Southwestern Deserts

July, 2010
Regional Report

Protect Containers

Soil in containers heats up tremendously during summer and can "cook" roots. Relocate containers from full sun or hot afternoon sun to areas with partial sun or morning sun. Sheltered areas beneath tree canopies with filtered light or under protective eaves or patios are ideal.

Sow Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers germinate easily in warm soil temperatures. Keep soil moist until germination occurs. Sow native sunflowers in time to germinate with summer monsoon rains.

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.

Solarize Soil

If you've had problems with soil-borne diseases in your garden beds, solarize the soil. Intense heat kills weed seeds, nematodes, and disease organisms. Layer manure or other fresh organic matter on top of the soil, water thoroughly, and cover with clear, heavy plastic. Weigh down the plastic with bricks or rocks around the edges. Let the soil "cook" for six to eight weeks. Soil temperatures can heat up to 140 degrees F or more.

Butterflies on Citrus

Yellow and black swallowtail butterflies might be seen swooping around citrus trees. They deposit eggs that turn into orange dog caterpillars. The caterpillars camouflage themselves by resembling brown, gray, and white bird droppings, barely 1/4 inch long. They cause little damage so leave them alone and you will have more lovely butterflies to enjoy.

Donate Today

The Garden in Every School Initiative

Shop Our Holiday Catalog

— ADVERTISEMENTS —