Southwestern Deserts

August, 2007
Regional Report

Conserve Water on Lawns

Water bermuda grass turf every 2 to 3 days if temperatures are over 100 degrees F. If temperatures are in the 90s at higher elevations, extend that to 3 to 5 days. Water should soak 8 to 10 inches deep through the entire root system. It should never be necessary to water daily if you are watering deeply enough. Run the sprinklers and check to make sure water is not being wasted on sidewalks and driveways.

Trim Roses

Trim lightly to remove dead or weak canes. Begin fertilizing again as the heat abates, but stop around mid-October as plants head into winter dormancy and temperatures cool. Fresh tender growth is susceptible to frost damage.

Prune Storm-Damaged Trees

Promptly remove any broken limbs from recent storms, cutting back to the juncture with the trunk (or nearest larger branch). Trees have specialized tissue that can heal pruning cuts located there. Don't leave stubs or cut deeply into the trunk. These cuts don't let the tree seal the wound properly so it becomes easy entry for pests and diseases.

Plant Palms

Palm trees are one of the few landscape plants that prefer to be planted in the heat of summer. Before buying, decide how much space there is in the landscape, vertically and horizontally, for the palm to reach its mature size. Choose a variety whose mature size will fit that space, as pruning back palms is not recommended, and their fronds can have sharp tips. Water frequently enough that root systems are consistently moist until temperatures cool. No fertilizer is needed for the first year.

Feed Citrus

Fertilize citrus with one-third of its annual total nitrogen requirement. Water in immediately. Water deeply (3 feet for mature trees, slightly less for younger trees recently transplanted) through the tree's entire root zone, and out to the edge of its canopy. This is where feeder roots actively absorb water.

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