Southwestern Deserts

June, 2010
Regional Report

Mulch Plants

Mulch around all plants to conserve moisture, reduce soil temperatures and inhibit weed seed germination. Layer several inches of any organic material such as compost, bark, straw or chipped matter. It's especially important around non-native, moisture-sensitive plants such as roses and hibiscus. Spread the mulch out past the plant's drip line but leave several inches of bare ground around the stem or trunk to prevent wet mulch from sitting against the plant tissue.

Sow Heat Loving Vegetables

Sow seeds for warm-season Armenian cucumbers, cantaloupe and okra. Transplant sweet potato slips. Help keep soil uniformly moist with a layer of organic mulch, such as compost.

Protect Citrus

If you haven't already done so, it's time to protect citrus bark, which is sensitive to sunburn. If the tissue is severely burned, it cracks and allows easy entry for pests and diseases. Allow branches to hang down and protect the trunk, rather than pruning them up. If they've already been removed, paint citrus trunks with white latex paint that is designed for tree trunks. If you don't like the appearance of the paint, loosely wrap exposed areas with layers of burlap, cardboard or tree wrap. Remove it at the end of summer.

Plant Bermudagrass Lawns

Bermudagrass can be planted now that soil temperatures have warmed. Lawns can be seeded with common or improved bermudagrass. Hybrid bermuda, which has no pollen and is therefore non-allergenic, is only available as sod. Whether seeding or sodding, first loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches and incorporate 2-3 inches of organic matter.

Mark Bulb Locations

Allow any remaining bulb foliage to die back on its own. It is manufacturing food for the bulb for next season's bloom. Use markers to identify the bulb locations so you don't mistakenly unearth them after the foliage is gone.

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