Southwestern Deserts

June, 2008
Regional Report

Monitor Moisture Needs

Recent transplants (in the ground less than one year) need attention in June, which is typically the hottest, driest month of the year in the low desert. Drying winds can quickly desiccate foliage. Water deeply but as infrequently as possible, ensuring that water soaks 1 foot deep for shallow-rooted plants, 2 feet for shrubs and 3 feet for trees.

Cover Tomato Plants

Low-elevation gardeners should cover tomato plants with 50 to 70 percent shade cloth if you want to carry them through the summer to produce again in fall.

Harvest Deciduous Fruit

Birds are ready and waiting to peck holes in apples, apricots, peaches, and plums the second they are ripe. Wrap each fruit loosely in a paper bag. Bird netting is also a possibility, although birds getting trapped is a problem so monitor regularly.

Prepare Containers for Summer

Move containers into areas with filtered light or protection from hot afternoon sun. Layer several inches of mulch on top of the soil to reduce soil temperatures and maintain moisture. Put a smaller pot inside a larger pot to insulate it from the sun's direct rays.

Maintain Houseplants

Fertilize with an all-purpose product for houseplants or water regularly with compost tea. Pinch back growing tips to encourage bushiness. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust. Catch some rainwater in a bucket to provide indoor plants with a healthy drink.

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