weather icon Clear

Some palms slow to mold into mulch

Question: I was told by a landscaping company that the fronds from Mexican fan palms cannot be chipped and recycled into mulch because they are too alkaline. This was news to me! Your opinion regarding that palms-too-alkaline-for-mulch theory would be appreciated.

I don’t know why they are giving that information on palm fronds. We do not chip and recycle them at the orchard because they decompose so slowly.

Some palms have some very impressive sharp thorns that could impale a tennis shoe or sandal easily. We don’t use mesquite for the same reason. Otherwise, we would use them for mulching but probably not for composting due to their slow breakdown.

Whenever plants decompose, they tend to acidify the soil or make the soil less alkaline. If you can chip them small enough, they would be fine to chip, mulch and compost. We don’t do it for the above reasons.

Bob Morris is an associate professor with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. He can be reached at morrisr@unce.unr.edu or 257-5555.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Deep watering stakes not necessarily needed for new tree

The annual South Valley Rose Show will be held Nov. 9 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices on the corner of Windmill Lane and Paradise Road. Rosarians will be present to answer questions about growing roses in our hot desert climate and poor soils from 1 to 4 p.m.

Container trees have problems retaining water, fertilizer

Trees grown in containers are more finicky than those planted in the ground because the roots don’t have access to as much soil mass. The limited soil volume in containers makes watering and applying fertilizers more complicated; the tree runs out of both more quickly.

Select desert plants for privacy hedge

My Saturday, four-week class, “Fix Your Landscape” will start Oct. 26 in North Las Vegas. This weekly landscaping class will show you design tricks that save water and electricity, plant selections that work, planting methods that are successful and how to fix problems, and irrigation installation and how to water.

Skeletonizer damages leaves of yellow bells

Skeletonizer insect damage is common to Tecoma in warmer parts of the Southwest. It’s feeding damage by the young — or larvae — of a moth given the common name Tecoma leaf tier skeletonizer.