Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

August, 2007
Regional Report

Plant Palms

Palms thrive when planted in the midst of summer. Choose species based on their mature size, both vertically and horizontally, so they don't quickly grow out of bounds since their spiky fronds can be problematic near walkways and patios. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not wet. This probably means watering daily for the first two weeks, gradually spreading the interval to once per week for the first growing season.

Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Areas

During summer monsoons, rain might collect in saucers beneath pots, pots without drainage, buckets left out, and so on. Check around your yard and empty any standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. They like shallow, undisturbed water. Mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus, which can be fatal to humans and pets, so ensure that your yard doesn't offer them any good spots to lay eggs.

Hose Off Dusty Plants

Windy monsoon storms cover plants in dust, especially if there's no accompanying rain to wash it off, and spider mites thrive in such conditions. The best time to hose off dusty plants is early morning before sun strikes the foliage. If you're not an early riser, the next best time is late afternoon when the sun has gone down but there's still time for water to evaporate. Damp overnight conditions can contribute to fungal problems.

Consult an Arborist

Heavy, thick tree canopies are susceptible to damage during monsoon thunderstorms. Limbs may break and oftentimes entire trees are lifted out of the ground. Never top trees or hack off limbs indiscriminately, which will create even more problems. Because attractive mature trees add considerable value to a property, it's worth consulting a certified arborist.

Fertilize Lawns

Feed Bermuda lawns monthly with a fertilizer formulated for lawns that includes not only nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but also trace amounts of other needed nutrients including sulfur, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Follow package instructions exactly, and water to a depth of 8 to 10 inches immediately after application.


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