Issue: February 2, 2008

Is Amelanchier a replacement for blueberries? - Should I have a termite warranty?

Is Amelanchier a replacement for blueberries?


I spoke with you about six months ago regarding blueberry cultivation and the effort required to provide acidic soil. I was wondering if Amelanchier alnifolia ('Saskatoon Blueberry' or 'Juneberry' or 'Shadblow Serviceberry')is a more viable option?

Don B.


Whether or not the Amelanchier is an appropriate option for you depends on what you want. If it is the blueberry fruit, then the Amelanchier is probably not what you want. While the Amelanchier plant produces a blue-colored berry (actually a pome), it doesnŐt taste like a true blueberry. Some people use it to make pies or other items, but it has a distinctly different flavor. Some people do like the flavor and tolerate the larger seeds found in this plant.

However, if you are just looking for a plant with blue-colored fruit, Amelanchier will grow more readily than blueberries in many parts of New Mexico. It will do best in New Mexico at high elevations in moister regions. In lower regions it will require irrigation.

Amelanchier is a relative of apples and roses. It has attractive white flowers in the spring and grows into a small tree or large shrub.

Should I have a termite warranty?

Our home in Rio Rancho is 3 years old and we just got a call stating our termite warranty, which was originally provided by our builder, expires soon. Do you think it is necessary to continue this type of coverage on our home?

Thank you for any comments you may share with us in making our decision.

Tom M.
Rio Rancho


You must make the final determination, but you should make it with the knowledge that subterranean termites are found throughout New Mexico. The chance for termite infestation does exist.

I called Dr. Carol Sutherland, NMSU Extension Entomologist, who suggested that you compare the cost of extending your warranty with the cost of a new preventive treatment and an accompanying warranty. The current warranty is expiring because the effectiveness of the initial treatment is wearing off. She suggests you call several competent, established, pest control companies to get bids. Find out what will be covered if you have only a warranty, if subsequent treatment is then needed.

She also suggested that you can wait a few years and then have a termite inspection if you plan to upgrade the bathroom, kitchen, or utility room (areas with water) at that time. If termites are discovered, treatment can be arranged. It is a matter of comparing costs for the warranty and its benefits with cost of retreatment.

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Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!