Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

August, 2000
Regional Report

Water Deeply

Examine plants for signs of water stress such as wilting, drying, or yellowing leaves. Irrigate slowly and deeply throughout the root system. For annual flowers and vegetables, water should penetrate about one foot; for shrubs, two feet; and for established trees and citrus, three feet for the plants to get the most benefit.

Checking for Iron Chlorosis

Non-native plants often exhibit signs of iron chlorosis (deficiency) at this time of year. Look for the new leaves yellowing, but leaf veins are still green. Iron chlorosis sometimes occurs from overwatering in combination with summer thunderstorms. Wet soils displace oxygen, which plant roots require to absorb iron. If symptoms appear and you aren\'t overwatering, apply iron chelates or ferrous sulfate, which roots can readily use.

Fertilize Citrus

Apply the third and final application of nitrogen for the year. Apply one-third of the tree\'s total annual requirement. For mature citrus (those that have been in the ground six years or more), this is about one-third to one-half pound of actual nitrogen. Water thoroughly after applying to help prevent root burn.

Preparing Fall Gardens

Get ready for the fall garden by pulling weeds before they go to seed and putting them in the compost pile. (If weeds spread by runners or have gone to seed, it's better to destroy them). Remove spent summer plants. Layer several inches of compost or other organic matter over the soil. Dig or till it in to a depth of about 12 inches or let it sit until temperatures are cooler.

Splitting On Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruits split is common this time of year. It's most likely due to insufficient water earlier in the season. Lack of water causes tough rinds that can't expand as the fruit grows larger resulting in the fruit splitting. Unfortunately, there's nothing to fix the problem this season. Be sure to water deeply next year throughout the entire root zone.


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