58°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Delay grape pruning as long as possible

I finished pruning the more than 300 table and wine grapes Sunday at The Orchard at Ahern in downtown Las Vegas. New growth was just starting on a few of the vines.

I delay pruning grapes as long as possible in the spring to reduce disease possibilities and avoid any late spring frost damage after pruning. Immediately after pruning grapes, consider applying a fungicide to the vines if there were problems with grape bunch diseases last year. Repeat the fungicide application if it rains.

It’s normal for grapes to “bleed” after they have been pruned in the spring. Don’t worry. Water will stop coming from the pruning cuts when new growth appears.

Effective fungicide sprays for homeowners include the copper fungicides such as Bordeaux. Fungicides primarily protect new growth from getting infections primarily through the pruning cuts.

Unlike insecticides such as Sevin or even organic soap and water sprays, which kill insects, fungicides primarily suppress diseases and help keep these diseases from spreading to new growth. That’s why it’s important to repeat it after a rain, which can wash the fungicide from the vine.

Q: I am working on a new project serving middle and high school kids. The idea of fruit trees around their garden area came up, and I’m wondering what trees you would suggest. They will have approximately nine trees spaced on a grid.

A: Make sure the trees are spaced a minimum of 10 feet apart and are semi-dwarf. All fruit trees should be grafted onto dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstocks (Citation for stone fruit, M111 for apples, OHxF333 for pears). If you don’t know the rootstock, then the plant label should say “semi-dwarf” or “dwarf,” not “standard.”

Because these are kids and they are normally not in school from June to September, I would think you would avoid trees that produce fruit then. That still leaves you with early producers like May Pride, Early Grande, FlordaKing, FlordaPrince or Earlitreat peach; Flavorosa pluot; and Royal Rosa, Flavor Giant, Katy or Gold Kist apricot. They should produce fruit from late May until maybe early June.

For late-producing fruit trees, I would pick Pink Lady or Sundowner (red) or Mutsu (green) apple; Bartlett, Red Bartlett or Bosc pear, your favorite pomegranate; Flavor Grenade or Flavor Finale pluots; Emerald Beaut plum; and Giant Fuyu or any Fuyu or Chocolate persimmon.

I would suggest avoiding late-producing peach. I would avoid any nectarines because of the scarring of fruit from insects. Nectarines are difficult to produce without spraying for insects. No late peaches because there aren’t any good ones in my opinion. The best peaches are in late June, July and August.

Be careful not to plant fruit trees based upon recommendations from people not living in desert regions. The tree will most likely grow, but it’s more of a question about the quality of the fruit it produces. It’s different. An interesting exploration for these children would be to compare the quality of the fruit produced by their trees with the quality of fruit purchased at the grocery store.

Dave Wilson Nursery online has a harvest calendar that you can download to your computer for reference. The harvest schedule is for central California but is very close to harvest times in Southern Nevada with a few exceptions. Be careful of fruit recommendations from nondesert climates.

Q: I found some black spots at the base of my saguaro. I attempted to move it, and it wobbled back and forth. I’ll be taking it out this spring if you think that is what should be done.

A: The wobbling and appearance of black spots on the outside of the saguaro tell me that it’s probably getting watered too often and the water applied is too close to the trunk. Those black spots or cankers indicate an internal rotting of the tree.

That wobbling is bothersome to me. These plants need to be firmly anchored into the soil if they are to remain upright.

In nature, the roots of the saguaro might spread out eight times its height. That provides firm anchorage in the soil. To get this kind of anchorage, water needs to be applied deep and infrequently and at large distances from, and including, the plant.

That can be done in several ways. One method is to grow other plants coming from the same climate zone at different distances from the saguaro. Irrigation supplied to these plants will be enough to encourage the roots from the saguaro to spread out.

Enough water should be applied about a foot deep for the first couple of years. As the saguaro gets taller, this water should be applied so it percolates 2 to 3 feet deep.

Another method — and one that I really prefer — is to take a hose on a mechanical timer and inexpensive sprinkler and turn the water on for one hour. I would do this on both sides of the saguaro about 6 feet from the trunk with the water reaching the saguaro.

Do it three times: in early spring, once in the summer and again in the fall. The timing encourages root growth of desert plants but avoids the growth of Bermuda grass. If you see some Bermuda growing, whack the top off with a hoe or shovel as soon as you see it. Do this once a week until it’s gone.

You can find out more about this and what to do by Googling “University of Arizona” and “problems and pests of cacti.” Scroll down, and a link should appear that will take it to the publication on how to control diseases of agave, cacti and yucca. Make sure you use a sharp and sanitized knife.

It’s your call on whether to remove it or try to rescue it.

Q: I believe I have a Bears lemon tree. It was growing in the ground, then transplanted to a 22-inch planter last fall. For a variety of reasons, I finally transplanted it to my raised bed a few weeks ago and used the rejuvenate soil mix from ViraGrow. I cut off one-third of the top when moving it, but the leaves are still yellow, and I don’t see any new growth. I don’t believe the tree is dying, but it’s not healthy. Is it the soil?

A: First, not that it makes any difference, but if you have Bears, it might be a lime, not a lemon. That might affect when it’s harvested. The rejuvenate soil mix drains easily provided the hole drains water. If the hole drained water in six to eight hours, everything is fine. Just don’t water the tree every day.

The yellowing and poor growth are most likely from recovery from the damage during transplanting. Yellow older leaves stay yellow even if everything is wonderful.

Watch the new growth coming out. That’s the key. If the new growth is green and not yellow, that indicates the tree is doing well. The yellow leaves will be replaced visually by dark green leaves later.

Make sure you are not watering too often. I am watering established fruit trees with wood chips on top of the soil once a week all during February. This irrigation frequency is to push new growth and fruit production.

If trees were just planted (or transplanted), I water twice immediately after planting and then about twice a week, every three to four days, until new growth appears. Once strong new growth appears, once a week should be often enough until about mid-April if the soil is covered in wood chips.

Make sure the tree is staked solidly in the ground to keep the roots from moving during establishment. I use a 3- or 4-foot-long 3/16 rebar pounded in the ground right next to a new 5- or 15-gallon tree, and the tree is tied to it only for the first growing season. I tie the tree to the rebar tightly with stretchable green nursery tape.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Cars line up for over 4 miles for food
Cars were lined up along Sahara Avenue from Palace Station to South Rainbow Boulevard for food distribution sponsored by Three Square and Central Church in Henderson.
Two large fires hit parts of the Las Vegas Valley - VIDEO
Renee Summerour wraps up the two large fire that hit part of the Las Vegas Valley Late Wednesday , early morning Thursday. RJ reporter Glenn Puit was at both scenes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas hotels light up their windows to show support during shutdown - VIDEO
Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip lit up their windows with hearts and messages to show support during the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday night, April 1. (Le'Andre Fox and James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Isolation and quarantine center for homeless at Cashman Center - VIDEO
A new isolation and quarantine center for homeless is under construction at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, March 31. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Day care changes hours and takes extra steps to help guardians - VIDEO
Sarah Washington, whose children attend Discovery Gardens Childcare, shares the importance of the facility’s hour changes, and child care director Ariella Thomas discusses some other changes Discovery Gardens Childcare has made, in Las Vegas on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Elipagephoto
Costco reduces hours at Las Vegas Valley stores, gasoline pumps - VIDEO
Costco announced it will reduce hours at its stores and gas pumps starting Monday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigate apparent murder-suicide
Las Vegas police investigate an apparent murder-suicide in the 3900 block of Chasing Heart Way on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Homeless outreach organization feeds people in age of social distancing - VIDEO
Homeless outreach organization Food Not Bombs handed out sack lunches, hygiene kits and blankets on Foremaster Lane in Las Vegas, Thursday, March 26, 2020. Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, which has temporarily closed its dining room and emergency night shelter, also handed out to-go lunches on Foremaster Lane. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada gets an A for social distancing
In an interactive Scoreboard by tech company Unacast, organizations can measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada construction continues as coronavirus spreads
When Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada businesses closed, he let construction workers stay on the job, deeming homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work.
Pedestrian struck, killed in western Las Vegas Valley crash - VIDEO
Las Vegas police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed in a crash Wednesday night in the west valley. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigate fatal crash in east Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police said a pedestrian was killed when they were hit by a vehicle near Sloan Lane and of East Charleston Boulevard on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seeing teachers at a distance, closed parks and lack of toilet paper - VIDEO
The neighboring towns of Logandale and Overton, northeast of Las Vegas, are experiencing the effects of coronavirus, with closed schools and playgrounds and fewer items in grocery stores. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas residents enjoy the snow at Lee Canyon - VIDEO
Las Vegas residents get out to enjoy the snow at Lee Canyon on Mount Charleston. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Post office stays open amidst shutdown - VIDEO
Mail delivery and services at post offices continues despite the coronavirus crisis. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 person dies in east Las Vegas fire - VIDEO
One person and a dog were found dead after a fire in a detached structure adjacent to a house near East Monroe Avenue and North Betty Lane in east Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon increase pay amid coronavirus impact - VIDEO
Grocery stores and other retailers have raised employee pay as they work to meet customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
High winds move clouds across the Las Vegas Valley - Time-lapse video
Isolated showers depart when gusty winds move in probably remain through Wednesday, March 25, when another storm front is expected. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown's Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign moving to Neon Museum - VIDEO
Yesco workers remove the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard on Monday, March 23, 2020. The sign, which has been at the location for five years, will be displayed at the Neon Museum. A museum representative said a replacement neon sign is in the works. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Distance Learning challenges for Clark County School District - VIDEO
Renee Summerour sits down with RJ reporter Aleksandra Appleton to discuss the challenges the Clark County School District is facing with Distance Learning, a program that was slated to begin Monday, March 23. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Deliver with Dignity will give 100 families meals today - VIDEO
“Deliver with Dignity” was created “to bring high-quality meals directly to the most vulnerable families in the Las Vegas Valley, keeping them and the community safe by reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.” (Facebook/Clark County)
CCSD board holds an emergency meeting on Distance Learning - VIDEO
The Clark County School Board held an emergency meeting on Monday morning, the day that distance learning was supposed to begin at all schools in Nevada. (Clark County School District)
Las Vegas Valley residents make medical masks for health care workers - VIDEO
Anissa Gustafson has spent most of her week sewing masks in an effort to assist health care workers in the Las Vegas Valley who are running out because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coronavirus patients could inundate hospitals - VIDEO
RJ Investigations reporter Michael S. Davidson talks about how a rapid influx of coronavirus patients could soon inundate Nevada hospitals, pushing them past their capacity and threatening health care workers’ safety. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
M Resort donates food surplus to workers - VIDEO
The M Resort donated a surplus of perishable food supplies to team members after the closure of the hotel due to a shutdown of nonessential businesses in Nevada, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Costco reserved earliest hour for seniors - VIDEO
People line up outside Costco in Henderson after the store reserved earliest hour for seniors on Friday, March 20, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2 pedestrians injured after being hit by vehicle - VIDEO
Two men were injured when they were hit by a car on Warm Springs Road near Bruce Street in southeast Las Vegas on Friday, March 20, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas shopping lines still long - VIDEO
Senior shoppers line up at 7 a.m. outside of Smith's Marketplace on Skye Canyon Park Drive in northwest Las Vegas, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dos and Dont's: Cleaning your smartphone of germs - VIDEO
Check out the dos and dont's for cleaning your phone of germs. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More Las Vegas Valley grocery stores offer early hours for seniors - VIDEO
A growing list of Las Vegas Valley retailers are offering special shopping hours for seniors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Missing hiker's sister on staying hopeful - Video
Karsta Lucas, the sister of Ronnie Lucas, a hiker missing at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, said Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that family members remain hopeful the 33-year-old diabetic will be found safe despite spending two nights in the open without his insulin. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search continues for missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon - Video
Volunteers come out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area west of Las Vegas to help find a hiker, Ronnie Lucas, who went missing on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search for missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon - Video
Red Rock Search & Rescue is looked for the missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on Monday, Feb. 10, 2010. The man was reported missing on Sunday. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officials celebrate opening of Las Vegas park named for slain officer - Video
Top public officials came together Friday morning to celebrate the grand opening of Officer Alyn Beck Memorial Park in the northwest valley, named after a police officer killed in the line of duty in 2014. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wrong-way driver causes fatal crash near Las Vegas airport, authorities say - VIDEO
A suspected impaired motorist driving the wrong way on the Airport Connector caused a crash that killed another driver near McCarran International Airport early Friday morning, Jan. 17, 2020, according to law enforcement. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The car that Tupac was shot in is for sale - VIDEO
The vehicle that legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was riding in when he was shot after a boxing match in Las Vegas is up for auction. The black 1996 BMW 7 Series is listed by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas for $1.75 million. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Standard-sized apple tree cannot be pruned to dwarf size

Standard-sized apple trees may grow to 35 or 40 feet in height. You might be able to keep a standard-sized tree under 20 feet tall through pruning, but the standard-sized apple tree is just too vigorous for pruning to short heights.

Rainy conditions can cause diseases in plants

A disease called fire blight might pop up in some pear and apple trees beginning around May. It can be common several weeks after spring rains, particularly if trees were flowering. It can lead to tree death if not controlled when it’s first seen.

Mexican petunia needs to be contained to area

My experience with Mexican petunia is that it grows like a weed, and I consider it the broadleaf version of Bermuda grass, aka devil grass. If it’s contained in an area and prevented from spreading into the landscape, I think it will be OK.

Check for borers after rainfall

An infrequent desert rain is not a problem. But when irrigation water is applied over and over to a soil that is normally dry, these soils shift, collapse and chemically change. In urban landscapes, this can be potentially destructive.

Sanitize blades of loppers, hand shears before using

When preparing to prune plants, follow these three rules: adjusting loppers or hand shears so they don’t rip plants instead of cutting them, making sure the blade is sharp for the same reason and sanitizing the blades.

Olive tree will outgrow container so plant in ground

Desert willow can look shaggy during the winter because of the brown seedpods that hang from the tree. The seedpods provide a good supply of birdseed for various desert birds during the fall and winter months.