Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

June, 2014
Regional Report

Fertilize Containers

The frequent watering required for container plants also leaches nutrients out of the soil quickly. Organic or slow-release fertilizers are good for pots, as they release their nutrients slowly over time, reducing the chance of root burn. Water thoroughly after application, allowing water to run out drainage holes. Empty any water that collects in saucers. It will be high in salts, which when reabsorbed, can burn roots

Monitor Soil Moisture

Remember that overwatering is often more of a problem than underwatering for desert plants, which are susceptible to root rot. Scratch down into the soil a few inches to see if the soil is dry rather than simply watering on a fixed schedule.

Prune Heritage Roses

Prune once-blooming heritage roses (also called old garden roses) after spring flowering is complete. These roses bloom on year-old or older wood, so pruning now develops wood for next year's blooms. Sterilize pruners in between pruning separate shrubs to prevent the spread of disease. Seal all pruning cuts with wood glue to stop cane borers from entering. (Hybrid roses should not be pruned at this time.)

Enjoy the Birds

Native baby birds are fledging and spring-blooming plants have gone to seed, drawing birds to the landscape. Take time to sit quietly in the garden or observe bird activity from a window.

Harvest Herbs

Harvest from your basil, oregano, and rosemary plants regularly to keep them producing new, tender leaves. Snip stems back by one-third, or cut a few stems almost to the ground to rejuvenate.


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