Yard & Garden
Bernalillo County is home to about one-third of New Mexico's population. Most of these people live in the urban part of the county, though the East Mountains and the South Valley still maintain some rural character. The urban nature of the county is reflected in the educational programming, and kinds of assistance, that our Horticulture Program is able to offer.
We are available to speak to groups (civic, community, church, other) on various horticultural topics, and as always, are open to the public for information on home and landscape gardening, including plant selection, soil issues, pest and disease identification, vegetable and fruit production, and more. We also encourage the greens industry to use us for accurate problem diagnosis and control recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Searchable FAQs may be found using the following links:
If you'd prefer to download and browse more than 70 frequently asked horticultural questions and answers, please click the link.
Can poinsettias be grown again to bloom? How? Are they hardy?
Poinsettias are not cold hardy. In fact, the coldest zone they can handle is 10! Avoid exposing them to cold drafts in your house. Even this can shorten its life. They can be coaxed into blooming again, but it’s not easy. Here is a publication from NMSU with extensive information on poinsettias. In summary, after tiring of the poinsettia plant after the holidays, gradually withhold water until the leaves wither and die and finally the colorful bracts wither and die as well. Put the plant in a cool, dry, dark place until spring. In the spring, take the plant out of storage and trim the stems to about 6 inches. Repot the plant in fresh potting soil. Place in a warm sunny spot in your house. After all danger of frost, take the pot outside and sink it into a warm, lightly shaded flower bed (don’t take the plant out of the pot). Keep it well watered and fertilized. As fall weather approaches, take the plant back inside and place in a sunny location. In late September or early October ensure the plant receives total darkness for 14 hours a day for 4 weeks. During the day, place in a sunny and warm location. The poinsettia should develop colorful bracts for the holidays!
I received an amaryllis for Christmas. Will it bloom again?
Amaryllis will bloom again with the proper care. Amaryllis are from the tropics. This region does not have seasons like we do, only a rainy and dry season. The plant grows vigorously (vegetatively) during the rainy season, then enters a dormancy or rest period during the dry season, and resumes growth accompanied by a flowering stalk when the rainy season resumes. In order to get your plant to bloom again, try to mimic this tropical wet-dry cycle. The vegetative growth period is critical for the amaryllis bulb to store up enough energy to bloom the next season. Around here, consider the growing period to be May through August. During this time, keep the plant moist; do not allow it to dry out between watering. Keep the plant in a sunny location (dappled shade, not blazing NM sun will do). Fertilize ever 2 to 3 irrigations with a houseplant fertilizer. In early September, reduce watering enough to allow the foliage to die back. Store the plant in a cool place (55-60 degrees F). Don’t allow the soil to become completely dry, but water very sparingly. The flower stalk will appear in spring. Increase watering slightly. Once foliage appears, resume watering and fertilizing. Repeat the process every year and re-pot the Amaryllis every few years.
Master Gardener Program
Master Gardener Program
Classes are held from January-April, with volunteering through October each year. Applications are made available in mid-August. More information here.
The Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners program is a key component of our horticultural outreach! These volunteers are trained by us to provide science-based horticultural advice to the general public.
Master Gardeners engage the public through various projects ranging from operating phone Hotlines to working with ARCA. Please check out Down to Earth, a Master Gardener publication tailored to the unique conditions of Bernalillo County. Down to Earth: A Gardener's Guide to the Albuquerque Area.
We live in a desert, but turfgrass is commonplace in our landscapes and parks. While turfgrass provides many benefits, if not properly cared for it can be a source of much water waste and pollution through overuse of pesticides and fertilizers. The Southwest Turfgrass Association provides valuable education about the latest research in turfgrass care and maintenance at a yearly conference held in the fall.
Trees & Arboriculture
Our area of largest concentration is arboriculture, or the care of the urban forest. In addition to tree-problem diagnostic services available to the general public and to commercial operators, we provide occasional public workshops on tree planting and pruning, and we are very involved in helping put on an annual tree care conference, Think Trees New Mexico. This regionally important conference features top-notch presenters and a very affordable fee.
Xeriscape/Low Water Use Landscaping
Recognizing that we do live in a desert environment, we are also very involved in supporting xeriscape landscaping. Xeriscape refers to landscaping with reduced, efficient irrigation. The keys to successful xeriscape include proper plant selection, good mulching, and efficient irrigation. In addition to providing advice in these areas, we support the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico's Water Conservation Conference.
- Xeriscape Plant List for Albuquerque
- Center for Landscape Water Conservation
- NMSU's Irrigation Management Propgram & Research Station
- Irrigation Association
- NMSU Climate Center
- New Mexico Office of the State Engineer
Our office receives many calls and samples concerning growing tomatoes, the issues and challenges surrounding their culture, and what to do with the harvested tomatoes. Learn more about common tomato issues, and the causes, with a link to a page discussing the issue and its resolution.
NMSU Plant Diagnostics
NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic is housed on the main campus in Las Cruces. The clinic is a full testing laboratory that helps professionals and homeowners learn more about their plants, gardens, landscape, parks, and agriculture production fields. Learn more!
Free App from NMSU: Southwest Plant Selector! For iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Desert Blooms: plant selector, how to videos & more
Southwest Yard & Garden: searchable archives