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Summer Gardening 2012

sun-157126_640It appears we are in for a long summer season this year. Summer arrived early in May and we have seen little relief since; completely opposite weather of what we experienced last year. These days of high heat leave little to do in the garden but check sprinklers and watch for pests.

Water Is King!

Water is king, queen and the whole royal family during the summer. It is imperative to water the plants long enough to fully saturate the roots. Please do not assume that because the water comes on twice a day that your garden is receiving adequate water. Once a day watering should be enough. New plantings, shallow rooted plants and container plantings may require a second watering in the afternoon. Remember our urging you to become friends with your time clock?? It is easy to set the timer for an automatic second cycle or run through the programs manually. DID YOU REMEMBER TO CHECK THE RECHARGEABLE BATTERY IN YOUR TIME CLOCK THIS SPRING?

No Transplanting or Pruning

We do not suggest a whole lot of change in the garden at this time of year. No transplanting. Virtually no pruning – a little snip here, a little snip there if you must but avoid any heavy pruning that would open up young and unprotected foliage to sunburn. Fertilizing should also be kept to a minimum– organics are the only way to go. Mulching is always safe should you decide you simply must get your hands dirty.


Pests continue to be a problem through the warmer months. Summer provides perfect conditions for the onset of red spider mites. This pest can attack lantana, zinnia, several types of shrubs including roses; even herbs. The affected plants will appear to be very dusty. Occasionally but thoroughly rinse your plant material through the summer to help keep these pests at bay. Have you noticed huge, creepy bugs flittering about your desert landscapes? Derobrachus germinates or Palo verde root borer beetle are the culprit. These are the product of borers found eating the roots of your Palo verde trees; they are responsible for many trees downed during wind storms. The grubs can stay in the soil for years before morphing into these uncomfortably ugly bugs. Check the soil around your trees; if you find creamy colored ‘worms’ among the roots measuring about the size of your middle finger it is time to drench the soil with Bonide Tree & Shrub Insect Control. We continue to see ‘worm’ damage on bougainvillea, bedding plants and assorted shrubs – Sevin or Spinosad products will help control this problem.


Weeds also like to visit in the summer. Treat pop-up weeds throughout the garden with topical herbicides such as Round-Up. Careful not to over-spray surrounding plant material. Weeds in the lawn have to be managed individually as the window to apply pre-emergent has long since passed. (this should be done in February/March). Applying herbicides now will only burn the healthy turf. Nut grass is probably the biggest problem. Herbicide application can be a little tricky because you must prevent the treated area from getting wet for a time but it is a workable problem. All too often we see valuable time wasted on ineffective weed management. Better to treat the problem once chemically rather than pull the same weed over and over and over again.

Extreme heat in the summer is stressful on plant material. This is a perfect summer to do little in the garden – there will be plenty of time to play catch up come late September so take the summer off.

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