Southwestern Deserts

March, 2005
Regional Report

Keep Pulling Winter Weeds

Lots of rain means a leafy green abundance of winter weeds. If you were slow to yank them when they germinated, be sure to get them before they go to seed. Weeds produce copious amounts of seeds, which can lurk in the soil for years, waiting to germinate again when conditions are to their liking.

Transplant Landscape Plants

Now is the time to transplant native or desert-adapted trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, perennials, cacti, and succulents to give roots time to establish before summer heat. Dig a hole that is as deep as the rootball and three to five times as wide. If soil is extremely hard and compacted and difficult to dig, loosen as wide an area as possible. This helps roots move outward through the soil. It is not recommended to amend the backfill or fertilize new transplants.

Photograph Your Garden

Take photos of your spring garden and save them in a journal. You'll be amazed how much things grow over a few years.

Plant Basil

Sow seeds or transplant young seedlings into containers with good quality potting soil, or into improved garden beds with good drainage. Keep soil consistently moist until seeds germinate and roots establish. Basil takes full sun but also benefits from protection from afternoon sun in summer.

Fertilize Deciduous Fruit Trees

Apple, apricot, peach, and plum trees need nitrogen fertilizer just as temperatures warm and new leaf growth starts to pop. Wait for your area's last frost date because feeding stimulates tender new growth which is susceptible to frost damage. Apply fertilizer at the outer edge of the tree's canopy, also known as the drip line, where its roots can absorb nutrients and water.

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