Pay Attention To The Soil For Better Gardening In Las Cruces

Mar 15, 2019

Dr. William Lindemann still gets his shoes dusty. He is still fascinated with soil profiles, and still reads the history of the soil even in small sheer cliffs around Las Cruces. After a long career teaching soil science at New Mexico State University, he now looks to share the knowledge of our desert landscape with residents who want to understand and improve their gardens and lawns. If that’s you, you’re invited to the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) free Lush and Lean Workshop on Thursday, March 21st.

“The Rio Grande used to be all the way up here,” explains Lindemann as he climbs an embankment to point out a layer of rocks that were at the bottom of a rushing river. “You can see how river currents moved the finer gravel and sand, which settled underneath the rocks here,” he explained.

Lindemann shares these observations at his workshop, “Soils and Mulches,” where residents can learn to prepare and maintain their gardens with soil amendments and use mulch to increase water uptake and retention by plants. Mulch has been a pinnacle career achievement for this retired professor, with a three-year study completed for local pecan farmers to staunch the annual burning of pecan branches and dried leaves.

“It used to be that the farmers would burn the trimmings of the trees, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was coming down on the state,” he said. “We started to investigate whether the ‘pecan trash’ could be incorporated into the soil.” The study showed the shredded wood did not tie up nutrients as some expected and would benefit soil properties in the long term. What was previously burned as waste has now become a beneficial soil amendment with no negative side effects. Lindemann smiled, “Agriculture and the environment are, of course, always tied together.”

All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave., upstairs in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at


Submitted by 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.