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Issue: April 30

Check for the green cambium under the bark of Mexican elder trees and other woody plants when pruning them after this winter's cold spell.

Q. My Mexican Elder trees in Las Cruces do not have any leaves on them, but several of them have a lot of shoots growing from the trunk near the ground. In the past I have removed the shoots to encourage growth in the canopy (or so I thought that would work). Is that the right thing to do?

Barb D.

A. It is usually a good idea to remove the new shoots forming at the base of a Mexican elder, desert willow, or other tree that tries to be a shrub by producing numerous basal shoots. However, this year some of these trees may have lost twigs and even branches (perhaps trunks) to the extreme cold weather. Even if new growth develops, it may be weak and may eventually die back. The lower sprouts may be necessary to save the trees.

In some cases, the renewed plant may appear to be a shrub for a few years. After a couple of years you can select one or a few healthy sprouts to become the new trunk. For now, it may be wise to let the basal growth grow until you know how much damage occurred in the upper portions of your tree.

Heritage bolita beans are grown by some growers.

Q. I have heard my grandparents and parents talk about frijol de bolita. They tell me no seed is available anymore. My question is do you know where I may find seed?

Joseph S.

A. I searched the internet for "bolita beans" and found a grower in Moriarty, New Mexico who grows bolita beans. The Santa Fe Growers Market was also listed and several out of state growers produce these beans for sale (as food). They are listed in the "local harvest" web site, http://www.localharvest.org/ark-product.jsp?id=194.

There are other growers listed on other web sites discovered by searching "bolita beans". Perhaps one of these growers would share some seeds with you. Addresses are given on the "local harvest" website.


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

Send your gardening questions to:

Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Curtis Smith
NMSU Agricultural Science Center
1036 Miller Rd. SW
Los Lunas, NM 87031

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