Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

May, 2001
Regional Report

Save Seeds

Allow cool-season annual flowers and spring-blooming wildflowers to dry and go to seed. Collect and save seed by holding a paper bag underneath a dried seed head and snipping it off with scissors or pruners. Harvest seed on dry days after any dew has evaporated. Clean off the chaff and store the labeled seeds in a cool, dry place in airtight containers.

Protect Citrus

Citrus bark is sensitive to sunburn and requires protection. Severely burned tissue provides an entry point for pests and diseases. Paint trunks with white latex paint that is designed for tree trunks (check local nurseries). If you don't like the appearance of the paint, loosely wrap exposed areas with layers of cardboard and remove it at the end of summer.

Watch for Leafcutter Bees

Leafcutter bees take a crescent-shaped bite out of leaves when feeding at this time of year. They use the leaves for making nests, and they are particularly fond of roses and bougainvillea. No control is needed, as this activity does no permanent damage to the plant.

Plant Bermuda Lawns

Bermuda can be planted after mid-May when soil temperatures warm. Lawns can be seeded with common or improved Bermuda grass varieties. Hybrid varieties, if they are in seed form have no pollen and are therefore nonallergenic, are available as sod as well. Whether seeding or sodding, first loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and incorporate 2 to 3 inches of organic matter.

Prune Old Garden Roses

Once-blooming old garden roses (heritage roses) can be pruned after their spring bloom ends. They bloom on one-year-old or older wood, so pruning now will create wood for next spring\'s flowering. Use sharp by-pass pruners, which work with a scissors action. Seal all pruning cuts with wood glue to prevent cane borers from entering.


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