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.