Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

September, 2000
Regional Report

Fertilize Landscape Plants

Apply fertilizer to trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, and perennials early this month. It provides a boost after the long, hot summer. Water deeply the day before and immediately after applying to help prevent burning. Don't fertilize frost-tender tropicals such as bougainvillea, citrus, or hibiscus.

Lawn Care

Continue fertilizing summer Bermuda lawns monthly with 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen and 6 ounces of iron per 1,000 square feet. If you plan to overseed with winter rye grass, stop fertilizing 4 to 6 weeks in advance. If temperatures remain over 90F, water every 2 to 3 days. Decrease to 3 to 5 days when temperatures drop below 90F.

Prepare Roses for Blooming

In the low desert, roses can be lightly pruned around mid-September to promote their second bloom period in October. Resume applying a slow-release fertilizer when temperatures cool. Water mature rose shrubs to a depth of about 2 feet and slightly past the plant\'s dripline. Deep watering helps these deeply rooted plants flower.

Control Whiteflies

These tiny, pesky insects are often found in great numbers on vining crops, lantana, and hibiscus. Tapping a plant releases a flurry of \"snow\" (flying whitefly adults) if the infestation is bad. The best method of control is to hose off plants, particularly underneath leaves, with a soapy water spray as often as necessary. Use 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent per gallon of water, starting with the smaller amount and increasing if needed.

Plant Vegetables

At higher elevations, begin transplanting cool-season crops such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, lettuce, and greens. Protect tender transplants with mulch. Sow seeds for root crops such as beets, carrots, and radishes early in September. In the low desert, wait until temperatures cool toward early October to transplant and sow vegetables.


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