July Garden Tasks

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

 


Smart water-wise practices pay off now:

 

Climate-adapted plants + mulch + deep watering =

less water use + happy plants + a beautiful yard!

 

 

~ Check irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

~ Flush out lines by removing end caps with your water system on; sand or deposits that build up in lines can clog emitters.

~ 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.

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

~ Encourage repeat blooming by pinching or cutting back annuals, perennials and shrubs

 

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

 

 June Garden Tasks

An easy way to move cactus during planting is to use micro-tube hose for smaller plants or a section of old garden hose for larger cacti.

An easy way to lift and move cactus during planting is to use micro-tubing for smaller plants or a section of old garden hose for larger cacti.


Good season to plant or transplant palms or cacti

 

~ Prune fast-growing trees like mesquite, palo verde, and acacias to reduce chances of wind damage. Don’t remove more than 20 percent of a plant’s foliage at any one time to avoid stress or sunburn of trunk and branches.

~ Keep adding to mulches throughout the summer to conserve water, keep roots cool, and deter weeds. Water well before applying the mulch (or through an opening in the mulch), or you’ll insulate dry soil rather than moist soil.

~ Water your plants deeply enough to thoroughly soak the soil, but infrequently enough that the soil dries out between waterings. This encourages roots to grow deeper into cooler soil for better drought tolerance.

~ Continue to deadhead spent flowers for a longer bloom cycle.

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

May
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Plant of the Month – June

Santolina,
Lavender Cotton

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Santolina is a small but mighty asset in drought-tolerant settings, making a sturdy and colorful hedge, border plant, groundcover, solitary specimen, or a beautiful addition to rock gardens, and herb or knot gardens.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 foot tall x 2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun – Part shade
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Summer (May – August)
  • Native to: Mediterranean Basin
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

 

Santolina is a tiny powerhouse when it comes to useful, beautiful, drought-tolerant plants. This soft, gray-green plant grows tight and compact, and holds bright yellow, button-like flowers on tall stems high above the rounded plant in late spring and summer. The flowers are great in dried arrangements, wreaths, and crafts. Rub the finely-dissected leaves between your fingers to release the pungent fragrance, and imagine being in a Christmas tree farm with fresh-cut wreaths. Deer and rabbits avoid eating this plant. Santolina survives heat, poor soil, and infrequent watering, but must have well-draining soil, and can be killed by overwatering. Prune back to the ground in spring if it becomes sparse or leggy. Versatile as a small hedge, border plant, solitary specimen, or large-scale groundcover, especially as a sturdy soil-builder on problematic hillsides. Beautiful in rock and succulent gardens, herb and knot gardens, or massed by itself for dramatic effect.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for June

May
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Plant of the Month – May

Firecracker Penstemon,
Eaton’s Firecracker,
Scarlet Bugler

Penstemon eatonii

Firecracker Penstemon is a hummingbird magnet that is also prized by gardeners for its brilliant, abundant flowers.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 feet tall and wide (flower stalks 2-4 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Late winter – spring (Feb – June)
  • Native to: S. California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

Firecracker Penstemon is irresistible to hummingbirds due to its nectar-filled, brilliant, scarlet flowers. It is among the first to bloom in spring, providing an early-season nectar source for hummingbirds. This low-growing, shrubby perennial produces a mound of rich, dark green leaves from which tall stalks of flowers emerge, the tubular flowers usually hanging to one side of the inflorescence. Grows best in well-drained soil with full sun, as shade can cause plants to sprawl. Overwatering may cause the plant to rot. Harvest the flowering spikes in summer when seed capsules are dry to scatter seeds to start new plants. The basal rosette of leaves will remain attractive year-round. Plant in masses for a stunning display (and to drive hummingbirds crazy), or as accents against cacti, boulders, or rock walls.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for May

 

 May Garden Tasks

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.


Rising temperatures cause changes in plants…prepare for summer!

 

~ Change watering schedule from mid-day to early morning or evening as weather heats up to minimize loss through evaporation.

~ Maintain a good mulch of organic matter (such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood) covering garden soil throughout the summer to hold in moisture, moderate soil temperatures for optimum root growth, improve the soil as it decomposes, and prevent weeds from germinating. Mulch allows you to water less often (but still deeply). Keep mulch several inches away from tree trunks and plant stems for good air circulation.

~ Remove spent flowers from annuals, perennials, and shrubs—unless you want to collect seeds (such as from Penstemons); “deadheading” old flowers stimulates repeat blooming.

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches.

~ Encourage your plants’ roots to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 April Garden Tasks

    Color season is reaching its peak—spend time outside enjoying it!

 

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

~ Reset irrigation schedules and increase watering time as temperatures rise

~ Plant cold-tender perennials, preferably in pots so winter protection is easier

~ Transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from March to mid-April

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches

~ Keep mulch on the soil–especially with organic matter such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood–to temper the drying and heating effect of the sun; irrigation will be more effective with less frequency and quantity

~ Teach your plants to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

~ Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water

~ Continue pulling weeds before they form seed heads (if weeds are brown, you waited too long); you’ll have fewer weed problems later. Remember that weeds need disturbed soil to prosper; if you disturb soils with a hoe to remove weeds, you are cultivating the perfect bed for next year’s weeds. Instead, pull weeds by hand to minimize soil disturbance, or mow weeds before seeds form, then cover with mulch to prevent next year’s weed crop from forming. If you don’t have enough mulch to cover all your weeds, mow repeatedly during the spring growth season often enough to remove flowers before seeds develop. After just a season or two, you will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for weeding.

 

 

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