All posts by scmgadmin

Beneficial of the Month – Ladybeetles/Ladybird beetles (Family Coccinellidae)

Part of our ongoing series, featuring insects that can help keep damaging pest insects under control. Sadly, these insects are often misidentified and mistaken for pests. Most people are familiar with the adults of these beetles, particularly the common red and black convergent ladybeetle. However, the egg, larval, and pupal stages are less well known, and the larval stages in particular are often mistaken for pests. In fact, it is the larva that is the most voracious stage of the life cycle. Keep in mind,…

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Southwest Plant of the Month – Blackfoot daisy

Blackfoot daisy: Melampodium leucanthum Plant Form: Flower Plant Size: 1′ x 1′ Plant Type: Perennial Water Usage: Low Sunlight: Sun Colors: White Physical Description: Perky white, daisy-like flowers on a tidy, compact mass of dark green, linear leaves. 3/4″ Flowers may obscure foliage. Care and Maintenance: Overwatering. Must have good drainage to avoid root rot. Gardener’s notes: Long blooming, April to October, with occasional irrigation. Heat loving. Native to El Paso. Grow seed in place as deep taproot makes transplanting difficult. Southwest Plant of the…

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Beneficial of the Month – Assassin Bug

This month we start a new feature called “Beneficial of the Month” , featuring insects that can help keep damaging pest insects under control. Sadly, these insects are often misidentified and mistaken for pests. The following is taken from an article by Matt Simon, wired.com, 6.20.14 There are some 7,000 species of assassin bugs the world over, and each is equipped with nasty, highly hardened mouth parts called a rostrum. With this the assassin bug stabs through the exoskeleton of its prey—ants and termites and…

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Science Triumphs

By Dudley Vines, SCMG A few months ago Linda Walsh, a 2018 SCMG intern, emailed me (one of her mentors) worried about some spots on her cherry tree. She said they looked like tiny red bugs, but since they didn’t move she thought maybe they were some sort of scale or mites. She sprayed the tree with a light-weight horticultural oil, but didn’t see any noticeable results. Then, at the SCMG end of training celebration, Linda approached me and told me her continuing sad tale.…

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Gardening in the Desert – The key is managing evaporation!

By John Zarola, with Dudley Vines Evaporation occurs due to intense sunshine, high winds, low humidity, and high temperatures—all of which we have in abundance. Methods we can employ to minimize evaporation include Amending the soil with compost to improve water retention; Avoiding bare soil by mulching, shading, and cover cropping Putting the right plant in the right place Incorporating efficient irrigation options AMENDING THE SOIL Compost is decomposed organic material. Amending soil with compost improves water infiltration and retention. Because compost decomposes (adding nutrients…

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