Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

June, 2006
Regional Report

Transplant Palm Trees

Root systems of palm trees thrive when transplanted in summer heat. Dig a hole that's as deep as the rootball and twice as wide. Don't amend the backfill with organic material. Keep soil consistently moist for six to eight weeks until roots establish.

Monitor Citrus Water Needs

Fruit sizing is dependent upon regular soil moisture, especially during summer's hot days. Water deeply through the entire root system to a depth of 2 feet for young trees and 3 feet for mature trees. In summer, trees that have been planted for 1 year need water every 5 to 7 days; trees that have been in the ground 1 to 2 years need water every 7 to 10 days; and older trees every 10 to 14 days. These are guidelines only. Your particular soil conditions, weather, and tree health and maturity will determine how often to water.

Sow Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers germinate easily in warm soil temperatures. Keep soil moist until germination occurs. Sow native sunflowers in time to germinate with summer monsoon rains.

Solarize Soil

If you've had problems with soil-borne diseases in your garden beds, solarize the soil. Intense heat kills weed seeds, nematodes, and disease organisms. Layer manure or other fresh organic matter on top of the soil, water thoroughly, and cover with clear, heavy plastic. Weigh down the plastic with bricks or rocks around the edges. Let the soil "cook" for six to eight weeks. Soil temperatures can heat up to 140 degrees F or more.

Aerate Bermuda Lawns

Aeration is the process of punching small holes through the top layer of thatch and soil, removing "plugs" of soil. This allows oxygen, moisture, and nutrients to reach the grass roots. Aerate in summer when Bermuda is actively growing so it can recover quickly. Rent a powered aerator for large lawns, or use a foot-press aerator for small patches.


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