ask us pictureThe Master Gardener Help Desk has closed for the winter and will reopen in 2016 on Tuesday, February 16th. Until then, please submit your gardening questions using the Ask the Help Desk form. You will receive an answer by phone or email.

Oscar Mestas Wins Texas Arborist Award

oscar mestas

Credit: Society of Municipal Arborists

Oscar Mestas, a regional urban forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service, was named Texas Arborist of the Year at the October Texas Tree Conference. As the only forester in our area, he advises and educates in 23 counties, including El Paso. Read more external-link-icon

KTEP Good to Grow – Recent Shows

John White

Credit: UTEP

Sun Country Landscape Conference external-link-icon– Listen to John White, garden curator of UTEP’s Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, as he talks with Norma Martinez about this month’s Sun Country Landscape Conference.

Cool Weather Pumpkins external-link-icon – Even though it’s after Halloween this show with Denise Rodriguez, El Paso County Horticultural Extension Agent, and Norma Martinez provides timely advice on what to plant as the weather cools and we approach our first average freeze date, November 15th.

Trees, Part 2 external-link-icon– We add to our tree knowledge as Denise Rodriguez, El Paso County Horticultural Extension Agent, and Norma Martinez go through a checklist of what you need to know if you’re planning to add a tree to your landscape.

Trees, Part 1 external-link-iconAs one of our biggest landscape investments, you’ll want to know more about trees. John White, garden curator at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, answers our tree questions. When to plant, which will grow best, and more are covered.

New Program: Master Gardener of the Quarter

MG of Qtr LogoChris Smith has received the first award in a new program by the El Paso Master Gardeners which will give special recognition to one Certified Master Gardener each quarter. The new program is called Master Gardener of the Quarter and it honors one person who has done an exceptional job within their committee or who has assisted the committee with its goals in an exceptional manner. The names of candidates were submitted by all committee chairs to the El Paso Master Gardener Social Committee who conducts the program and were selected randomly from those submitted.

Kudos for Chris Smith – We don’t know what we would have done this year without this dedicated Master Gardener. Chris has been a Certified Master Gardener since 1996. Since that time, she has consistently volunteered to work the Master Gardener Booth at Ardovino’s Farmers’ Market. This year she accepted the responsibilities for opening and closing our booth. Her positive attitude and calm demeanor set the tone for the great work that her volunteers performed duriChris Smith_MGofQtr2015ng their shift. She is not only bright but organized, too. She quickly learned how to set-up and take-down the booth and how to accurately complete the paperwork. This enabled her to effectively lead and assist her team members with these “housekeeping” duties. But it is her wealth of gardening knowledge that really sets her apart. She is able to establish instant rapport with people and answer their gardening questions with research-based facts coupled with real life experience. Even though Chris continues to work a full-time job, she makes the time to persist with her passion for gardening and community service. We are the benefactors of her dedication. Thank you, Chris Smith, for all that you bring to our Master Gardener Program and specifically for your service at the Master Gardener Booth at Ardovino’s Farmers’ Market. – by Penny Leslie and Patsy Sanders, Ardovino’s Farmers’ Market Committee co-chairpersons.

November Monthly Tips

This is still a great time to plant trees and shrubs, although the selection at local nurseries and garden shops may not be that extensive.  Many garden centers have much less inventory in the fall than they do in the spring, when temperatures are beginning to warm up and more people have gardening on their minds.

If planning to order any seeds for planting next spring, go ahead and order them now—you’ll be more certain of getting the varieties you want, and you’ll have the seeds available once you’re ready to plant.

There is still time to set out cool-season bedding plants, such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, dianthus, and flowering kale.  When looking for transplants to purchase, make sure to select short, stocky plants with good green color.

Don’t get in a hurry to prune woody plants.  Late December through early February is usually the best time to prune trees and shrubs.  Remember: Don’t top trees!  Severe pruning reduces the life of trees and allows large entry points for diseases and insects. Read more>>

El Paso Rose Garden Now Open through November

EP Rose Garden EastWith its fall flush of blooms, the El Paso Rose Garden is beautiful at this time of year so we’re pleased to share the news that starting this year it will be closing later for the winter. Instead of closing at the end of October, it will be closing on November 30th.

Since 2007, El Paso Master Gardeners have volunteered at the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden as part of an agreement between the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the City of El Paso in cooperation with the El Paso Rose Society. Master Gardener volunteers provide many hours of rose care in the garden each year and many hours of public education as well.

The Rose Garden is located at 1702 N. Copia Street, at Aurora, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. To read the city’s announcement, please see the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page.


newspaper treeArticles contributed to El Paso’s Newspaper Tree by Master Gardeners are timely as fall has arrived and we consider appropriate landscape activities.

Winter pruning

 Don’t jump the gun on pruning

The not so “dead” lawn of winter

 Dormant season begins with one last dose of fertilizer

Burying a new tree or shrub too deeply is a bad idea

Let the plant’s main roots tell you how deep to dig a planting hole

Thank You for Your Support!

Calendar Sold Out_greyed

Our 16-month calendar for 2015-2016, GETTING CREATIVE, was a big hit with its informative research-based articles, gardening tips, recipes and attractive photos. They are created by Master Gardener volunteers and all proceeds fund local educational projects. Thank you for supporting our Calendar Project by purchasing them at our Information Tables and local events.

Who We Are

The El Paso County Master Gardeners Association, as a member of the Texas Master Gardeners Association, is a non-profit educational and charitable organization supporting the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in providing quality, relevant outreach and continuing education programs and services to the people of El PasoCounty. Our local volunteers receive extensive training and experience in a wide range of subjects before certification as Master Gardeners. In collaboration with the County A&M AgriLife Horticultural Agent, we conduct community educational projects through workshops and demonstration gardens. Members of the Master Gardeners Speakers Bureau, Help Desk, and Information Table committees provide information, education, and recommendations on horticultural topics to all residents of El Paso County.

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