Standard-sized apple trees may grow to 35 or 40 feet in height. You might be able to keep a standard-sized tree under 20 feet tall through pruning, but the standard-sized apple tree is just too vigorous for pruning to short heights.
Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.
A disease called fire blight might pop up in some pear and apple trees beginning around May. It can be common several weeks after spring rains, particularly if trees were flowering. It can lead to tree death if not controlled when it’s first seen.
Delay pruning grapes as long as possible in the spring to reduce disease possibilities and avoid any late spring frost damage after pruning. Immediately after pruning grapes, consider applying a fungicide to the vines if there were problems with grape bunch diseases last year.
My experience with Mexican petunia is that it grows like a weed, and I consider it the broadleaf version of Bermuda grass, aka devil grass. If it’s contained in an area and prevented from spreading into the landscape, I think it will be OK.
An infrequent desert rain is not a problem. But when irrigation water is applied over and over to a soil that is normally dry, these soils shift, collapse and chemically change. In urban landscapes, this can be potentially destructive.
When preparing to prune plants, follow these three rules: adjusting loppers or hand shears so they don’t rip plants instead of cutting them, making sure the blade is sharp for the same reason and sanitizing the blades.
Desert willow can look shaggy during the winter because of the brown seedpods that hang from the tree. The seedpods provide a good supply of birdseed for various desert birds during the fall and winter months.
If freezing weather came through your yard, fruit trees with open or partially opened flowers will lose fruit.
Flowers and small fruit will die with the slightest freeze. Freezing temperatures can eliminate all or some of the fruit you normally would harvest this next fall or winter.
There are two strikes against citrus growing well in the Mojave Desert. The first is their variable tolerance to freezing temperatures during the winter. The second strike is that oftentimes citrus trees flower in early spring when very light freezing temperatures are possible. Tolerance to these freezing temperatures is practically nil.
Gardeners who are new to Southern Nevada might want to check out resource books written for the Las Vegas climate or secondly Tucson, Arizona, and lastly the desert Southwest.