Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

September, 2008
Regional Report

Maintain Houseplants

Add nutrients with compost tea every other watering. If you prefer less maintenance, apply a slow-release fertilizer according to package instructions. Wipe dusty leaves with a soft, damp cloth.

Monitor Water Needs

Abundant rainstorms within days of each other means you can skip scheduled irrigations. This is especially true if you have clay soil, which retains moisture. Water-logged soil causes root rot in many desert-adapted plants, including cacti and succulents.

Buy Seeds

Prime planting season for cool-season vegetables and flowers, as well as wildflowers, starts soon. Buy seeds at nurseries while supplies are varied, or order online for packets to arrive in time.

Correcting Iron Deficiency

Iron chlorosis (yellowing leaves with green veins) occurs when plant roots can't absorb existing iron from the soil, either because the soil is too wet or the soil pH is too high (alkaline). It sometimes appears during the summer when monsoons saturate the soil. Since wet soil can worsen the problem, ensure that you are watering plants efficiently. Check irrigation systems for leaks or errors in the automatic watering timer. If necessary, reduce watering frequency. The problem will often correct itself when irrigation problems are addressed and/or monsoons end. If chlorosis continues, supply iron in a chelated form, which is more readily available for uptake by the plant roots. Iron chlorosis is more likely to appear on non-native plants. Natives are adapted to alkaline soil and able to obtain the iron they need.

Trim and Feed Roses

Lightly prune roses to ready them for their second bloom period of the year. Fertilize with a product formulated for roses or flowering shrubs.


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