Planting two trees in one hole only for experienced gardeners

Q: I live in North Las Vegas and want to plant both a red Bartlett and a Keiffer pear but have limited space. I read about planting two trees in one larger hole. Do you recommend this method?

A: This technique, planting multiple trees in a single planting hole, requires a higher degree of maintenance and knowledge to do it correctly than planting them separately. It is not easy, and I would not recommend it unless you are an experienced gardener, particularly in growing fruit trees.

The usual reason for growing multiple fruit trees very close to each other is for sequential harvest of fruit — harvesting fruit at different times of the year, rather than all at once. The most common fruit trees used for this are peaches, plums, pluots and apples.

In the shared hole (trees planted 18 to 24 inches apart), two to four fruit trees of the same general type are planted together. For instance, an early, mid and late peach (three trees) might be planted together. Or an early, mid and late plum. I have knowingly violated this rule, but it is best not to.

The reasoning behind this technique is that smaller amounts of fruit are produced at different times of the year, so an entire crop from a full-sized tree doesn’t all come in at the same time.

Planting a Keifer and red Bartlett pear in the same hole gives you two pears that produce fruit close to the same time of year. But it does, however, give you two pears used for very different purposes, so it might work if you like both fruits.

Red Bartlett and Kiefer pears are very different from each other. A Kiefer pear is not a dessert pear, whereas a Bartlett is. A Keifer is more of a cooking or salad pear. It tastes closer and is very firm, more like a jicama, than a Bartlett pear.

A red Bartlett pear tastes like a Bartlett pear, a dessert pear, but has red skin on the outside, instead of a green skin that turns yellow when ripe. In my opinion, the red Bartlett is a very pretty pear but requires a bit more care than a Keifer to grow.

Whichever pear you decide to grow, or both if you want to experiment with multiple trees planted in a single hole, it requires soil preparation with compost at planting time. I would highly recommend covering the soil with wood chips about 4 inches deep after you’ve finished planting.

Q: We have a 200-square-foot lawn (20 by 10) that turned brown because I think it got too much water. When we first put down the sod, I don’t know if we had a good soil base under it. How many inches of soil do we need to give new sod a good start?

A: Fall is the best time to install a new lawn, between Oct. 1 and about the middle of November, longer if the weather is still good. But please remember, a good lawn can’t survive in the desert without a good irrigation system. Make sure your irrigation system was designed and installed correctly.

Soil preparation before planting seed or sod is important before establishing a lawn, but it is possible to establish a lawn on poor soils and improve it later. I don’t recommend doing this, but it’s possible.

Part of the problem when laying new sod on top of desert soil is the layer, or interface, created where the bottom of the sod meets the top of the soil. This interface frequently creates drainage problems in contact with unimproved desert soils.

Poor drainage increases disease problems. Many homes in subdivisions have horrible soils created by developers and need improvement to be successful.

If the soil beneath the sod was not improved prior to laying it, water will “perch” or move very slowly into the unimproved soil beneath it. If the lawn area is not perfectly level, this perched water drains horizontally to low spots in a lawn. These low spots with poor drainage create the ideal environment for diseases during warm and hot weather.

If sod is laid on top of soil with poor drainage, the lawn area must be punched with holes so that water moves from this perched layer into the soil beneath it. This is done with devices called aerifiers and should be done within a couple of weeks after planting.

The most effective aerifiers are core aerifiers. Core aerifiers remove soil plugs when operated. Some aerifiers are operated manually and used for small lawns. Some are powered by gasoline engines, resemble a lawn mower and are rented for large lawns.

Ideally, the soil base under a lawn should be 12 inches deep. You could squeak by with a 6-inch soil base, but 12 inches would be ideal. Either bring in a manufactured soil for this purpose or create your own with compost, a rototiller and a drum roller.

If you elect to create your own soil base, apply 2 to 3 inches of 100 percent compost to the top of the soil and rototill as deep as possible. After rototilling, the soil must be firmed before laying the sod or seeding. Don’t forget to apply a starter fertilizer before planting.

If rototilling, the fastest way to firm the soil is to rent a drum roller made of heavy steel or one that is filled with water. Roll it over the loosened soil until the soil is firmed enough so walking causes your shoes to sink no more than 1/2 inch deep. After this you are ready to seed or sod.

Q: I am a relatively new transplant to Las Vegas from the cold part of the country with snow, ice and freezing temperatures. I have roses in my garden here and wondering how to care for them, given there is no real winter.

A: The concept of “no real winter” is a relative concept. In the cold country where I grew up, we claimed four seasons. But it could be argued there are only two for roses: winter, when nothing we can see is happening, and summer, when roses are blooming.

Actually, the Mojave Desert has a longer growing season for roses than snow country. Roses perform nicely for about eight months of the year in the eastern Mojave Desert. Floribundas, climbers, miniatures and even “off-the-wall” roses do well in this climate once you get your feet wet growing the easier ones.

Our real winter is the months of July and August and half the months of June and September. But for the most part, roses perform quite well the rest of the year if you select the right variety, put them in a good location, plant and manage them correctly.

Against a south facing wall, roses do very well during the winter but perform horribly during the heat of the summer. On the east facing side of the landscape with protection from late afternoon sun, the same roses perform well but at different times of the year.

Select a good rose variety. Visit the Weeks Roses website and select rose varieties from this list:

Plant them in a good location. The easiest spot will be facing east with protection from mid and late afternoon direct sunlight during the summer. Expand into more difficult areas as your experience with roses increases.

Amend the soil with good quality compost or other high-quality soil amendments at planting time. Do not mulch (cover the soil after planting) with rock. Use mulch that decomposes, such as wood chips, which helps improve the soil over time.

Visit either of the Rose Society meetings in the Las Vegas Valley: the Las Vegas Valley Rose Society or the South Valley Rose Society: or

The hot, dry desert climate is a wonderful climate for roses. Remember the Damascus rose!

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at Send questions to

The Mob Museum
Saddle bronc rider Joey Sonnier earns spot at NFR after overcoming years of drug addiction
Joey Sonnier started saddle bronc riding at 18, but at 20 he began using methamphetamine to cope with the work of the rodeos and became addicted. At 39, after years of addiction and a low point that pushed him to rehab, he's qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Core Arena opens at the Plaza downtown in time for NFR
Core Arena, downtown's first permanent outdoor equestrian center, opens to the public at the Plaza. The arena will be used for events throughout the year, including the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center.
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
NFR Preps Livestock for the Limelight
NFR’s Jed Pugsley discusses the care that goes into preparing the rodeo’s livestock for Las Vegas’ big event.
Grand Menorah lighting begins Hanukkah
Rabbi Shea Harlig led the ceremonial lighting of the menorah to begin Hanukkah at the Fremont Street Experience. There were also performances by the Desert Torah Academy's choir and the Dancing Dreidels. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission. It's something she started even before the rescue mission was her beneficiary; she just felt a need to collect toys and teamed up with them later. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Marvin Menzies on Cincinnati
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Cincinnati and his own program. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joey Logano talks about Champions Week in Las Vegas
NASCAR champion Joey Logano talks about the future of Champion's Week in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 28, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain hits Las Vegas Valley
Widespread rain hit the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Valley Hit with Rain, Clouds
Rain and clouds hit the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday afternoon.
Ducks have Lorenzi Park to themselves
Thursday’s rain kept people inside, leaving Lorenzi Park to the ducks.
Kyle Busch Reflects On Disappointing End To Nascar Season
Kyle Busch reflects on disappointing end to his 2018 season during NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 28, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Animal Foundation's Lost & Found offers community options for lost pets
The Lost & Found at The Animal Foundation allows members of the community to turn in lost pets or retrieve them. They recently started using the Finding Rover app that uses facial recognition to find and report lost pets.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is a Blast
Brookman Elementary School sets world record
All 776 students at Brookman Elementary School helped set a world record by connecting a chain of pipe cleaners that measured more than 11 miles. Student got 10 pipe cleaners for every book they read. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV’s football players painted the Fremont Cannon red in celebration to their victory against Reno.
UNLV’s football players painted the Fremont Cannon red outside of the Student Union in celebration to their victory against in-state rival the University of Reno. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Barn Buddies Rescue
Barn Buddies Rescue is a non-profit dedicated to the rescue of abused, neglected or abandoned farm animals.
R-J's Mark Anderson on UNLV's victory
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's victory over Southern Utah. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on beating Southern Utah
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about the victory over Southern Utah. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Michigan State talks Las Vegas Invitational win
The Spartans defeated Texas 78-68 at Orleans Arena on Friday.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Armani Rogers on his return to playing
UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers talks about being back on the field. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Black Friday at Fry's
Shoppers line up for deals early on Black Friday at Fry's Electronics on Las Vegas Boulevard South. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Menzies on state of UNLV's team
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about where his team stands after four games. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tony Sanchez on possibly changing the UNR date
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez talks about the idea of changing the UNR date to Nevada Day. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Women’s shelter gets $1.5 million dollar renovation
The Shade Tree, which offers food, shelter, facilities and services to women, gets a $1.5 million dollar renovation.
UNLV's Drew Tejchman on playing safety
UNLV wide receiver Drew Tejchman talks about also playing safety. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Hailey Dawson Day
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like