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Research needed before planting cherry tree in Las Cruces

Q. I live in Las Cruces and I am about to cut down a large evergreen bush. The trunk is about 10 inches in diameter. Once I’ve gotten it cut down and the roots removed, I’d like to plant a cherry tree. I already have several fruit trees in the yard and this would be the only space I can fit a cherry tree in. What do you think? – M.A., Las Cruces

A. I have several questions for you. Firstly, do you know if there are a lot of cherry trees grown in Las Cruces? Reason being is cherry trees require a certain Tracey Fitzgibbonamount of “chilling temperatures” in order to come to fruit and I’ve always thought of Las Cruces as a moderately temperate climate during the winter months. It might not be chilly enough, long enough during the winter to keep a cherry happy. In my “Western Garden Book,” it teaches that cherries require “many winter hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Now, if I don’t have it correct that Las Cruces doesn’t get and stay chilly enough, so be it. Check to see if cherry trees are widely planted in your area. Also consider contacting your County Extension Office.

Second, will the tree be in a very sheltered spot that has lots of radiant heat? If so, that spot might not be the best spot for a cherry. They prefer good air circulation and since I’m already concerned by the temperature requirements, you definitely want it more in the open.

Third, since cherries always do best if there is another variety of cherry in the neighborhood to help with pollination, do you know if there are others planted close by?

Lastly, you have a whole lot of work to remove a 10-inch evergreen trunk and the roots ahead of you. You’ll probably need to import ample soil to get the planting area full again. Cherry trees grow best in well-draining soil, so keep that in mind. Also, they require regular deep watering to preform their best.

With that, I’m not convinced that a cherry tree will be the best tree for you, but I could be wrong. I’m suggesting you do a lot more research before deciding. Good Luck!

Q. Recently you’d discussed a very ill pi ñ on tree. I’m wondering if a pesticide called “bifenthrin” will be an effective pesticide to battle the bark beetles? – G.E., Corrales

A. You don’t offer the brand name of the pesticide so I couldn’t read the labeling of the product (if you have it already in your pharmacopoeia) you are asking about.

First and foremost, I’m going to make YOU responsible for reading the complete label of any pesticide you’re contemplating applying.

I hunted bifenthrin on the internet and from what I’ve gleaned, no. It isn’t a systemic pesticide that the tree will absorb through its root system giving whatever is chewing it from the inside-out the ability to ingest the pesticide. Completely ineffective for the treatment of bark beetle larva once in the tree on the labels I read.

I have discovered that the bifenthrin will kill or maim a whole host of ground dwelling critters. Most sites I found label it for battling termites and ants. Also, bifenthrin is listed as highly toxic to fish.

I’m not at all convinced that it’ll be the pesticide to combat internal pests on your pinon. Again, YOU must read the label, thoroughly, to determine if it’s going to be an effective treatment! Please, take the proper caution and certainly, responsibility when choosing an appropriate pesticide.

Take care while you’re out there Diggin’ In!

Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to features@abqjournal.com.

 

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