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  • Hello,

    Your website rocks! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Can you tell me how deep and wide the root system is for the Western Rosebud? Any concerns for the roots to grow into pipes (gas or water lines).

    I have only 9.5 feet between my gas and water lines in my front yard. I’d like to plant a western rosebud but worry in maturity it will grow wide roots and end up wrapped around one of the pipes. I also heard the tap root is quite large and deep…but I don’t know if tap roots go straight down, or horizontal (yes, this is all new to me 🙂 . Can you provide any information on the root system? I’d sure appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    • Thank you for the compliment and the question, Rabia! All apologies for the long wait for an answer, but I’m back to the blog soon.

      The western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) is a pretty small tree (15’H x 10’W), so the root system shouldn’t be an issue with your pipes. The thinking used to be that the root system of a tree was basically a mirrored reflection of what you saw above the ground. So if you had a tree that was 20′ tall, you could expect to have roots nearly that deep in the ground. Now horticulturists know that that’s not true. Most of the tree’s roots are within about 1′-3′ of the surface and these help to stabilize the tree. A tap root is a root that usually goes straight down, but most trees that are planted in the landscape won’t develop a really deep tap root. I didn’t find any information indicating that the root system of the Western Redbud is any larger or deeper than any other tree of its size, so I personally wouldn’t worry about it. Plant that pretty little tree and enjoy itI a!

  • I’m curious about your thoughts regarding garden “towers” that state they can accommodate up to 50 plants … including tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini. Before I purchase one, is this real? It seems to me an easy way to get in to vegetable gardening here without the work and permanence of a raised bed. Just not sure how my favorite vegetables will survive in our hot summers. Thanks!

    • Hi Maureen, I’m honestly not terribly experienced with the type of towers you’re interested in, but I’m happy to offer my thoughts. For my money they don’t seem like the best options for veggies here in Vegas. The ones I’ve seen don’t have a lot of room for roots to spread and the material they use is often not really suitable for the desert, especially metal or cheap plastic. I’m more a fan of raised beds or containers for home gardening, depending on your budget and available space. If you use pots, I really recommend glazed ceramic ones because they’re much more durable than terracotta or resin. They’re also usually easy to move, so you can offer your plants the sun exposure they prefer year-round. Please do let me know how it goes, whatever you decide! Thanks for the question 🙂

  • Hi there,
    Just found your website and I really like it. Will be moving to Solera by the end of this year from Hawaii. Bought 2 gardening books about gardening in Nevada but you have some trees listed in your site that they didn’t mention in their book. Currently in the front yard is an African sumac (not mentioned in their book) that I think is boring. If I can afford it, I want to replace it with one of the trees you mentioned like the pink dawn chitapa or red push pistache. I want a tree with more color in the front yard. So thank you for your website. It’s very informative.

    • Hi Florence,
      Welcome to the Valley! I appreciate you reading my blog and especially reaching out. That’s because your comment made me realize that I still have Pink Dawn Chitalpas listed as okay for our valley. I wrote that a few years ago and they’ve since been proven to not withstand our climate very well. I’d steer you towards the desert willow instead. Much more durable and the flowers smell wonderful. I hope this helps! Aloha 🙂

  • Hi! I planted a row of veittchi gardenias on the shaded north side of my house last spring. Two of the eight I planted look terrific and the other six died. They are between a paver walk and my house. I noticed that the paver guys were pretty sloppy with the underlying chat (decomposed cement) and it was in the dirt where I was planting. Would that kill the gardenias?

    • Hi Bob, I wish I could tell you the issue with your Gardenias was just the groundcover but it’s unlikely that’s the only problem. Gardenias generally dislike the heat, soil, and dry air here in Vegas. They tend to fry when planted in a spot with reflected heat and the buds that do appear only open occasionally. If it were my home, I’d opt to take them out and replace them with a more forgiving species like star jasmine but if you want to try to keep the two that lived you’ll want to provide light shade, plenty of water, and organic mulch groundcover. A container would be ideal since it’s easier to control the soil quality with time. Use an acid-loving plant food and soil amendments regularly and give your heart to God. That’s pretty much all I can think of on this one.

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