Southwest Yard and Garden

This column comes through the Grant County Extension Service out of New Mexico State University.

swyg1Peach tree stem infested with aphids is likely going to defoliate completely, but this early in the growing season there’s a good chance it will bounce back and be covered in new leaves in no time. Photo credits M. Thompson.

Question: What’s causing our peach tree leaves to wither and curl up completely and should we also be worried about our apricot trees nearby?

Lorraine J., Los Lunas, NM

Late April to early May is usually a safe time to move houseplants outside in most of New Mexico, but transition carefully and watch the forecast!

frost damage on houseplants wikicommonsThis aloe plant was frostbitten so badly it might not make it. Image from Dezidor, Wikimedia Commons.

Reprint from April 2011. Written by Dr. Curtis Smith, retired NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, with additions by Dr. Marisa Thompson. 

Question: Is it safe to put houseplants outside now? After I moved my plants outside last year most of the leaves died.

jujube tasting workshop sept 2017 shengrui yaoJujube fruit from different cultivars on display for the annual Jujube Tasting Workshop held in Alcalde each September. Some cultivars are sweeter and others are tangier. Photo credit S. Yao.

Question: What fruit trees are recommended for my area?

Karena, Dulce, NM

jeroens plum and peach in clovis 2019 copyPlum buds (left) are in “bud burst” and “first white” stages of floral development. Thirty minutes of exposure to temperatures in the mid-20s are expected to kill 10% of buds in these stages, and temperatures in the low 20s might kill as much as 90% of the flower buds. Peach buds (right) in this “first pink” stage are slightly more resilient than plum buds. Temperatures in the mid-20s are still expected to kill 10% of the buds, but in order to kill 90% temperatures would have to drop into the mid-teens. Photo credit J. van der Ploeg.

img 0442 2Pomegranates can create beautiful color when leaves turn bright yellow in fall. In this October photo taken at the NMSU Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, ‘Afganski’ cultivar pomegranates are the foreground and tall ‘Encore’ peaches with dark orange leaves are in the back. Photo credit M Thompson.

Question: When should I prune my pomegranate tree and how much wood should be removed during pruning?

 - Extension Master Gardener Trainees in Valencia and Bernalillo Counties

By guest contributor Dr. Gill Giese

powdery mildew evident on leaf top surface. giese copyPowdery mildew evident on leaf top surface is easier to see when leaf is turned “sideways” to catch light on infection sites that are in sporulation. Photo credit G. Giese.

Question: My husband and I are planting a few Marquette grape vines this year in Santa Fe. I would like to plant a tree approximately 8 feet from the vines. Could you recommend some trees that would be “a good idea” to plant close by? I read that planting a rose bush at the vines will help to indicate any diseases since the roses would get this first. Is this a good thing to do? Are rabbits a problem with grape vines? We have quite a few roaming freely. Should we protect the vines with a net around them?

with guest contributors Dr. Carol Sutherland and Dr. John Formby

pinon1Black specks on these older, browned piñon needles at a park in Albuquerque back in in March 2018 are a sign of a piñon needle scale infection. (Photo by M. Thompson.)

Question: I took these photos on one of the piñon trees nearest our house. We have thousands of piñon here on our land and our neighbor’s land, some of which have died within 12–14 days of turning brown. We would hate to see an epidemic, but it does seem to be spreading. What is it and what should we do?

- Paula P., Mora, NM (submitted via NMSU Extension Agent for Mora County, Suzanne DeVos-Cole)

silverleaf nightshade flower w 15Silverleaf nightshade flowers are beautiful, but these weeds are invasive and parts of the plant are toxic to humans and animals. Photo from NMSU Extension Guide “Silverleaf Nightshade” W-15.

By guest contributor Dr. Leslie Beck 

Question: Silverleaf nightshade and nutsedge are taking over parts of my yard! Please help. Organic control options are appreciated.

Helen B., Las Cruces, NM