Late Spring Gardening in the Desert
ONE TIME A DAY!! We cannot say it enough. It is not necessary to water your garden more than one time a day: winter, spring, summer or fall. You may not need to water every day but when you do water, do so just once a day. Keep an eye on the temperature. Daily watering should occur when the temperature holds consistently in the high 90’s. Temperatures in the Desert during the spring can be all over the place… watch the weather. Take some time to check your irrigation applicators — your sprinklers and drip emitters. Make certain there are no clogged heads, errant geysers, or other suspicious activities in your irrigation system. Many of you have outside help with your gardens. Communication is key!! Work together with your gardeners to get the watering schedules correct.
May is an important month to fertilize your garden. Application of the correct fertilizer for your shrubs, trees and bedding plants one more time before the heavy heat arrives will push new growth after the spring pruning discussed in earlier newsletters. DR EARTH fertilizer is back on the shelves; they’ve changed the packaging but it is the same great product.
Summer prep: lay a thick layer of mulch in your planter beds towards the end of May. Surface mulch inhibits weed growth and saves on water by holding moisture in the ground longer. It also makes the garden look fresh. We have endured a fair amount of dust during the recent winds. You may notice your plants covered in a layer of dust. Take the time to rinse them off. Accumulation of the dust during warm months creates the perfect growing grounds for unwelcome pests such as red spider mite.
Pretty little butterflies in the garden are lovely but generally mean you have a greater evil lurking. Look for worms or caterpillars on shrubs and bedding plants alike. You will typically see them out in the morning, munching away. The tell-tale signs are small holes in leaves. CAPTAIN JACK’S DEADBUG BREW will take care of the problem, quickly and easily.
May is the time to treat all varieties of agave. Use BONIDE TREE AND SHRUB DRENCH as a preventive against the pesky agave weevil. As you work in the garden, you may find other creepy crawlers present. Remember it is important to correctly identify the pest and then choose the appropriate treatment to eradicate the problem. If you are unsure of the culprit, bring us a sample so we can diagnose and treat accurately.
May and June Gardening
There is plenty of time to plant anything in the garden through May and June. Citrus and trees of any kind, gardenia, roses, drought tolerant plants, bougainvillea, salvias, duranta, evergreen shrubs…….virtually anything we have in stock now will flourish once planted in the ground. Take care not to place sun sensitive material in direct sun at this time of year. Sago palms are best planted in the fall so they have the season to toughen up – once acclimated, they survive quite nicely in the full sun.
Orchids: enjoy and ignore. Phaleanopsis may last up to four months through the winter season, yet just 6 weeks in the spring. WHY? It’s all about metabolism…. think of orchids as being dormant in the winter. The blossom lasts a long time on the stem because the plant isn’t doing anything. The orchid uses more energy as temperatures rise; they work a little harder to survive. We recommend watering orchids once a month through the cool winter months and every week or two through the summer.
Use ice cubes or a turkey baster to regulate the amount of water. A little goes a long way. Orchids just do not last as long during the summer under the best of circumstances; it’s a nature thing. Your houseplants may also use a little more water through the summer. Stick to your once a week watering schedule; just up the amount you water.