Southwestern Deserts

February, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Bare-root Roses

Modern hybrid roses grow to about 3 to 4 feet wide and tall at maturity. Heritage or old-fashioned shrub roses easily reach six to eight feet high and wide, which makes them perfect for a hedge or privacy screen. The heritage roses seem to withstand the heat and sun with less stress, although the modern hybrids also do well.

Continue Pruning Tasks

Prune roses, non-native deciduous shade trees and shrubs, deciduous fruit trees (such as apples, apricots, peaches), and grapes. Prune summer-blooming shrubs that bloom on new wood. Wait to prune frost-sensitive tropicals, such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, and lantana, until after the last frost. Also wait to prune spring-blooming shrubs that bloom on last season's wood until after flowering is finished.

Fertilize Citrus with Nitrogen

Divide your citrus tree's total annual nitrogen requirements into three equal feedings. The amount depends on the tree's size and how many years it has been in the ground. Use a citrus fertilizer and follow package instructions. Apply one third in January or February. Apply the remainder in April/May and August/September. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to prevent burn.

Start Tomato and Pepper Plants at High Desert Elevations

Sow seeds for tomatoes and peppers indoors so they are ready to transplant outside after your last frost date. For tomatoes, choose varieties that mature quickly or are heat resistant for the best chance of success. If your seedlings are growing on a sunny windowsill, rotate the container one-quarter turn daily so they don't bend towards the light.

Patrol Cool-Season Vegetables for Cabbage Loopers

Pale green caterpillars make a little arch with their bodies as they crawl across plants. Loopers may be found on most cool-season vegetables, including beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and greens. Their chewing mouthparts create telltale ragged holes or leaf edges. Handpicking is an easy control method.

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