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Las Vegas garden festival offers respite from difficult week

“This is my happy place,” Cheyenne Kelly said smiling, looking around the Vegas Roots Community Garden, which hosted the second annual Grow Your Own Festival on Saturday. “And I love seeing it flush with so many people.”

Western boxelder bugs can damage fruit on trees

Q: I found 50 to 100 red and black beetles running around the rocks in my yard while I was pulling weeds. If these numbers are representative, I must have thousands. A friend thinks they may be boxelder bugs, but I don’t have any boxelder trees in my yard. The pictures of boxelder bugs online are similar but do not look exactly like these. So what are they and should I declare war on them and begin spraying?

Sap bleeding from tree may indicate borer infestation

Q: About 1/3 of my fruit trees are dying. Some of the branches on a sick tree look healthy; some of the branches on the same tree look dead. There is sap coming from some of the trees. I fear it is a borer infestation. I am scraping the bark and spraying with Neem oil. What do you think?

Sanitation, pruning key to removing diseased parts of plant

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.

Be careful where planting because many desert trees have invasive root systems

Q: I would like to replace a huge mulberry tree in my front yard; roots are very invasive, but the shade is wonderful. We have a west-facing home. I would like to replace it with a small bay laurel for cooking purposes and a shoestring acacia for shade. Are these trees invasive, and would both be too much?

Star jasmine should recover from exposure to full sun

Q: My next-door neighbor cut down large pine trees that shaded my wall of star jasmine two days ago. Is there any point trying to rig a shade cloth to get through the rest of the summer hoping they can “harden off” to full sun or should I basically pronounce them dead and start the grieving process now?

Spray insecticide on prickly pear if used as ornamental

Q: I appear to have a massive infestation of white, cottony cochineal scale on my prickly pear cactus. I can usually get most of it off by hosing, but much of it is hard to reach. Beyond hosing, what insecticide or other kind of solutions do you recommend? Permanent, if possible!

Pruning oleander will eliminate flowers for a while

Q: My oleanders need trimming. They are still blooming and the weather is hot. Is it safe to trim them now or did I miss my opportunity?

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