Sal Bracale

Recent Posts

Gummosis in The Arizona Summer

Posted by Sal Bracale on 9/3/2019

One common disease that occurs in Arizona, especially during the summer, when we experience extreme heat for a few weeks, is called Gummosis.


What is Gummosis?

Gummosis is the formation of patches of a sticky, gummy substance that form on trees. It occurs when tree sap comes from a wound from the trunk or damage on the tree.

In the summer months, many customers prune their trees, which can do some damage to the trees if not properly clipped or if the tools are not entirely disinfected from previous uses. Improper care can lead to tree wounds that allow Gummosis to appear.

The majority of the customers that visit the nursery with concerns of Gummosis are usually asking about specific trees. The trees affected tend to be fruit, citrus, and mesquite trees that have already recently suffered from damage, such as bugs, disease, or severe pruning.


Treating Gummosis in your Trees

The proper way to treat this first and for most is to remove any areas that look infected. So that you don't destroy or damage your tree any further, make sure you use disinfected tools for this process.

The next step is to use a systemic Fungicide, which is available at any Moon Valley Nurseries location and typically comes in a liquid form. Apply that to the tree to help with the Gummosis disease.

You want the tree to recover rapidly for aesthetics reasons as well as for the health of your tree. We strongly recommend that you began a routine care program using Super Charged Moon Juice monthly and also using Moon Dust to fertilize the tree.

These two are a winning combination when you are trying to bring your plants back to perfect health.

Think Your Trees Might have Gummosis?

If you believe that you see this problem in your yard, make sure you call, or even better yet, visit your local Moon Valley Nurseries.

Please bring pictures or samples so we can help correctly identify what is wrong with your tree and help you get your tree on the path to recovery!

Topics: landscape tips

Learn more about Gall Disease in Arizona

Posted by Sal Bracale on 9/3/2019

Plant and Tree Disease - Gall FAQ

One of the popular topics we get asked about at the nursery is plant diseases that could be a problem for our area. One that specific disease that can show up in Arizona is something called 'Gall.' 

Which Plants and Trees does Gall infect?

Gall is most common on plants, such as oleanders or trees such as some ash varieties. It is sometimes found on oak trees but not often. Mainly, it's caused by a bacterium that's most commonly spread by the use of landscape tools that have not been cleaned properly in between uses. 

Do my Plants and Trees have Gall? gall disease photo SAL

The signs that your plant material might be struggling with Gall disease are pretty noticeable. If your trees or plants are infected, you will see a large knot that looks a ball growing on a stem. (pictured)

How Did My Plants get Gall?

Often, Gall is brought on by landscapers who don't do a professional job and don't understand how to care for their tools or equipment properly. Make sure you hire a true professional when you have them come out to your house and take care of the significant investment you made on your property.

How do I get rid of Gall on my plants?GAll disease 2 photo sal

When you see this problem in your trees or plants, the only way to get rid of the disease to remedy the infection entirely is to remove the branch that has visual damage. If you notice that your plants or trees are showing signs of Gall, it is time to start trimming!

All you need are properly disinfected tools to remove the branches that show the visual damage of Gall. Once you remove the infected area from the stem below the area that's been affected, you should be good to go! Be sure to monitor your plants afterward for a few days for any signs of Gall returning. 

Always disinfect your Landscaping TOOLS

The easiest way to disinfect your tools is to mix half water and half bleach into a bucket. While trimming your branches, dip your yard tools into the bucket after each clip of your plants. We recommend dipping after each use so that the infection doesn't spread. Once you are done trimming your plants, immediately treat your tools and disinfect them again before you put them away.

Future Plant Care 

Make sure that you start the process of a proper care plan for those plants. Get them back to health using products like our custom-blended Moon Juice and Moon Dust help your plants recover faster.

 Talk to a Nursery Expert Today

If you think you see some damage on your plant, come into any Moon Valley Nurseries location and see a nursery professional who can give you the proper advice for your yard.


Topics: landscape tips

Agave Health and Insecticides

Posted by Sal Bracale on 8/20/2019

Preventing Insects on your Agave

agave-heroOne of the common questions we get from customers is how to treat agave that have grubs and mature agave weevils taking over. The easiest way to handle it is with prevention, which means to keep them healthy all year.

This is easily done with agave by not watering them and not applying any type of potent fertilizer to them. Using a product like our Desert Juice helps keep them healthy without putting too much nitrogen on them. We recommend placing water lines away from new agave species. Established plants should not be getting any additional water other than what they are receiving by nature.

Quick Design Tip - Agave that is planted in low spots of a landscape should not be getting any type of irrigation at all.


Signs of Insects on Your Plants

If you see any of these signs, you need to try to treat your plant as early as you can with a systemic insecticide. Multiple brands get the job done, but they all have the same active ingredient, imidacloprid. Make sure that this ingredient is listed on any product you choose to purchase.Indications that you may have an issue with insects include new plant growth coming out with deformities or rotten-like appearance. Sometimes the center growth can even fall over or turn to a mushy texture.

Treating Your Insect Issues

Hiyield InsecticideSystemic insecticide, like Hi-Yield Insecticide, comes in a bagged granular form, as well as a shaker-type bottle. If you have a large yard (up to 5000 square feet), you can purchase larger bags to be sure to cover all problem areas adequately.

Additionally, you can use a liquid form, such as the Fertilome Insecticide, that just needs to be mixed in with water and poured around the plant so that you drench the area around the plant. Treat the problem areas as soon as you spot them.

More often than not, you can get rid of the insects before they have matured. If you found the issue too late and the insects have evolved, you are going to have to replace the infected agave.


No matter how early or late you identified the issue, you will have to treat the soil around the troubled agave and any other plants in the area to make sure that you reduce the problem and decrease the change of other nearby plants being affected.

Two insecticide products that we recommend are Fertilome Insecticide and Hi-Yield insecticide. Our nurseries carry both brands, as well as our custom-blended Desert Juice. We recommend using either of these products before you replace the recently removed plant.

Our Nursery Pros Can Assist

If you are worried about your agave, plants, or trees are being infected by insects, come in and see a nursery professional. This will help our pros give you customized advice on how to handle the treatment, removal, and replacement in those affected areas of your yard.

Topics: Products

Growing and Harvesting Fruit Trees in the Desert

Posted by Sal Bracale on 8/16/2019

Growing Stone Fruit Trees

Stone Fruit - Peach

A really common question we get with customers is how to grow fruit trees in our desert region. When we say fruit trees, we mean stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines, and more. Our customers are always shocked when they learn how many fruit trees grow well in the arid desert climates.

We carry a large amount of fruit trees that only need low chill hours in the winter to produce a plentiful harvest. Typically, the chill hours are how much time the tree needs in cold temperatures so trees with low chill hours do best in Arizona. On average, Arizona gets less than 300 chill hours, so we only carry fruit tree varieties in that range. It is best to plant trees with the lowest chill hours in case of warm winters.

Harvesting and Protecting Stone Fruit Trees

Plum TreeAnother question that comes up often is, “how do you even harvest fruit trees?”. We recommend two ways of harvesting the fruit from your trees. These are also helpful ways to protect your harvest from the birds in our region. There are not many fruit trees in the Southwest, and the birds are not as heavily attracted to citrus trees, so they tend to target other fruit trees instead.

The first recommendation is pulling the fruit off your trees as soon as you think it is close to being ripe. You can let them finish ripening in your home, whether you place them in the refrigerator or leave them on the counter in a brown paper bag (old-school tricks). You might notice that grocery stores do this often.

A second option for protecting your fruit from being eaten by birds is to cover the canopy of your trees with bird netting. The netting will keep the birds from invading the trees and ruining the fruit before you can harvest it all. This will save a lot more of your fruit than without the protection from the net.

Fertilizing Stone Fruit Trees

To keep your fruit trees in optimal health to grow to their full potential in our climate, you need to do two things.

  1. Buy your trees from Moon Valley Nurseries

All fruit trees at Moon Valley Nurseries are custom-grown for the Arizona weather and required low chill hours for our area. When you purchase any of our fruit trees, you are getting the most durable, acclimated, and healthy tree from day one.

  1. Fertilize your trees with custom-blended productsmoon juice

Super Charged Moon Juice  helps stimulate growth which allows the tree to increase its moisture and fertilizer intake. It also supplies the tree with a boost of the three most important nutrients for trees - Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc.

Moon Valley Nurseries custom-made, organic Moon Dust is an all-purpose tree and plant fertilizer. It carries the perfect ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium for more abundant and tastier crops.

Stone Fruit Tree Trunk Wrapping

For younger fruit trees, it is vital to cover the tree trunk from getting sun damage. Once the tree grows larger and the canopy provides shade to the trunk, you no longer need to worry about sunburn. Until then, the most popular options to protect your tree trunk is to paint it with a product made specifically for plant material or to use a tree wrapping material. One of our favorite options is the white tree wrap that stretches and grows with the tree.


Watering your Stone Fruit Trees

Last, but definitely not least, watering your tree is going to be the most vital component of taking care of your tree and producing the best fruit! Especially during the hotter months, you want to check your tree for signs of underwatering and supplement accordingly. Deep watering is also going to help fruit trees grow sweeter, juicier fruit.

Talk to a Nursery Professional Today!

If you have more questions about stone fruit trees, visit us at the location nearest to you and our nursery pros will provide you with all the information you need.

Ready to get started on designing your yard and growing your own food? Schedule a consultation today.

Topics: Homegrown Fruit and Citrus Trees

Mosquito Control for Your Yard

Posted by Sal Bracale on 8/16/2019

Battling Mosquitoes in Arizona

Landscape AZ

A common concern our customers bring up this time of year is the number of mosquitoes that are taking over their yard. It becomes a bigger problem during the monsoon season because of all the extra rain we receive and the humidity.

While the problem can be very annoying, and sometimes downright frustrating, it is almost always an easy problem to fix. The most likely culprit is standing water somewhere around your home.

Look for Standing Water Around Your Home

The standing water could come from anywhere so inspect your home for even tiny amounts of water collecting somewhere. Even the smallest amount of water will make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Some common places to check are areas in your lawn that might have soil issues, therefore not letting the water absorb into the ground quickly enough or your irrigation system for potential leaks allowing water to build up and collect.

After the rainstorms, make sure to check any buckets that were left outside or any trash cans that may have collected water. Those will need to be emptied out once the rain is over.

If Mosquitoes are Laying Eggs

Areas that are often overlooked when thinking of what might be causing the issue are water features in your landscape. A pool will be less of a concern since most pool owners apply chemicals regularly to maintain a clean environment, but many people do not use any type of chemicals for their fountains or other water features. There are chemicals, with organic options, that get the job done.mosquitodonut

On using chemical products –

They work very well and will help kill and get rid of larva.- Sal Bracale, VP of Arizona Operations and Nursery Expert

Treating areas with the proper chemical products will make a big difference because you are destroying the eggs before they can hatch. Every time a mosquito lays eggs, it can lay between 100-200 eggs, also called a “clutch”. They can lay up to five clutches in a lifetime (about five weeks), which means you could potentially have 1000 mosquitoes hatching on your property in a month. The best solution is to target any areas that a mosquito would even THINK about laying eggs.

Once you start limiting the number of mosquitoes, your outdoor spaces will become a more enjoyable living space.

If your problem has gotten too out of control to handle on your own, there are professional services that can help take care of the infestation. Professional pest control companies offer services specifically for mosquito control such as powerful formulas that are sprayed, fogged, or distributed through a mist system.

There are many options to choose from based on your needs. One option we recommend is using a product named 'Mosquito Dunks'. (pictured above).

How to Deter Mosquitoes from Your Yard

No matter what you do, you probably can’t avoid having a few mosquitoes pop into your yard (possibly coming from your neighbor’s home). There a few natural mosquito repellent ideas we recommend to our customers that you can do to make sure your patio and other social areas around your yard are mosquito-free.


Using mosquito candles are one line of defense to keep the insects away from you while you are outside. The candle burns off oils that repel the bugs away but works in a very limited range. It is nice to have two to three candles placed around seating areas for more protection.

Another great way to defend against them is to add mosquito repellent plants around your yard and especially around areas where you and your family spend the most time outside, such as the patio or around the pool. Two great choices to add are live citronella plants and lemongrass. They are easy to plant, grow well, smell great, and keep those big mosquitoes away. If you want to add more of a variety of plants, also consider lavender (pictured), rosemary, garlic, and peppermint. You will also find all these plants in most natural insect repellent products!

Questions? Visit Moon Valley Nurseries Today!

For more questions or concerns about mosquitoes in your yard, best plants to get rid of them, or how to design your yard to be mosquito-free, visit us at the location nearest to you or schedule a consultation today.


Topics: Expert