Right now is the time to prune grapes. Prune citrus now if there has been damage from cold weather. If your citrus is young, prune it to tree form, removing side shoots to about the height of your knees. I delay pruning citrus and grapes until I am sure most of the cold weather has passed, which is mid- to late February.
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Q: Recently you recommended applying compost to lawns. I am confused if you mean steer manure. How often do you recommend doing this? When should I do my first application? My lawn is approximately 1,000 square feet. How much compost should I buy?
Q: We have seven large olive trees on our property. In the past, we used two different local tree services to spray our trees to minimize the amount of olive production. One company told us we needed two applications in early spring, and the other said we only needed one. Both came at a very high cost, and the results left much to be desired. Every day we had to sweep up hundreds of olives. Do you have any suggestions as to what might work and the timing of when the trees should be sprayed?
Q: I have a lawn that did not do well this last summer. It browned and had a few patches that had some sort of infection and die-off. We added compost in early fall, and the lawn perked up quite a bit, but it browned again considerably even though it is a fescue blend that should remain green through our winter. I think it probably needs another application of compost at some point. When should I add compost again?
Q: Do you prefer neem oil or horticultural oil when spraying fruit trees?
Q: I am putting in 30 more wine grapevines. I was thinking of using chat, crushed rock, for mulch rather than wood chips. What do you think?
Q: How long after planting Mexican fan palms should you wait before feeding? I’ve heard that feeding too soon could stress palms. Is steer manure any good?
The most frequently asked question asked in 2016 concerned fig trees. Readers wanted to know why their fig trees did not produce good fruit. Either the fruit dropped from the tree when it was small, or the fruit clung to the tree and never became large but remained small, hard and dry.
Q: Should I be pruning my lemon and grapefruit bushes now?
I am giving a class on pruning fruit trees at the Master Gardener Orchard, 4600 Horse Drive in North Las Vegas, from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday. The class is free and open to the public. For more information call the master gardener help desk at 702-257-5555. More classes will be offered at the orchard on pruning fruit trees every Saturday during the month of January.
Q: It got to 30 degrees overnight in Boulder City. I’m worried about my little 6-foot lemon tree in a 5-gallon pot on the porch. I placed a queen-size bed sheet over the tree and hung a 100-watt incandescent lamp from a branch last night. I’m hoping that small amount of heat will raise the temperatures above freezing. Is this necessary?
Temperatures turned cold this past week. Historically, we still have about three or four more weeks of warm weather so it probably will get warm again soon. But if you plant vegetables from seed, these cold soil temperatures should still be warm enough to germinate radish, peas, beets, possibly carrots and turnips.
Fall and early winter are excellent times to prevent insect problems that occur next year. I received reports of worms or grubs feeding now on the roots of plants. The most common are white grubs.
Reading some of the national gardening blogs and articles gives me a chuckle. Frequently they are out of touch with gardening and horticulture in the desert Southwest. For instance, one recently said there was little to do during the winter months. Obviously, they have never lived in our climate.
Q: We have lost a tremendous section of our garden. In researching, it appears fire blight disease is the problem. Our red-tip photinia was the first and, in a very short time, it looked as if someone had taken a flame thrower to the plants. Euonymus hedges, flowering pink hawthorn and some rose bushes are starting to show the same problem.
Hot weather favors lawn diseases common here. Now is an optimum time for controlling lawn diseases before they in get into full swing. If your lawn had disease in the past, now is a good time to apply a fungicide. Fungicides are primarily preventive and work best when they are applied before the disease rears its ugly head.
Historically, the last frost date is March 15 in the Las Vegas Valley. Planting warm-season vegetables before this date, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, can be a bit risky because of a chance for frost.
You had an article a while back about trimming oleander down before spring. I have five in my backyard and have never done that. I am afraid to trim them down.
Powdery mildew of grapes is also a problem if there is not enough air movement through the vine or past the bunches so they dry. It is best if the vine is growing in full sun.
When can we cut back star Jasmine and plant lantana?
I was reading about your use of pheromone traps for insect control in fruit trees. Which traps do you use, and when do you put them out?
Is there a difference between rosemary used for cooking and rosemary used in landscaping?
I have a major borer problem with my nectarine tree. I will be removing it and replanting. Do I need to treat the soil before I plant another tree?
A friend of mine is having trouble with his century plants, agave and cactuses turning yellow in June and July. These plants are in a rock yard with hand watering. They are 2 years old.
We have a critter attacking our lemons. It does not eat the fruit, only the peel. It eats the peel so cleanly that the bare fruit is left hanging on the tree.
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