Ask the Expert

I am looking for a fast growing shade tree for my back yard?

—Sharron

I highly recommend  the Arizona Ash or Modesto Ash. They are both drought tolerant and do well in sandy soils.


When is the best time to prune, clean and trim sycamore trees?

—Chad

Most of the pruning that we do is considered minor pruning and dead wood. It consists of thinning up to 20% of the interior crown, removing crossing branches and all dead wood. This type of pruning can be done any time of the year.

Major pruning and/or crown reduction should be done early February to mid April. Sycamore trees usually don’t require heavy thinning. Most of the pruning is usually on the lower drooping branches. You can trim a Sycamore anytime of year but now, while the tree is dormant, is the best time to trim to avoid disease or infestation. The tree has some time to heal before the bugs wake up and get crazy!


How do pecans grow in Albuquerque? And almonds?

—Karin

Both Almonds and Pecans grow pretty well in Albuquerque. Pecans mature most years but may not depending if we have a short growing season. When they produce, they produce a good sized nut. Almonds mature every year but produce a smaller nut than the ones you might find in stores.

Almond trees do not grow as big as Pecan trees but they’re close. They also flower very differently. These are some things that might weigh into your considerations.


What are the best kinds of fruit trees for the Albuquerque area? A friend wants to plant and she lives on the south end of town. The soil is pretty hostile so what do you recommend as far as preparation? Composting is underway but may take awhile.

—Barbie, Albuquerque

With the exception of citrus, fruit trees do well here. The soil is not great anywhere in Albuquerque so amending the soil is a necessary. With this in mind, the rest is up to preference. Fruit trees come with a variety of beautiful and wonderfully scented blossoms. They have very different growth habits. Some are round and work well for a wide open space. Others grow with a taller taper. You can also get a semi-dwarf tree for smaller areas. They all need to be watered well so they would need to be close to a water source.

If it were me, I’d pick a fruit I most enjoy such as apricot or almond. Then I’d pick a variety with a growth pattern that best fit the planting site. Feel free to call our office and we can give you tips to narrow down your search.


My neighbor has huge trees which hang over the property line–and my roof!! Can you tell me if it’s against the law for me to have the portions of those trees that overhang my house cut back?

—Rebecca L., Albuquerque

We get this question quite often, and the answer is that it is legal to trim back anything overhanging your property up to the property line, but no farther. The only reason we would need to get permission from the neighbor is when we would need to have access to his/her yard in order to trim the trees, but often times this is not necessary.


Only part of my tree looks dead, the rest of the tree has new growth. Will I lose the whole tree. It is 15 feet tall.

—Edward L., Albuquerque

We need to look at the tree to determine what can be done please. Call us 505-899-6666.


Are piñon bark beetles still a threat to my trees in Albuquerque?

—Karen S., Rio Rancho

YES, they can really destroy a tree very quickly. Be sure to keep your evergreens and pinons well watered. It helps when they have to fight off these insects.


Can you come out and diagnose a sick tree?

—Jane B., Albuquerque

That’s our job! Please call us at 505–899-6666


How often should I fertilize my apple trees?
Yolanda G., Belen

Twice a year spring and in the mid-summer.


What can I do? My cottonwood tree is 20 years old and dying because all of the roots have grown above ground!
Jean L., Albuquerque

We need to look at the tree to determine what can be done. Please call us 505-899-6666.


How often should I water shade trees we planted 5 years ago?
Bob E., Belen

Every 3 weeks in the winter, every 2 weeks in the spring and every week in hotter part of the summer.


When is the best time to fertilize nut trees in Albuquerque?
—C. Allen, Albuquerque

Best time to fertilize a tree is in the spring when new growth is starting.


When is Pine Tip Moth Season?
—Steve W., Alameda

Usually the first part of May and the first part of July. You can read more about them here:
USDA Forest Service
Colorado State University


How often should I fertilize my fruit trees, I have several different kinds?

—Donna K., Albuquerque

Twice a year in spring and mid-summer.


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