Southwestern Deserts

August, 2005
Regional Report

Monitor Water Use

If monsoon rains are heavy in your area, you may be able to skip a watering cycle on lawns or other plants. Use a soil probe to determine how far water has penetrated. A sharp-pointed metal rod will move readily through moist soil but stop at dry hard soil. Bermuda should be moist to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Shallow-rooted annuals, perennials, and succulents have roots that are 1 foot deep.

Watch for Wildlife

Baby quail and rabbits are putting in appearances, even in the middle of urban environments. Share the experience with the youngsters in your life.

Fertilize Citrus

Apply the year's third and final application of nitrogen. Water in well immediately. This late feeding in summer helps with fruit sizing later in the year.

Treat Iron Chlorosis

This deficiency appears as yellowing on leaves while the veins still appear green. It's common at this time of year in non-native plants, such as roses. Although iron is available in the soil, their roots can't absorb it. Apply a chelated iron source for easy absorption.

Plant Bermuda Lawns

This is the last month to plant Bermuda in the low desert. Prepare the soil before planting by adding at least 2 inches of nitrified wood mulch or other organic matter. Apply gypsum to improve drainage. Soil sulfur reduces soil pH somewhat, but it is only temporary. Add ammonium phosphate fertilizer (16-20-0) according to product instructions. Till in all the amendments at least 4 to 6 inches deep (6 to 8 is better).

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