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2010 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 2
    Some warm season vegetable seed need a little extra warmth to germinate early in a cool home.
  • January 9
    You can purchase potting soils for different kinds of plants with different needs.
  • January 16
    Gophers can be trapped, but releasing them elsewhere can be cruel
  • January 23
    Too much manure can reduce garden's yield.
  • January 30
    Those wood ashes from winter are not good for New Mexico gardens


  • February 6
    Snails can be a problem even with reduced irrigation
  • February 20
    Now is a good time to prune deciduous trees and pruning sealer will not help and will not stop slime flux.
  • February 28
    Pomegranate plants need water in the winter and they will do better if in the ground.


  • March 6
    Prune lilacs after they flower
  • March 13
    Fertigation, applying fertilizer with drip irrigation, can work for you
  • March 20
    The native New Mexico datura (sacred thorn-apple) is not moonflower
  • March 27
    Hackberry and service berry trees are safe for livestock and you can even eat the fruit from service berry tre


  • April 1
    Yes, there are mild chiles in addition to hot chiles.
  • April 10
    NMSU Extension Service, nurseries, garden clubs, and Master Gardeners are good sources of gardening information for new residents.
  • April 17
    Mistletoe can infest landscape trees
  • April 24
    Vinca and other plants may have diseases, but good samples are needed to properly diagnose problems


  • May 1
    You can grow a new aspen tree from a broken branch. - It is important to identify insect pests before choosing a treatment.
  • May 8
    Trees may need nitrogen fertilizer - Some trees benefit from chelated iron treatments.
  • May 15
    Straw mulch can be helpful or harmful when starting garden seeds - Spring freeze damaged trees may grow, but be patient
  • May 22
    Osage orange can be propagated by stem cuttings, root cuttings, layering, and seeds - Cooled coffee and coffee grounds may be good for houseplants


  • June 5
    Plants can be sun burned, but you can help avoid the problem
  • June 12
    Heat of summer is a good time for planting, but difficult for the planter.
  • June 19
    Saving vegetable seeds can be interesting, but must be done properly
  • June 26
    Peach tree borers can injure any of the stone fruit trees


  • July 3
    Slime mold is a strange landscape invader, but beneficial - Blossom end rot can keep squash from developing
  • July 10
    Grafting a broken branch back is not impossible, but very difficult
  • July 24
    Foxtail grass and rabbits can be problems in lawns


  • August 7
    Several problems can cause a tree to die after only a few years
  • August 14
    Mushrooms are a necessary part of the landscape environment
  • August 28
    Some New Mexico homeowners can grow pomegranates


  • September 4
    Identify the cause of death of a plant before replacing the same kind of plant at the same site, or choose other plants to use
  • September 18
    It is difficult, but not impossible, to start new peach trees from cuttings
  • September 25
    You can rototill lawn clippings into the garden in the fall to decompose through the winter if they are herbicide free


  • October 2
    Exotic loquat fruit may, perhaps, be grown in protected areas of Southern New Mexico
  • October 9
    Science says that it is very unlikely for melons and cucumbers to hybridize, but maybe not impossible
  • October 16
    Pine needles are not toxic and make excellent mulch
  • October 30
    The first frost may not kill all garden plants-Sweet gum trees will grow in New Mexico, but are not the best trees for fall color.


  • November 6
    Western cherry fruit flies are a problem in cherries in some regions of New Mexico
  • November 13
    Don't eat bitter almonds that may have come from rootstocks
  • November 20
    You can move roses and other plants late in the dormant season, or pot them now to plant later
  • November 27
    Pine tree needles turn brown and fall off this doesn't necessarily mean your tree is unhealthy, and they can be used as beneficial mulch.


  • December 4
    Conifer aphids may persist through winter, but other aphids will disappear until spring
  • December 11
    Yellow-bellied sapsuckers can make holes in the trunks of trees
  • December 18
    Daffodil are very hardy, so do not worry if they start growing early
  • December 25
    You can prune evergreens now for a little holiday greenery, but do major pruning in late winter