Southwestern Deserts

February, 2006
Regional Report

Transplant Tomatoes

The last frost date is around mid-March in the low desert (later at higher elevations), but if you want to get a jump on the tomato-growing season, set out transplants now. Be prepared to protect them if frost is predicted.

Plant Bare-Root Roses

Finish up planting bare-root roses by the end of the month. Container-grown roses can be transplanted up until April. Soak bare-root plants in a bucket of water for several hours or overnight before planting.

Fertilize Citrus

If you haven't already done so, feed citrus trees with the first of three feedings for the year. Give them one-third of their total annual nitrogen requirement. Scratch granular fertilizer into the soil slightly beyond the tree's dripline. This is where feeder roots are actively taking up water and nutrients. Water fertilizer in deeply immediately after applying. Water should soak 3 feet deep for mature citrus.

Name That Aloe

Many aloes are in full bloom. Now is a good time to enjoy aloes at botanical and demonstration gardens to see the shape and color of flowers and make note of any species you'd like to add to your garden.

Check on Bulbs

Spring-blooming bulb foliage should be poking up by now. If you overplant the bulb bed with cool-season flowers such as sweet alyssum or calendulas, make sure they aren't overshadowing the bulb foliage. If necessary, gently cut back sprawlers like alyssum, trim back errant foliage on larger plants like calendula, or even pull them out if necessary. Bulb foliage needs full sun now in preparation for spring bloom.

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