Here are some questions I encountered this past week.
Question: Why are my oleander canes drooping?
Answer: They are heavy with blossoms causing the drooping. Enjoy the blooms and then prune them back. Pruning stiffens the canes and causes new canes to emerge.
Q: What can I do to keep the rabbits out of my yard? I’ve tried everything the nurseries sell.
A: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Phoenix put together a list of plants but they are quick to tell you it is not foolproof. “If rabbits are hungry enough, they’ll eat just about anything. If possible, protect all new plants with chicken wire for 30 days.” For a list of rabbit-resistant plants, visit http://www.mswn.com/media/rabbit_resistant.pdf.
Q: Why didn’t my peach tree produce any peaches this spring?
A: There are several possibilities why it didn’t produce any fruit: The late frost may have killed the buds; or you removed too much of last year’s growth removing your fruiting buds; or your tree was stressed for nutrients and/or water so no fruiting wood develop to produce any fruit buds. It takes fertilizer and lots of water to produce the new growth.
Here is a short version of the process your trees go through each year. Peaches need to produce upward of 12 to 14 inches of new wood each year. In the early spring after blooming and fruit set, your tree then develops new twigs. New fruiting buds develop along the first half of these new twigs. The other half of the twig develops leaves to nourish the present fruit and energy for the plant. It’s next year, these buds produce your peaches.
Q: How do I kill the towering palm stumps I just cut down? I’ve been told to use rock salt or crankcase oil.
A: You already killed the palms when you removed the heart of the palm found in the top of the tree. Do not use the salt or oil; they’ll destroy any microbial activity to break down the stumps. Your nursery sells a stump composter product, but it takes time to completely breakdown. Call in a tree service to grind up your stumps and replant your desired trees after.
Q: How can we keep the leaf-footed plant bugs from damaging our pomegranates this year?
A: This unique insect is about ¾-inch long and its hind legs have what looks like leaves on them, hence the leaf-foot in its name. Its long snout pierces the fruit causing it to rot. This bug starts showing up in May, so through the summer, jet wash them away but expect others to come back, especially as they near maturity. You can spray them with organic products such as neem or insecticidal soap.
Q: When do I shade my tomatoes?
A: Anytime now as our temperatures start to get into the 90s, especially if you have exposed fruit to prevent burning. Your nursery sells shade cloth.
Q: Is it safe to use a galvanized horse trough for a veggie garden?
A: Yes but make sure you provide drainage. Paint the trough’s exterior white to deflect the heat. Also be very attentive to your veggies’ watering needs because of the added heat.
Q: How do I set my irrigation clock to drip irrigate my oleanders and other shrubs and trees?
A: The Southern Nevada Water Authority website, www.snwa.com, shows you step by step how to set your clock for the different plants in your yard. Keep in mind a drip system must run longer than sprinklers because it delivers water much slower. The authority suggests three days a week during the summer, two days a week during the fall and spring and once a week during the winter. If you see signs of stress, increase the watering time or add emitters near the stressed plants.
Q: How can I prevent those urine burns caused by my dog?
A: Dog urine is so concentrated nothing will grow in those spots. If possible, control the time you allow your dogs on the lawn. Right after, sprinkle the lawn to dilute the problem. If you can’t control the dog visits, nurseries sell products to drive them away.
BLAZING MUM SALE
The Las Vegas Chrysanthemum Society is holding its annual plant sale from 8 a.m. until sold out Saturday at Plant World Nursery, 5301 W. Charleston Blvd. This is your chance to get some very exotic award-winning unusual mums, such as large (football) mums or spider mums, you can’t get anywhere else.
Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 702-526-1495.