By Platinum Team June 21, 2015

How to help your desert landscape survive this summer

June in metropolitan Phoenix. This isn’t exactly the month for thriving plants. Long days, soaring temperatures, minimal rainfall and low humidity all amount to a challenging season for our plants and flowers. So, how can you help your landscape survive during these tough summer months? First, learn to water plants properly. Surprisingly, over watering is a top reason plants and trees suffer in the summer. It’s easy to over compensate and over water during these hot months. Many do not realize that the clay soil commonly used in the Valley traps in moisture well. As ISA Certified Arborist John Eisenhower shares in UGA, “if you water too much the oxygen level drops and the plant can suffocate. The general rule is not to put water on water, you should let the root zone dry out before adding more water.” How much should you water? Different plants, of course, have different needs. We’ve rounded up some details for specific plant varieties common in our community. Agaves It’s helpful to place agaves on an irrigation drip line that delivers one gallon of water per hour. Desert Botanical Garden recommends watering agaves with 2-4 hours of drip irrigation once a week when temperatures are above 100. Do not fertilize during the summer months. Shrubs Desert Botanical Garden recommends the following watering schedule for shrubs: [table width=”500″  colalign=”left|left|left|left”] Temperature,1st Year,2nd Year,After 2 Years Over 108 degrees,every other day, every 3 days,once a week Over 100 degrees,once a week,every 10 days,every 2 weeks 90-100 degrees,every 10 days,every 2 weeks,every 3 weeks 75-90 degrees,every 2 weeks,every 3 weeks,every 4-5 weeks [/table] Roses Deep watering is essential for roses June through September. In June, hose off your roses with a strong spray at least twice a week. In July, increase this to every day. This should help control spider mites. The Consulting Rosarians of the Mesa-East Valley Rose Society also recommend, “Fertilize roses with a slow release fertilizer in June. In July and August use magnum grow at one-third strength (1 teaspoon per gallon of water) every two weeks.” Remove spent blooms.   Turf   Bermuda lawns benefit from one inch of water per week. It’s also good to apply iron once a month. Once every two or three years, it may be necessary to dethatch Bermuda lawns. If needed, this should be done during the active season, which is May through August.   Trees Desert Botanical Gardens recommends the following watering schedule for trees: [table width=”500″  colalign=”left|left|left|left”] Temperature,1st Year,2-5 Years,After 5 Years Over 108 degrees,every 2-3 days, every 10 days,every 3 weeks Over 100 degrees,once a week,every 10 days,gradually extend to 4 weeks 90-100 degrees,every 10 days,every 3 weeks,gradually extend to 6 weeks [/table] With monsoon season on the horizon, this is also an ideal time to take extra measures to protect trees. Most large trees benefit from pruning to reduce tree and branch failure. Pruning palms, in particular, once they have finished flowering helps prevent infestations of palm flowering caterpillars. To withstand monsoon winds, Integrity Tree Service recommends, “Install or adjust staking systems on younger trees. Staking ties should be strong enough to keep trees upright in strong winds but loose enough to allow the trunk to move slightly.”   A few other tips To help your plants survive the tough some months, you may also want to:

-Pay attention to how your plants and flowers look. If they begin to wilt and the leaves curl up, give them water. -Check your irrigation system, and adjust the timer for the hotter days. -Apply mulch to the ground around heat sensitive plants. -Consider purchasing a soil probe to confirm that the water is penetrating 2-3 feet deep for trees and shrubs.  A long handled screwdriver may be used as well.

We hope these tips help you keep your plants going during the difficult summer months. For more information about caring for your plants, we recommend the following resources:

AZ Cooperative Extension, Maricopa CountyDesert Botanical GardenGoodman’s Landscape Maintenance, LLCIntegrity Tree ServiceMesa East Valley Rose Society

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