Southwestern Deserts

October, 2010
Regional Report

Divide Perennials

Dig and divide summer bloomers, such as calla and daylily. Before replanting, incorporate compost into the bed and mix a phosphorous source that promotes blooming into the bottom of the hole. Organic phosphorus fertilizers include bone meal and rock phosphate.

Plant Herbs

Sow seeds for anise, borage, caraway, catnip, chamomile, chervil, chicory, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, horehound, lemon balm, parsley and salad burnet. Transplant bay tree, comfrey, germander, lavender, lemon grass, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, rue, sage, santolina, tansy and thyme. Herbs must have excellent drainage or they develop root rot.

Reduce Watering

Cut back on watering as temperatures cool. Change timers on automatic irrigation systems. Water should continue to soak the appropriate depth with each application. What changes is the number of days between irrigations. Remember the 1-2-3 Rule: Water should soak 1 foot for annuals, perennials, cacti, and succulents; 2 feet for shrubs; and 3 feet for trees.

Plant a Tree With Fall Color

If you want a tree that provides fall color in your yard, start checking nurseries for Chinese pistache trees. Their leaves provide splendid autumn hues of scarlet, orange and gold. Because the color can vary, it pays to look at them when the leaves are changing to make sure you get what you want. This tree grows 40 feet tall and wide, so site it where it has room to reach maturity.

Plant a Row for the Hungry

Cool-season veggies are easy to grow and prolific. Plant some extra crops to donate to a food bank or shelter.

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