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June in the Garden

Summer Is Lurking

Similar to the last couple of years, May inched us closer to summer with a touch of rain (0.07 inches) and temperatures staying just under 100°. It was warm enough, albeit comfortable, to get you and your garden prepared for the weather that lies ahead as June is famously hot and dry with little mois- ture. Current weather predictions indicate a slow transition into those days of over 100°but, they will arrive and provide a variety of garden challenges and tasks for you, mostly related to the heat.

Prepare and Protect Your Garden

When our hot weather does arrive, plants will endure the intense heat as long you provide

proper irrigation during the summer months. Be on the lookout for signs of water stress such as wilting, curling leaves, yellowing, falling of older leaves and dead stems or branches. Proper watering is critical and you’ll find some Watering Guidelines below as well as some suggestions for Plantings and Summer Tasks.

Annual Summer Watering Guidelines

Always the number #1 challenge, proper irrigation to your plants is crucial during the summer months, especially June, as it is normally the driest month of the year. As the temperatures rise, plant watering needs will also increase.

Now is the time to adjust your watering schedule for the summer. Watering guidelines can be complicated as the amount of water and watering frequency depends on many factors such as:

  • Soil Type

  • Weather (temperature, humidity, rainfall, etc.)

  • Microclimate

  • Plant Size and Species

  • Newly planted or established in the landscape (two years or more) There is no simple answer, but let’s go with our reliable, simple guidelines:

How Much?

Ensure that you are deep watering your landscape plants to prevent salt build-up. Use a soil probe or a long-handled screw-driver to determine how deeply water is penetrating. A simple guideline is the 1-2-3 Rule:

  • 1 foot deep for small, shallow rooted plants

  • 2 feet deep for shrubs

  • 3 feet deep for trees

How Often? An often asked question and, in addition to the irrigation guidelines below, it is important to take into consideration weather, soil conditions, plant maturity and how well the plant has adapt- ed to the desert. Remember- let soil dry between watering’s.

  • 7-21 days - Desert-adapted trees

  • 7-14 days - Non-Desert adapted trees

  • 7-21 days - Desert shrubs

  • 5-7 days - Non–Desert adapted shrubs Other considerations:

  • Native or Desert-Adapted Trees- Recently planted should be watered once a week if temperatures are over 100 degrees. If temperatures are over 108 degrees water every 2-3 days.

  • Established trees should not need much watering due to our winter rain. Natural rainfall may be adequate for most well-established cacti and succulents. However, if rainfall is insufficient, water may be needed at least once for cactus and twice for succulents during the month of June. Always allow soil to dry out between each irrigation cycle. Wateryour cacti and succulents to a depth of at least 8-12 inches. Ineffective water management is the number one cause of death of landscape plants in the Valley, and, believe it or not, it is more frequently from over watering than under watering. You can reduce your water bill and take better care of your plants it you water slowly (prevents run off), deeply and infrequently (let the soil dry between watering).

Summer Tasks

Mulch- Add a 3-inch layer of organic mulch (compost, dried leaves, grass clippings, wood chips) to the soil around plants to prevent weeds, maintain moisture, and slightly lower soil temperature. As the mulch decomposes, it adds nutrients to the soil. Roses- To maintain healthy roses through the heat consider the following.

  • Cut back on fertilizing established roses to encourage plants to slow down for the hot summer.

  • Water deeply as temperatures climb.

  • Hose off plants in the early morning to increase humidity and control spider mites.

Prevent Chlorosis- This is caused by an Iron deficiency which is typified by yellow leaves with contrast- ing green veins. Apply a chelated iron product to the soil around the root zone, following the package instructions Fertilization- It is best not to fertilize this month as the tender new growth may burn quickly in the heat of early summer. If you choose to fertilize, do so only once at half strength. Fertilizers, especially inorganic ones, are high in salts that can accumulate quickly in the dry, hot conditions of summer. Plants in Containers- These plants should be watered daily, preferably early in the morning. Be sure the water flows out the bottom of the pot with each watering.

What to Plant?

Warm-Season Vines- Many varieties (e.g. Yellow Orchid-vine, Queen’s Wreath, Yellow Morning Glory-vine) can be planted during the summer months Herbs- This is a good month to plant herbs as they are widely available in small pots right now and are relatively inexpensive. You’ll find them in grocery stores as well as nurseries. Warm-Season Veggies- Sow seeds for black-eyed peas and okra. Transplant sweet potato

slips. Native and Desert-Adapted Trees- After planting your trees, they should be watered immediately and the moisture monitored for the next few days to keep the root ball from drying out. Newly planted native and desert-adapted trees may need to be watered more frequently until established. It can take up to 3-5 years for trees to become established in the landscape. Warning: if you have a need to plant during the summer months, watering may need to be more fre- quent and you must be diligent about observing your newly planted plants for signs of water stress.

Desert Observations- Palo Verdes Are Blooming, Ironwoods To Follow

  • Palo Verde Trees -There are four different species of these green barked trees here in Bellasera:

Blue Palo Verde – Blooms first and can grow to 40 feet high.

  • Foothills Palo Verde - Will bloom about two weeks later than the Blues and are usually about 15 feet high but can get up to 40 feet. They are usually found in the front of your property, planted by our builder.

  • Mexican Palo Verde - Blooms as the Foothills are finishing and can bloom through August.

  • Palo Brea - These are small trees (25 feet) like the Foothills, and blooms around the same time as the Mexican Palo Verde.

  • Ironwood - Their lavender-pink blossoms will come into full bloom fol- lowing the Foothills Palo Verde.

If you have a garden

ing question, please contact the Maricopa County Plant Hotline at


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