Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

January, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Bareroot Roses

Choose plants with three or four, fat, green canes. Soak the plant in a bucket of water overnight to thoroughly hydrate it before planting. Select a spot that receives at least six hours of sun daily, although afternoon sun protection in summer is best. Dig a hole that is 18 to 30 inches deep and wide. Mix fertilizer in the bottom of the hole and add half compost to the backfill. Ensure the bud union is about 2 inches above the soil line.

Plant Cool-Season Flowers

Continue transplanting cool-season flowers, such as nasturiums, marigolds, calendulas, violas, poppies, snapdragons, and stock. Amend the soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or well-aged manure, before planting. Also incorporate a fertilizer for flowering plants according to package instructions.

Harvest Citrus

Most navel, blood, and sweet oranges; mandarins; and tangelos are ready for harvest, as well as grapefruit, pummelo, lemon, lime, and kumquat. If your trees carry more fruit than you can eat, harvest it for a food bank. Or, some food banks may have volunteer "gleaners" who will harvest it for you.

Reduce Landscape Watering

If you haven't already done so, reduce automatic irrigation. Most native and desert-adapted landscape plants need just one deep watering per month during cool winter months. Water should soak 1 foot deep for smaller plants, succulents, and ground covers, 2 feet for shrubs, and 3 feet for trees. Water ryegrass every 4 to 10 days to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Water dormant Bermudagrass that is not overseeded monthly.

Fertilize Citrus Trees

Divide your citrus tree's total annual nitrogen requirements into three equal feedings. Apply one third in January or February. Apply the remainder in April/May and August/September. The amount depends on the tree's size and how many years it has been in the ground. Use a citrus fertilizer and follow package instructions. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to prevent burn.


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