, 2013
    1 - Warmth and supplemental light will help your houseplant cuttings form roots more readily in a cold room during the winter.
  • January 26, 2013
    1 - Winter composting is possible in New Mexico, but care must be taken to keep the compost moist and to manage other factors important to maintaining the composting organisms.


  • February 2, 2013
    1 - Indian paintbrush plants are difficult to transplant, to grow from seed, and are semi-parasitic plants.
    2 - Pruning pinon trees is possible, but different from pruning deciduous trees.
  • February 9, 2013
    1 - Large trees in confined areas are sometimes best removed and replaced with trees whose size better adapts them to the location.
  • February 16, 2013
    1 - Angel wing begonias do become leggy, but they may be trimmed back and the cuttings used to produce new plants.
  • February 23, 2013
    1 - Pruning is best done before new growth begins in the spring, but removal of dead branches can be done at any time.


  • March 2, 2013
    1 - Various animals may damage tree bark in the winter, but there are some treatments that may protect the tree.
  • March 9, 2013
    1 - There are indeed some evergreen, water-conserving groundcover plants for New Mexico landscapes.
  • March 16, 2013
    1 - America's favorite garden vegetable, tomatoes, can be a challenge to grow in New Mexico's heat.
  • March 23, 2013
    1 - Fast-growing, short-statured, evergreen trees for screening do exist, but some compromises and choices may be required.
  • March 30, 2013
    1 - Creation of defensible space around rural homes as mentioned in last week's Yard and Garden is very important in New Mexico's dry environment.


  • April 13, 2013
    1 - Solarization can be used to pasteurize compost before use in the garden if you have insects or concerns about diseases in the compost.
  • April 20, 2013
    1 - NMSU provided gardening information through County Extension Service offices and internet can help you garden successfully in New Mexico.
  • April 27, 2013
    1 - Some plants produce extrafloral nectaries that look to some gardeners to be insects on the leaves, don't worry about them..
    2 - Frost, wind, and cold weather that reduced bee activity may result in few to no fruit in early blooming varieties this year.


  • May 4, 2013
    1 - Pure compost or organic matter without some mineral soil is often not a good potting soil.
  • May 11, 2013
    1 - In prolonged dry periods, trees in all parts of New Mexico need irrigation, but they must be irrigated properly.






  • Southwest Yard & Garden - October 19, 2013
    1 - Strawberries may survive without mulch in New Mexico, but properly applied mulch removed early will probably be beneficial.
    2 - Lilacs should be pruned to renew the shrubs and increase flower production.



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Send your gardening questions to
Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Curtis Smith at cwsmith@nmsu.edu or leave a message at https://www.facebook.com/NMSUExtExpStnPubs.

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist, retired from New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.