Southwestern Deserts

May, 2012
Regional Report

Compile a Garden Idea Book

Interior designers often suggest creating a scrapbook of ideas, with photos cut from magazines, fabric swatches, paint chips, etc. Follow that advice for your ideal landscape, compiling images of gardens, plant combinations, patio furniture, hardscape elements, garden art, etc.

Watch for Tomato Hornworms

These fat green larvae blend so well with tomato foliage that it is easier to spot their location by looking for dark, pellet-like droppings they leave behind. You may also find them after you see ragged edges on foliage that they have chewed. Handpick and destroy or put in a saucer for birds to grab.

Eat Herb Blossoms

Let some herbs go to flower to provide nourishment for pollinators. Edible blooms of cilantro, parsley, oregano, chives, and other herbs also add flavor and visual interest to tossed salads.

Halt the Spread of Nutsedge

Also called nutgrass, this tenacious weed spreads in lawns and disturbed areas with underground nuts that send out side runners to overtake an area in no time. To eradicate, dig the entire plant, making sure you get the nuts. If you yank just the green, sedge-like tops, the nuts remain viable to resprout and continue spreading.

Reprogram Timers

As weather warms, reprogram irrigation timers to water more frequently. The water should run the same length of time throughout the year, to moisten the entire root system, but the frequency changes with the seasons. The goal is to allow water to soak 1 foot deep for shallow rooted plants, 2 feet deep for shrubs, and 3 feet deep for trees. For Bermuda lawns, water should soak at least 6 inches deep, although Bermuda roots may go as deep as 8 to 10 inches. Always water deeply, but as infrequently as possible.

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