Yard & Garden

Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service


NMSU Desert Blooms

Giant Wasps in Albuquerque are Cicada Killer Wasps and NOT the Asian Giant Hornets.

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Soil & Forage Testing Labs

The list and links below are a few labs that can test soil and hay forage. We do not recommend one specific lab, and are only highlighting labs in our region. You will need to download the forms, complete, and include them with the sample that you mail to the respective lab. Prices and processing time vary between labs. Please contact the lab directly for specific questions.

NOTE: Some labs are operating in a limited capacity due to COVID-19. Please check with the lab first, regarding turnaround time for your results:

Tests for Heavy Metals and Herbicide presence:

  • IAS Labs - Phoenix, AZ call 602 273 7248

Note General testing of herbicides and pesticides in soil is fairly complicated and expensive. Please contact NMDA Pesticide division with concerns about soil pesticide issues - call 575-646-2134.

Soil Testing Publications

Winter - Spring Garden Tips

Grapevine Pruning Videos

Frost, Freeze, and Growing Days

Drought Stressed Trees and Shrubs

The following publications explain the impact the extreme heat and prolonged drought stress will have on trees and shrubs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Seasonal Yard & Garden Pests

Searchable FAQs may be found using the following links from the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardener Program:

  • Downloadable FAQs
    If you'd prefer to download and browse more than 70 frequently asked horticultural questions and answers, please click the link.

Q: Can Poinsettias Be Grown Again to Bloom? How? Are they hardy?

A: 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. Guide H-406 - Poinsettias: Year after Year 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!

Q: I Received An Amaryllis for Christmas. Will It Bloom Again?

A. 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.

See Also: Amaryllis Care Sheet

More Winter Plant Care Answers:

Master Composters Program

  • Classes and Other Activities for the Public
    - Topics include art, science, materials, methods, and benefits of various composting techniques. See individual class descriptions. New classes added as scheduled. Check back often.

Master Gardeners Program

  • Master Gardeners Program
    • 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, often working on projects with local ARCA members and operating seasonal Hotlines (during growing and harvest months, through September)
    • Each year, local Master Gardeners conduct classes for registered applicants who are interested in becoming certified Master Gardeners. The application period begins in mid-August, and class rolls fill quickly. Once registration is completed, students attend special Master Gardener Classes from January through April. Members keep active with volunteer efforts through October.
Master Gardeners at Extension Office Demo Garden
Extension Office Demo Garden
Each Friday during the growing season Master Gardeners help weed, water, and harvest at the Extension Office Demo Garden. Produce is donated to food banks and used for Extension programs (and we do enjoy a little for ourselves)!


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.

Selecting the Right Turfgrass Variety for Your Yard. August 30, 2019 Posting, Desert Blooms Blog, a reprint from 2009, Southwest Yard & Garden, by guest contributor Dr. Bernd Leinauer, NMSU Extension Turfgrass Specialist.

Further Reading:

Trees & Arboriculture

New Column - Transplanting Plum Trees
Southwest Yard & Garden blog tackles this question from Guadalupe County Extension Agent Cheyenne Law. (Click here to read the blog entry).

Feb. 9 & 10, 2023 - Think Trees Regional Conference
This regionally important conference features top-notch presenters and a very affordable fee. Think Trees' largest area of 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, Think Trees provides occasional public workshops on tree planting and pruning. For more information, visit the Think Trees New Mexico website: Think Trees.

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.

Other Resources / Agencies:


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.

To learn more about common tomato issues, probable causes, and recommended treatments, see our New!, dedicated Tomato Resources page containing much more detailed information in these areas of about tomato propagation and processing:

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.

Quick Links

Pink Daisy-like Flower head.

Free iPhone App from NMSU - Southwest Plant Selector
Developed by New Mexico State University Media Productions, the Southwest Plant Selector app is a cooperative venture between the NM Office of the State Engineer (NMOSE) and the Center for Landscape Water Conservation. The database was developed by the NMOSE in cooperation with the US Bureau of Reclamation in 2011, who were assisted by a panel of experts from around the State. For iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Other Resources

Contact Us

NMSU-Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service
1510 Menaul Blvd Ext NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Phone: 505-243-1386 844-409-0562 (Toll Free)
Fax: 505-243-1545
Email: bernalillo@nmsu.edu
URL: https://bernalilloextension.nmsu.edu

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