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New Mexico State University


Extension Office Demo Garden
Summer Garden
Master Gardener harvesting produce from the Extension Office Demo Garden.

Bernalillo County is home to about one-third of New Mexico's population. Most of these people live in the urban part of the county, though the East Mountains and the South Valley still maintain some rural character. The urban nature of the county is reflected in the educational programming, and kinds of assistance, that our Horticulture Program is able to offer.

We are available to speak to groups (civic, community, church, other) on various horticultural topics, and as always, are open to the public for information on home and landscape gardening, including plant selection, soil issues, pest and disease identification, vegetable and fruit production, and more. We also encourage the greens industry to use us for accurate problem diagnosis and control recommendations.

Trees & Arboriculture

Our area of largest concentration is arboriculture, or the care of the urban forest. In addition to tree-problem diagnostic services available to the general public and to commercial operators, we provide occasional public workshops on tree planting and pruning, and we are very involved in helping put on an annual tree care conference, Think Trees New Mexico. This regionally important conference features top-notch presenters and a very affordable fee; visit and register here.

Xeriscape/Low Water Use Landscaping

Recognizing that we do live in a desert environment, we are also very involved in supporting xeriscape landscaping. Xeriscape refers to landscaping with reduced, efficient irrigation. The keys to successful xeriscape include proper plant selection, good mulching, and efficient irrigation. In addition to providing advice in these areas, we support the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico's International Water Conservation and Xeriscape conference; visit them here or "like" them on Facebook.

Center for Landscape Water Conservation

Learn about Xeric Landscape Principles for the Southwest

Visit xeric center

one can also watch Xeric How to Videos


We live in a desert, but turfgrass is commonplace in our landscapes and parks. While turfgrass provides many benefits, if not properly cared for it can be a source of much water waste and pollution through overuse of pesticides and fertilizers. The Southwest Turfgrass Association provides valuable education about the latest research in turfgrass care and maintenance at a yearly conference held in the fall. Visit them here.

Master Gardener Program

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2012 Master Gardener Classes are FULL! The program runs January-April each year. To apply for 2013, ____________.

The Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners are a key component of our horticultural outreach! These volunteers are trained by us to provide science-based horticultural advice to the general public.

Master Gardeners engage the public through various means, from their Hotline to working with ARCA homes on garden projects, with many other volunteer opportunities in between.

Click here to learn more about the Master Gardener program.

Master Gardeners at Extension Office Demo Garden
Extension Office Demo Garden
Each Friday during the growing season Master Gardeners help weed, water, and harvest at the Extension Office Demo Garden. Produce is donated to food banks and used for Extension programs (and we do enjoy a little for ourselves)!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the first expected frost date in Albuquerque? East Mts?

The official average first frost in Albuquerque occurs on Halloween, Oct. 31st. However, this is measured at the Sunport. This is not necessarily average for all parts of Albuquerque, especially the East Mts. You might expect the first frost the second week of October in the east Mountains. Keep in mind that this can vary wildly from one year to the next. Averages are only useful to a point, just watch the weather and be prepared!

I have a Scotch pine that is turning brown. I thought it was just turning early, but none of the others are. What's the matter?

Even evergreen trees do lose their leaves in the fall. Older needles of pine trees will turn brown and fall off easily. The newer needled (at the tips of branches) will not turn brown and fall off. If the newer needles are turning brown, then the tree may be experiencing an abiotic (non-disease) stress such as lack of water, too much water, planted too deeply, or circling/girdling roots. If the older needles are falling off, there may be nothing to worry about. If it seems that more needles are falling off than usual and it's happening earlier than usual, this could be (again) an abiotic stress. Take a closer look at the base of the tree to identify the possibilities. Is the tree being adequately watered (deep soaks infrequently at the dripline)? Is it planted too deeply? Can you shove the tree and wiggle it easily? If you dig around the base of the tree with a trowel, do you find roots that are circling around the tree instead of radiating outward? If you find any of these clues, this could be the underlying cause for the browning needles.

  • FAQs
    Here is a listing of more than 70 frequently asked horticultural questions and answers. Please browse the document or use the document search function to find what you are looking for.

Quick Links

Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners

eXtension Ask an Expert

Desert Blooms: plant selector, how to videos & more

Southwest Yard & Garden: searchable archives

NMSU Extension and Experiment Station Publications

NMSU ebooks