This Month in Your Southwest Yard – September



September Garden Tasks

Planting new native and drought-tolerant plants in the fall, when air temperatures are cooling but while soils are still warm, gives their roots a good growth spurt before their first summer, saving water and adding to vigor during their 2-3 year establishment period.

Late September to
starts the most important
planting season
of the year
in the Southwestern U.S.

~ Plant native and drought-tolerant plants from late-September to mid-November; warm soil helps new plants develop deep roots before summer, reducing water needs during their entire two- to three-year establishment. We traditionally recommended planting native and drought-tolerant plants from mid-September through October, but as high summer temperatures are now lasting longer into our “fall” months, we are now adjusting the ideal planting time for the southwest deserts later into what is considered “fall”. If we experience drying Santa Ana winds in September or October, it is best to delay planting until the “Santa Anas” subside (safely by early November), so new plantings do not have to endure those hot, drying winds when first planted.

~ Fall opportunity to transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from late September to October.

~ Reduce water to cactus and succulents to prepare them for winter rest and protect against frost damage.

~ Keep adding to mulches as they decompose to conserve water, keep soil and roots cool, and reduce the frequency of watering.

~ Walk irrigation lines to check for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

~ Continue deep-watering trees & shrubs once a month. If you water by hand, leave a dripping hose at the drip-line of trees and shrubs (at the outer edge of branches) to deeply soak soil once a month; set a timer to remind you to move hose to next plant.

~ Protect against wildfire as Santa Ana winds start; prune dead limbs, clean away brush, and clean leaves from gutters.

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for September