Question: Do you have any suggestions on fruit trees for the Amargosa Valley area? I have an apiary out there, so I try to plant things that are good for the bees but that will survive the heat and cold.
Nearly all of the fruit trees that do well in the Las Vegas Valley will do well in Amargosa Valley. You have a commercial winery there that sells its grapes to Pahrump Winery, and this orchard began producing olive oil this past year.
The problem with fruit trees is that they have a narrow window for flowering, and so the bees only get to work them for a short period. Fruit trees that have a longer flowering period would be pomegranate, or you could spread your flowering time out with different types of fruit trees.
Early bloomers are the stone fruit, such as peaches, apricots and plums, and later, the pome fruits, such as apples and pears, begin flowering.
Vegetable crops and flowers would give your bees a lot to work with for a longer period. You should have a lot of leafcutter bees out there from the alfalfa.
Make hauling water to their hives as easy for them as possible during the hot summer. Make sure the source of water available to them is clean, and you should have no shortage of bees. This could be irrigated basins at the fruit trees that are operating when bees are flying.
Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.