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.
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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.
We use a white, breathable fabric for some of our tender desert plants when there's a chance of freezing temperatures.
Pomegranate bugs can be defeated
Grape leaf skeletonizers have multiple generations during the growing season and protection from Bt only lasts a few days.
Canary palms are susceptible to a disease called Fusarium that can contaminate the soil in the planting hole and prevent you from planting a new one in that spot.
The best time to transplant a Joshua tree is in mid- to late spring, but with this plant it could be done in summer as well. The worst times are fall and early winter months. Stay away from these months for planting a Joshua.
Fall plants can be started now
Q: I enjoy your column, but you never write about roses. We inherited 14-year-old bushes. The bushes are important, and they should look nice.
Basil, cilantro and Italian parsley are easy to grow here if you prepared your soil adequately and grow them at the right time of year.
Leafhoppers are very small and jump rather than fly. There can be hundreds if not thousands right about now on grapes. They cause some leaf yellowing, black specks on the leaves and fruit.
Question: I want to plant potatoes here in Las Vegas. Our season is timed different than others, though, so there aren't seed potatoes available now for a mid- or late July planting.
Q: I read with interest your column in the Review-Journal on watering. Our small lawn seems to be dying in patches. We water four days a week for 20 minutes at 11 p.m. We regularly feed with Turf Builder Plus and Ironite. What should we do?
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