Southwestern Deserts

June, 2006
Regional Report

Provide Water for Birds

If you don't already have a water feature, consider adding one to provide for native birds. Moving water stays fresh longer than still water, and the sound of water -- even a small drip -- attracts birds. If you have a bird bath, scrub it clean several times per week to prevent the spread of disease. Use a 10 percent bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water) to disinfect.

Replenish Mulch

Ensure that several inches of organic mulch, such as compost or dried leaves, surround plants. Mulch reduces soil temperatures, helping to keep roots cool. It maintains soil moisture, reducing water loss. Mulch also inhibits weed growth.

Water Citrus Trees

Citrus fruit development later in the year is based upon consistent soil moisture now and through the summer. Water mature trees to a depth of 3 feet at the tree's dripline, or canopy edge, every 10 to 14 days. Water newly planted trees to a depth of 18 to 24 inches every 5 to 7 days.

Plant Summer Color

Transplant these heat-loving flowers, all of which bloom prodigiously through summer: angelita daisies, cosmos, coreopsis, desert marigolds, Mexican hat, gaillardia, zinnias, lantana, sunflowers, and verbena.

Monitor Water Needs of Cacti

Look for signs of wrinkling or shriveling, which indicates the cactus is stressed for water. Give cacti a deep soaking (1 to 2 feet deep) once per month in summer. If summer rains are heavy, it may not be necessary.

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