Horticulture expert Bob Morris answers readers’ questions.
Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.
I have fruit tree pruning classes at 1 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. Saturdays during the month of December at Ahern Orchard in downtown Las Vegas. Class size is limited so you must enroll on Eventbrite or contact me.
The most effective pest control measures for fruit, shade or ornamental trees during 2019 will be applied this December and January. Many gardeners consider the application of oils as an “organic” method of controlling future pests. In the purest sense, it is not organic. But applications of oils during the winter reduce the need for “hard pesticides” later.
The time of pruning varies with the fruit tree but generally most fruit trees are pruned during the winter months, beginning at leaf drop. When you have a lot of fruit trees, pruning may start early and not end until after flowering has started in spring.
Q: My young acacia tree has abundant growth but only on the top half of the branches. Each of these branches is losing many leaves halfway up the branch. There is a lot of growth at the top of the tree but not much below. Am I watering too much or too little? I water every five days during the summer.
Q: I am interested in planting a fruit tree in my yard. After reading your blog, I was thinking of a fig tree, but I have been told that they can get very large. I wanted it to stay under 8 feet tall and not be difficult to grow. When should I plant it and where?
Q: I use woodchips around my vegetables, fruit trees and landscape plants. When I turn it over after the first freeze, what should I add to counter the effects of rotting wood?
I will be giving a series of four classes about establishing a desert orchard starting the first Saturday in November and continuing through Nov. 24. The class will be held 1-3 p.m. at Ahern Rentals Academy, 1722 W. Bonanza Road.
Q: If I prune my old oleanders this fall, will they bloom this coming spring?
Q: I have 19 mature, healthy Mexican fan palms pruned every year after flowering. This year they were pruned on June 13, but after three weeks one suddenly died and another died two weeks later. I used the same pruning crew for five years with no problems. I removed about 250 square feet of turf from in front of the trees last year with no other significant changes to their irrigation or fertilization regimen.
Q: I have one pomegranate tree in bad shape. The leaves are turning yellow and then brown; yet underneath the veins are pink. This is one tree out of my 50 that looks like this. The other trees look great with a lot of new growth. Any ideas what could be happening with this one tree?
Two major problems occurred to landscape plants and fruit trees these past few weeks during the summer. First was the heat. They were stressed. High temperatures seemed to linger longer than normal. In addition, minimum nighttime temperatures stayed elevated well into the 90s for more days than I remember in the past.
Q: I have a Mexican bird of paradise that was planted five years ago that suddenly died. It had flourished until now. I pulled out the plant and sent you some pictures of the dead plant, girdling or circling roots and borers that I found in the center of the stem that probably killed it.