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The original item was published from 3/7/2023 12:30:55 PM to 3/7/2023 2:26:46 PM.

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Posted on: March 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Learn to Grow Your Own Fruit Trees with Lush & Lean Workshop

Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 3.10.23

By Cassie McClure

If you dream of showing up with a pie baked with fruit grown from your own tree, there is a way to make this possible, even in the desert. The Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Water Conservation Program’s Lush & Lean Workshop, “Fruit Trees for the Las Cruces Environment,” on Thursday, March 16, will provide a free opportunity to learn the best way to get started with trees in your yard. 

New Mexico State University (NMSU) Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist Dr. Marisa Y. Thompson will recommend fruit tree varieties, help you pick an ideal spot to plant, discuss best planting practices, and offer care tips to optimize tree health and fruit production. 

First, Thompson will explain the USDA plant hardiness zone that encompasses the area but will dig a little deeper into how to prep for planting. 

“Consider the microclimate in your yard, what tree species you want, and site location, for example, not planting a tree that doesn’t grow too tall against your house, and the tree species you want to plant,” said Thompson. She will explain why soil compaction can be such a problem.

"Roots don’t seek water, they grow where the soil is moist,” she said. “In the best-case scenario, the lateral roots will grow outward two to four times the height of the tree, and 90 percent of the active roots will be in the top three feet of the soil profile.”

She has some recommendations of trees that grow very well here: apple, fig, jujube, peach, plum, and pomegranate. These trees can be very productive in our area. Surprisingly, apricots grow here but fruit production is not as reliable. “We have common crop loss in apricots due to late frost,” she said. “I suggest planting several varieties of fruit and see what works best for your yard.”

Thompson will also discuss each type of tree and what specifics it might need, such as pruning and common problems. “It might sound overwhelming, but I’m here to guide residents’ decision making. Having healthy, beautiful trees is within their grasp,” she said. 

All workshops are free to the public and will be held at the Branigan Library, Roadrunner Room, 200 E. Picacho, Las Cruces, on Thursdays from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Presentations begin promptly at 5:45 PM. The following upcoming workshops are: 

March 23 “Soils and Mulches” Dr. Bill Lindemann, Retired Soils Professor, New Mexico State University

March 30 “Passive Rainwater Harvesting” Michael Gaglio, High Desert Native Plants

LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at:  

For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500. 


 PHOTO 1: Carpe fructus: Learn how to plant your own fig tree with the free Lush & Lean workshop through the LCU Water Conservation program.

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