Southwestern Deserts

March, 2012
Regional Report

Tend Spring Wildflowers

Penstemon, poppies, blue bells, lupine, and other wildflowers add cheerful color to landscapes at this time of year. Don't overwater them. They are desert plants used to arid conditions, but you can extend their bloom period with a deep soaking if there is no rain and weather is dry, windy, or unseasonably hot. Allow flowers to dry, form seedpods, and self-sow for next year. Alternatively, you can clip the dried seedpods and scatter seeds next fall where you want them to grow.

Research Landscape Plants

Spring plant sales are around the corner. Before you head out to buy, research plants that interest you to make sure they fit your site. You want to match their sun exposure needs, as well as their mature height and width, with what your site has to offer.

Feed Deciduous Fruit Trees

As temperatures warm and leaves just start showing, fertilize trees with nitrogen. Make sure your last frost date has passed because fertilizing stimulates new growth that is susceptible to frost damage. Follow package instructions exactly and water deeply after applying. Otherwise, excessive nitrogen can burn plant roots and be leached into water supplies.

Remove Cool Season Weeds

Lots of cool season weeds are developing seeds in preparation for the end of their life cycle. Pull them now before their seeds dry and drop, creating a seed bank in your soil for generations to come.

Start Warm Season Vining Crops Indoors

Sow seeds for cucumbers, melons, and squash indoors in small pots. They can be moved into the garden in 4 to 6 weeks.

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