By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 11/13/20.
With a good five more weeks of fall, it might still be time to get some hands dirty to beautify gardens throughout Las Cruces this spring. Selecting the right type of plant that not only creates shade, beauty, and conserves water can be daunting, but that’s where ideas growing in the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Demonstration Garden, at 680 N. Motel Boulevard, come in.
The garden has been recently updated with a trellis to plant vines that do well in our area. Rhonda Diaz, LCU water conservation program coordinator, explained that sometimes input on what to grow comes from residents.
“This is a garden for the community, so when people ask what kind of vines I can grow in Las Cruces, we listen and add plants like grape vines, Virginia creeper, and trumpet vine, all of which do well in our climate,” Diaz said.
With less wind and heat, fall is a great time to plant. LCU has taken advantage of that and planted several new trees in the open ponding area at the Utilities Administration building next to the Demonstration Garden. Diaz said, “And since LCU works closely with NMSU on many projects, it was only natural to plant a new Mesa Glow maple tree in the garden, propagated by Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire.”
“Some people think that we are not conserving water by planting trees, and while growing trees does require water, trees provide shade, reducing temperatures, and requires a different watering method in comparison to say turf,” Diaz said.
Diaz explained that the root zone for turf is 4 to 6 inches requiring more frequent watering. However, the beneficial root zone for trees is 18 to 36 inches, which provides the opportunity to water less often using drip irrigation instead of overhead spray. “Drip irrigation is applied in gallons per hour and is the most efficient type of irrigation,” Diaz said.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Rhonda Diaz, LCU water conservation program coordinator, checks on the new vines planted at the LCU Demonstration Garden at 680 N. Boulevard. If you need inspiration, come for a self-guided tour as the location is open to the public.