Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

August, 2006
Regional Report

Plan for Fall Planting

Autumn's planting season is sneaking up on us. Start gathering your idea folder of new plants to try and design ideas for sprucing up your surroundings. Start with a small area and move on from there. It isn't necessary to redo an entire landscape in one season!

Rake Leaves and Seedpods

Allow some litter drop from trees to remain on the ground as mulch. Rake the excess (or the stuff that makes your HOA cranky) and put it in the compost pile, spread it beneath shrubs and perennials as mulch, or layer it on garden beds to be dug in as organic matter.

Fertilize Citrus

Apply one-third of a tree's total annual nitrogen application in August or September. Scratch fertilizer into the soil around the tree's dripline (edge of the canopy) and water in deeply. Water should soak 3 feet deep for mature trees. This late-summer feeding helps with fruit sizing later in the year.

Maintain Roses

Roses are susceptible to iron chlorosis, a yellowing caused by the plant's inability to absorb iron in the soil. Iron chlorosis shows as yellowing leaves with green veins. (Nitrogen deficiency shows as the entire leaf yellowing, usually beginning with older foliage.) Apply a chelated iron source and water it in well to a depth of 2 feet. Replenish mulch if needed and check for spider mites.

Order Bulbs

Peruse catalogs for bulbs that you'd like to try, or check your local nurseries. Bulbs tend to sell out quickly. Look for bulbs that are native to areas with similar growing conditions, elevations, and climates as your own. For example, many South African natives will also bloom in the Southwest's low deserts.


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