Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

July, 2008
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Golden Dyssodia
Perennial Dyssodia pentachaeta blooms like crazy from spring to fall, adding a bright splash of yellow in hot, sunny areas. It is a low grower, reaching about 6 inches tall and wide. Its lacy foliage adds a sweet airy look to a bed. Planted closely, low-water-use dyssodia works as a ground cover, although it can be short-lived. However, it will also self-sow. Daisy-like flowers attract butterflies and blend nicely in wildflower gardens.

Clever Gardening Technique

How Much to Water
Believe it or not, overwatering is the more likely cause of plant mortality than underwatering in the low desert. It is always best to water deeply but as infrequently as possible. Remember the 1-2-3 Rule: Shallow-rooted plants such as annuals, perennials, cacti, and succulents have roots about 1 foot deep; water should penetrate 1 foot. Most shrub roots are 2 feet deep and tree roots 3 feet deep; water should soak 2 or 3 feet, respectively. Push a soil probe (a long piece of pointed metal) into the soil after watering to determine how far water has soaked. The probe will move easily through moist soil but stop at dry, hard soil.


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