Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

October, 2007
Regional Report

Sow Wildflower Seeds

Mix seeds with sand or soil to make it easier to spread them evenly. Sow in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. Keep soil moist until seedlings reach 1 to 2 inches tall. Gradually reduce the watering frequency. Desert marigold, desert bluebells, and Parry's penstemon are reliable germinators and will self-sow for years to come.

Maintain Roses

Roses are into their second bloom period of the year. Reduce watering frequency as temperatures cool but continue to water 2 feet deep. Feed with a slow-release product. Help control powdery mildew by raking up all plant debris and thinning around plants to create good air circulation.

Plant a Cool-Season Herb Garden

Choose a site in full sun with excellent soil drainage. Herbs don't like their roots in wet soil. Set out transplants for lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Sow seeds for chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, and parsley.

Change Automatic Timers

Adjust automatic irrigation timers as temperatures drop. Reduce the frequency of watering but apply the same amount of water to soak through a plant's root system. Use the 1-2-3 rule as a guide for how deep to water. Water plants with shallow root systems such as perennials, cacti, and succulents to a depth of 1 foot, shrubs to a depth of 2 feet, and trees to a depth of 3 feet. Use a sharp soil probe to determine how far water soaks. It will move through moist soil, but stop at dry, hard soil.

Add Landscape Plants

Add desert-adapted trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, ornamental grasses, perennials, cacti, and succulents. Unnecessary pruning to contain a plant's size ruins its natural shape, so locate all plants where they have room to reach their mature height without infringing on sidewalks, driveways, and roof lines.


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