Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

February, 2007
Regional Report

Plant Bare-Root Deciduous Fruit Trees

Deciduous fruits (apple, apricot, pear, plum, peach) need specific "chilling hours" to bear fruit. The Phoenix area typically receives about 400 chilling hours annually. Thus, fruit varieties selected for lower numbers, such as 250-300 hours, will have a greater likelihood of bearing fruit each year regardless of weather conditions than, for example, a variety that needs 400-plus hours. Ask your County Cooperative Extension office about chilling hours and a list of fruit varieties that perform in your area.

Selectively Prune Nonnative Deciduous Trees

Don't prune just to prune. Remove dead, diseased, damaged, weak, or crossed branches to improve a tree's health or structure. Wait to prune frost damage until new growth starts, otherwise you may trim off more tissue than is necessary. Oftentimes, damage looks worse than it is. Never remove more than one-fourth of a tree in a year.

Generate a Planting List

Take a look around your landscape at what survived (or not) the freeze and what locations demonstrated colder microclimates. Semi-annual plant sales at regional botanical gardens are coming up soon. Keep cold tolerance in mind when jotting down your new "plants to consider" list!

Clean Up Around Citrus Trees

Regularly rake up any dropped fruit that might attract pests and insects. If you can't use all of your citrus, donate it to a food bank. Some nonprofit groups have volunteers who will harvest the fruit for you to donate it. Or gather your neighbors for a harvesting potluck.

Transplant Globe Artichokes

Transplant into loose, improved garden soil with good drainage. Allow plants 3 to 4 feet to spread as their magnificently lobed foliage grows quite large and creates a visual statement on its own, with or without the artichokes.


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