By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 5/19/19
John White, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) garden curator and certified arborist, strolls through the Demonstration Garden at the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Administration building to check the growth of trees. He’s seen the slow and steady changes in the trees, but visitors to the annual LCU Spring Stroll on Wednesday, May 22nd, will see some extra developments to the garden, too: the berm to catch rainfall for natural irrigation in the garden and a new shade structure ideal for presentations.
White will be one of the expert presenters available to answer questions about water-wise plants and gardens from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 22nd, at LCU (680 North Motel Boulevard). The LCU Spring Stroll is a great way for residents to see examples of trees, shrubs, and flowers that do well in our area and only use moderate amounts of water. This year, the LCU Water Conservation Program is also introducing “Papa Drop – approved” plantings! It’s an easy way to spot water-wise plants.
Refreshments will be available to guests during the Spring Stroll, and the first 200 guests will receive a free plant: Salvia greggii, also known as Autumn Sage, to take home and plant.
“Autumn Sage is a prime example of a ‘Papa Drop-approved’ plant,” said Rhonda Diaz, LCU Water conservation program coordinator, “These plants will have little reminders of our Water Conservation Ambassador Papa Drop - a cartoon drop of water with a mustache - that lets people know this is a great plant to add to their water-wise garden at home.”
Residents can also pick up free compost made from yard waste and LCU’s Class A+ biosolid compost, also known as “Black Gold”.
White, who has presented at the Spring Stroll before, is ready for any water conservation or tree questions, such as, is there one best tree for our desert yards? “It really depends on location, some things grow better in different soils,” said White. “But you really want diversity of trees throughout a city, or even your garden, because if a specific disease or insect comes in, it could really cut down on the number of trees.” However, White does have some specific tree recommendations, like the Chinese Pistache and Desert Willows that thrive in our area.
For questions about weeds, insects, or irrigation, experts from the LCU Lush and Lean series of workshops will be also at the Spring Stroll: New Mexico State University professors Dr. Leslie Beck and Dr. Carol Sutherland, and Ken Futrell of Ewing Irrigation.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: John White, UTEP garden curator and certified arborist, takes a tree measurement at the LCU Demonstration Garden (680 N. Motel Blvd.). Horticultural experts, including White, will be available to answer garden questions at the Spring Stroll on May 22nd from 9 a.m. to noon.