Southwestern Deserts

April, 2006
Regional Report

Replenish Mulch

Replenish layers of organic mulch around plants, keeping it away from stems and trunks. Wet mulch against plant tissue is conducive to the spread of disease. As summer heats up, mulch will maintain soil moisture, cool soil temperatures, and inhibit weeds. As the organic material decomposes, it adds nutrients to the soil.

Plant Warm-Season Vegetables

Sow seeds for lima or snap beans, black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, cucumbers, jicama, and okra. Transplant sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes.

Plant Warm-Season Flowers

Reliable summer bloomers include angelita daisies, celosia, chocolate flower, coreopsis, cosmos, desert marigolds, four o'clocks, gaillardia, gazania, globe amaranth, impatiens, lisianthus, Mexican sunflowers, marigolds, portulaca, rock penstemons, salvia, sunflowers, vinca, and zinnias.

Provide Water Features

A water feature in the landscape attracts birds for both drinking and bathing. Water also supplies a soothing element for humans. If possible, install a feature with moving water, which stays clean and fresh longer. If birdbaths are the only option, be sure to scrub them clean regularly, at least 2 times a week, and more frequently in summer. This helps prevent the spread of disease.

Enjoy the Desert's Bounty

Go for a walk around your neighborhood, hike a desert trail, or visit a local botanical garden to enjoy the desert's late-spring bounty. Even though we had a dry winter, there's still plenty of beauty to soak up. Palo verde trees are bursting forth with clouds of yellow blossoms. Some species of cacti are in flower, and penstemon and late-blooming aloe provide lots of pinks, oranges, and yellows.

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