If you have a lawn or a garden in our Arizona desert, you might need a little assistance with what to expect in your garden, and what to do in your garden at certain times of the year. Here are some basic tips for caring for your desert plants, flowers, vegetables, and trees.
Your Desert Garden - Monthly Do List for JuneGrass
- Plant your Bermuda lawns if you haven't already.
- Apply iron to your lawn once per month.
- If it's time to dethatch, do it during the active growing season, May through August. Dethatch every two or three years to rejuvenate the grass.
- Pick early-maturing deciduous fruit to prevent bird damage, and ripen fruit at room temperature.
- June is the driest month, so plants may need more water.
- Apply mulch to the ground around heat sensitive plants keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation.
- Apply chelated iron to bottle brush, pyracantha, silk oak, and other plants with iron deficiency symptoms.
- Heat tolerant plants can be planted right through the summer months. They will need to be watered on a regular basis until fall.
- Transplant palms, mesquites, palo verdes, and other arid shrubs and trees in the heat of the summer for best results.
- Prune bougainvillea and lantana to stimulate growth and blooms.
- Transplant hibiscus. Fertilize hibiscus and palms with palm tree food and keep watered. For established hibiscus, prune back about one-third of the new growth.
- Cut back on fertilizing established roses to encourage plants to slow down for the hot summer.
- Water roses deeply as temperatures rise.
- Hose off roses in the early morning to increase humidity and control spider mites.
- Flowers for summer color include: celosia, coreopsis, cosmos, gazanias, globe amaranth, portulaca, zinnia, salvia, vinca (periwinkle), gomphorena and verbena.
- Flowerbeds will need irrigation every other day through the summer.
- Use ammonium phosphate in flower beds to increase and keep flowers blooming.
- Pinch chrysanthemums to make them bushy.
- Stake taller flowers to prevent damage from summer winds.
- Plant seeds for cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe, muskmelon
- Plant transplants: sweet potatoes
- Keep plants moist. Wilted leaves in the morning are a sign of moisture stress. Late afternoon wilting may be heat stress.
- Use sunscreens that offer no more than 50% sun reduction.
- As your melons come in, place a board beneath them. This will keep them off the moist soil and prevent insects from attacking them.
- Begin harvesting onions and garlic.
Your Desert Garden - Monthly Don't List for June
- Don't over water. Yes, it's very hot in the desert in June, so it might seem like watering more is the answer. Not necessarily true. Water slowly (prevents run off), deeply (use a soil probe or a long handled screwdriver to check that the water is penetrating 2-3 ft. deep for trees and shrubs, and 1- 1 1/2 ft. deep for turf & flowers), and infrequently (let the soil dry between watering).
- Do not prune citrus during the summer.
- Don't shade corn, squash, melons, black-eyed peas, okra, or grapes.
- Don't add fertilizer to dry soil. If you apply dry fertilizer on dry soil and water it in, the fertilizer is carried toward the roots as a concentrated solution and will burn them. Always water first, then apply fertilizers to moist soils, and then continue with the rest of the water.
Information contained herein was obtained from the The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and John Chapman's Southwest Gardening with their permission. Keep in mind that soil and conditions vary from location to location. Check with a local yard or landscape expert for specific issues with your garden.