Southwestern Deserts

August, 2008
Regional Report

Go Green in the Garden

Eliminate pesticide use and let birds, beneficial predator insects, and lizards consume pests for you.

Plant Palms

Palms are about the only landscape plant that loves to be planted in the midst of a low-desert summer. Choose species based on their mature size, both vertically and horizontally, so they don't quickly grow out of bounds. Their spiky fronds can be problematic near walkways and patios. Keep the soil consistently moist but not wet. This probably means watering daily for the first two weeks, gradually spreading the interval to once per week for the first growing season.

Clean Up Storm Damage

If tree limbs break during thunderstorms, remove limbs as soon as possible so the tree can begin healing. Don't leave stubs, always cut back to the next larger branch or to the trunk. This is where the tree's meristematic tissue is located, which helps seal the wound naturally. Don't apply paint or sealants to pruning cuts. They interfere with a tree's natural ability to heal itself.

Sow Summer Squash

Quick-maturing pattypan, crookneck, and zucchini will still germinate in warm soil and produce a crop in the low desert or middle desert, depending on frost dates. Look for varieties that are relatively fast maturing -- 48 to 52 days. Sow seeds in a rich organic soil and keep them consistently moist until germination. After seedlings sprout, apply mulch to conserve moisture and reduce soil temperature.

Water Citrus

Citrus trees need sufficient water to produce a viable crop. Water trees that have been planted one year or less every 5 to 7 days; trees that have been planted one to two years, every 7 to 10 days; and trees three years or older, every 10 to 14 days. Apply water at the dripline (canopy edge) where feeder roots can absorb it. Water should soak 3 feet deep.

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