Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What to do in a Desert Garden in October?

Here are some tips on what to do in the desert garden this month from the
University of Arizona College of Agriculture Maricopa County Extension
There's also a lot of other helpful information and FAQ's on that website.
Another site of interest on what to do in the garden here in the low
desert is John Chapman's site.

Climate Information for October
in Phoenix, Arizona

    Average: 0.7 inches
    Record: 4.4 inches (1972)
Temperature (degrees F):
    Average High: 88.1 degrees
    Lowest High: 56 degrees (1959)
    Record High: 107 degrees (1980)

    Average Low: 60.8 degrees
    Highest Low: 82 degrees (1987)
    Record Low: 34 degrees (1900,1911)

Note: Rainfall and temperatures vary widely within the valley depending upon elevation and microclimate.

To Do List . . .

    Apply one inch of water per week to Bermuda lawns

    A light application of potassium on Bermuda in the fall will enable it to come out of dormancy in the spring with greater vigor.

    Overseed established Bermuda grass lawns from mid October through mid November for a green winter lawn.


    Prepare bed for fall planting

    Plant Seeds

      Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collard Greens, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (Head & Leaf), Leeks, Mustard, Onions (Bulb & Green), Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach, Turnips

    Plant Transplants

      Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (Head & Leaf)


    Resume full fertilizing of established roses as the weather cools

    Watch for second season of powdery mildew

Fruit and Nut Trees

    Late summer application of nitrogen fertilizer probably helps fruit sizing. This is more significant for fall ripening (navels & tangerines) than spring ripening (Grapefruit and Valencia orange) varieties.

Landscape Plants

    Cut off spent blooms to stimulate rebloom

    It is too late to fertilize freeze-sensitive plants such as citrus, hibiscus, bougainvillea, etc. However, early fall fertilization can help the recovery of summer-weary trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, lawns and flowers. Nitrogen fertilizer should be adequate. Follow with good deep irrigation.

    Cut back watering frequencies as plant needs decrease with shortening, cooling days

    Plant winter hardy trees, shrubs and vines

    Plant wild flowers

    Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied from October through early December for winter annual weed control. Follow the package directions carefully for best results. DO NOT use pre-emergent herbicides where you will be planting seeds this season.

Don't List . . .

    Do not dethatch Bermuda in the Fall. Dethatching should be done in the summer when the grass is actively growing.

    Do not increase opportunities for fungal disease on turf by over watering or watering at night.

    DO NOT OVER WATER which will result in root rots. Allow the soil to dry out between watering.

Frequently Asked Questions
Damage is Noticed on the Fruit

Damage is Noticed on the Leaves

Damage is Noticed on the Stem or Trunk

Damage is Noticed on the Roots

Cultural / Environmental Questions

    Citrus fruit split
      Inappropriate water management leads to sunburn, making the rind less supple and less resilient to stretching and growing, thus as the fruit starts to enlarge it splits. There is nothing to be done for this season, ensure adequate irrigation next summer.

    Pecans Drop before peak harvest time

      This is the trees normal shedding of nuts that are damaged or underdeveloped. No management required.

    The bark is discolored and cracking on the South or West side of the trunk

Insect/Pest Questions

Disease Questions

Seedlings and bedding plants wilt and die suddenly

There is a gray or white powdery substance on plants

Older leaves turn yellow and fall off. The plant is stunted. It wilts even when water is available The stem is streaked.

Very sudden die back of an olive tree branch. There is brown or green streaking between the bark and the wood.

Whole tree, or significant portion of plant died suddenly, the leaves turned brown but did not fall off.

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