Southwestern Deserts

September, 2008
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Jojoba
Native to the Sonoran desert, Simmondsia chinensis is an extremely tough plant. It takes full sun, reflected heat, and is drought tolerant. It is low maintenance, with minimal litter drop and no thorns. Jojoba (prounounced ho ho' ba) grows to 6 feet tall and wide, and its dense foliage makes a good screening plant. It can be sheared as a hedge, although it looks more natural left to its own growth pattern. Male and female flowers bloom on different plants, so you'll need both to harvest jojoba nuts.

Clever Gardening Technique

Avoid Tree Staking
Although tree staking is commonplace, experts now advise against staking young transplants. Research shows that tree saplings allowed to sway in the breeze, without rigid staking, will develop strength and girth more rapidly than staked trees. However, many young trees are tied tightly to stakes in their nursery pots, so what can you do to circumvent this gardening Catch-22? Politely ask nursery personnel to remove the stake from a tree sapling that you're considering. All things equal, buy the tree that can stand on its own.

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