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Queen palms require much to survive here

Question: During the excessive hot spell in July, our irrigation failed while we were out of town. As a result, one of our queen palms lost all of its branches. In spite of subsequent life support, it does not appear to be coming back. Is that too much to hope for? Is there anything we can do to help it recover, or should we just mourn its passing?

Damage to covered oleanders may be minimal

Reports from the weather station at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension orchard in North Las Vegas put the low temperatures Dec. 6 and 10 at 20 F with daytime highs around the same as the inside of a refrigerator. I am sure this caused some damage to plants. I posted the weather report on my blog for those interested.

Winter-tender trees best planted early fall, spring

Question: I have seven fruit trees, including some citrus, that I planted in half whiskey barrels about three years ago. They all have had fruit the past two years. I want to transplant them into the ground in order to get more fruit. Is it best to transplant them in the fall or early spring?

Wood mulch can cause collar rot

Question: I planted about 12 gardenias a couple of months ago, and they appear to be dying. I checked the soil, and it’s evenly damp. They have two, 2 gallon-per-hour emitters, and they were all being watered three times a week for 20 minutes.

Prune flowering shrubs just after a bloom

Question: When is it best to prune crape myrtle? I’ve heard before winter and again just before spring. The last two years, I trimmed back the branches (it is only about 5 feet tall) about one-third of the way in late February. What is right? We live in Aliante.

Taste best way to tell if lemon is ripe

Q. How do I determine the best time to pick lemons? Mine are yellow with some being very firm and others feeling “givey.” This has been a good year and my Meyer lemon “bush” will afford us lemon curd and juice for the next year.

Be gentle with au naturel trees

Question: This question is regarding our bottle tree. Should we trim and shape the tree? It has grown to a considerable height. The wind, appearance, and health of the tree are our concerns. Does the cracking on the trunk need addressing? And should I wrap the trunk in winter?

Non-desert trees in lawns require deep watering

Question: I had a 3-year-old mesquite tree in my front yard that just blew over in the wind today. The landscapers planted it in the grass without a drip system. I was told watering the lawn would be enough for the tree. Today, the landscapers told me it fell because of the roots being at the surface. Do you recommend putting in the drip line for a new tree?

Pistachios appreciate desert climate

Question: We are considering planting a couple of pistachio trees. Is this a good move? If so, should we plant them in full sunlight or in a spot that gets sun only part of the day?

Pomegranates can vary in color - inside and out

Q: I planted a pomegranate tree two years ago and this year it produced six fruits. One was of decent size while the others were on the small side. When the large one split, I picked it only to find the inside was light pink. The seeds were well-developed but not the expected red color.

Miniature trees work better in containers

Question: I’m super excited to order some fruit trees this year from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Orchard, but it only makes sense for us to have them in large containers. Which varieties would do well in containers?

Apple production time varies

Question: I live in Summerlin and have a Bartlett pear tree. I wish to plant an apple with a harvest time far from the Bartlett pear so I don’t have too much fruit at once. Which apple varieties would be best? I have received conflicting information from local sources.

Older fig trees require more water

Question: I have one black mission and one white fig planted six years ago. The second crop of figs are small and easily fall off. I’m guessing they get 6 gallons every other day during the heat. Both trees grow very rapidly and are very healthy. What can be done to increase fig growth?