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New Mexico State University

2009 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

Desert Blooms website

Send your gardening questions to:

Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith

NMSU Cooperative Extension Service

9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112

Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.


  • January 3
    Salt accumulation in potting soil damages house plants.
  • January 10
    Poinsettias will freeze outside in New Mexico
    It is difficult to force lilac twigs to bloom early indoors.
  • January 17
    Minimize damage to tree roots when building footers
  • January 24
    Fire prevention pruning may increase chances of bark beetle attack, but pruning paint won't help - Siberian elm may be used to create a "shrub" hedge
  • January 31
    Pruning thornless blackberries - Raspberries and blueberries for Central New Mexico


  • February 7
    If you want to grow blueberries in New Mexico you must work to modify soil pH.
  • Febrary 14
    Some reasons a nandina plant may do poorly
  • February 21
    Manage weeds to reduce curly top virus this summer
    Yes, you can grow okra in New Mexico


  • March 7
    Restarting a "rested" garden is like beginning a new garden
  • March 14
    Don't let seeds dry when they are germinating!
  • March 21
    Be careful when using fertilizer combined with post-emergent herbicide.
  • March 28
    Avocados are not a recommended tree for New Mexico


  • April 4
    You can save your poinsettia for next year if you are willing to take the effort
  • April 11
    Gardening in New Mexico is different from the East Coast
  • April 18
    Grafting may help a wounded apple tree
  • April 25
    Fungus gnats in aloe vera potted plant


  • May 2
    Wisteria seed planting and peach tree seedlings
  • May 9
    Which is better? Rock mulch or bark mulch?
  • May 16
    Grass can be weeds in garden
  • May 23
    You can keep birds from eating your seedlings
  • May 30
    Are there any roses that will grow in Cloudcroft?


  • June 6
    Transplants can be shocked by the transplant process
  • June 13
    You can grow stevia in New Mexico during the summer
  • June 17
    There are several potential causes for a tree to appear to die suddenly
  • June 27
    Spurge weed management in lawns


  • July 4
    There are options if a tree is too close to a house
  • July 11
    Plant hollyhock seeds as they mature on the plant
  • July 18
    Curly top virus strikes again!
  • July 25
    Blossom end rot in New Mexico is due to hot, dry conditions
    Tomato spotted wilt virus is a problem in New Mexico


  • August 1
    Fruit trees do not usually bear good quality fruit the first year after planting
  • August 8
    Extreme pruning of euonymus now can cause problems in some parts of New Mexico
  • August 15
    Some vegetable plants not forming fruits this summer
  • August 18
    Transplanting New Mexico locust and Russian olive and what to do with a tree the wind broke
  • August 29
    Consider safety when installing greywater systems


  • September 5
    Early September is a good time to prepare houseplants for wintering indoors
  • September 12
    My houseplants have gotten too large to bring indoors. They will not fit where I kept them last winter. Is it ok to trim them back?
  • September 19
    Gourds may be edible, but often not tasty - Be sure you know what you are eating
    Now is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs


  • October 3
    Efficient turfgrass irrigation depends on you
  • October 10
    Juniper mistletoe is difficult to eradicate
  • October 25
    There are some trees, shrubs, and vines to give red fall color in New Mexico


  • November 21
    Here are some unusual and interesting houseplants you can grow
  • November 28
    Fruit flies or fungus gnats? You need to identify insects to properly manage problems


  • December 5
    There are several reasons why people do not compost
  • December 12
    Making compost from leaves may need some additional nitrogen
  • December 26
    Pinching to remove flowers buds helps keep some coleus plants attractive