Wednesday, April 01, 2009

What to do in a Desert Garden in April?

There are 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 April in Phoenix, Arizona

    Average: 0.22 inches
    Record: 3.4 inches (1926)

Temperature (degrees F):

    Average High: 84.5 degrees
    Lowest High: 52 degrees
    Record High: 105 degrees (1989, 1992)

    Average Low: 55.3 degrees
    Highest Low: 77 degrees
    Record Low: 35 degrees (1922)

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

go to top

To Do List . . .
Fruit and Nut Trees

    Plant Citrus Trees - Young two to five year old trees transplant most successfully. Larger, older trees are more costly, harder to transplant without injury (to yourself and the tree), and suffer more from transplant shock. It will generally be three years after transplant before fruit production and that is the same whether you plant a 2 year old tree or a 10 year old tree. Go small!

    Thin deciduous fruit to 6 inch spacing. The earlier this is done after fruit set, the more size response will be expected in fruit remaining on the tree.

    Give special attention to deciduous fruit trees, provide adequate soil moisture for fruit sizing in the late April and May period.

    Apply nitrogen and zinc to pecan trees to produce normal size leaf growth and to enhance kernel development. Pecans also need more water than most other shade trees.


    Frosty winter nipped your herb garden? It is usually safe to prune winter damage from your herb plants anytime after mid-March - perfect now, if you haven't yet taken care of this garden chore. Inspect your Basil, Lemon grass, Peppers, Mexican Tarragon and other frost sensitive plants closely, looking for new growth emerging on the lower half of the plant. Use sharp shears to cut the plant back by 1/3 to 1/2 or more, down to healthy new side shoots. Top dress the plants with new compost and water well for a fresh start.

    Small white balls of frothy foam may show up on the new growth of some of your herbs in spring, especially on Rosemary, Sage and other woody perennial herb plants. These 1/4 - 1/2 inch "balls" are the protective hiding place for the nymph of a relatively harmless insect called a "spittlebug" (Philaenus sp.) which feeds on the plant's sap and uses the foam to hide itself from predators. Spittlebugs are easily rinsed off your plants with your garden hose.

    Often in Spring, we find a Dill or Fennel plant in our garden loaded with aphids and their sticky mess. Aphids usually occur at low levels that are not very harmful to the plant - merely rinse them off with your garden hose and wash your picked herbs well before cooking with them. Insecticides are not generally recommended on herbs, since they are used for cooking. A weaker plant may become heavily infested - either pull and discard the plant, or leave it in your garden as a source of food (aphids) to attract ladybird beetles and other beneficial insects.

Landscape Plants

    As the weather warms and days lengthen, adjust your irrigation timer to water more frequently. Be sure to run your system long enough to wet the top two feet of soil. Deep, infrequent watering is much better than a daily sprinkle.

    Tree water use, desert types being the exception, increases rapidly during this period of leafing out and gradually higher air temperatures.

    Allow your wildflowers to go to seed. They will produce a natural healthy feast for birds as well as reseeding themselves to come up again in your yard next year.

    Make plans for Arbor Day, The Last Friday in April

    Most woodpecker damage occurs during the period of breeding and territory establishment, February through June


    Continue fertilizing established roses, liquid fertilizers can be added at 2 week intervals, follow the directions on the container.


    Begin fertilizing Bermuda grass lawns during late April or early May. Follow the directions on the container.


    Plant Seeds
      Beans (Lima & Snap), Black eyed Peas, Carrots, Cucumbers, Jicama, Melons (Cantaloupe, Muskmelon), Okra, Green Onions, Peanuts, Radishes, Summer Squash, Sunflowers

    Plant Transplants

      Jerusalem Artichokes

    Include edible and cut flowers in your vegetable garden. In addition to adding beauty they will attract beneficial insect pollinators which will increase your fruit set.

go to top

Don't List . . .

    Do not prune citrus except to remove dead or damaged wood and branches obstructing pathways, views, or structures.

    Do not use pre-emergent herbicides in an area in which you intend to plant seeds.

    Do not plant seeded Bermuda until the soil warms up in mid to late May.

go to top

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 Insect/Pest Questions Disease Questions There is a gray or white powdery substance on plants

Seedlings and bedding plants wilt and die suddenly

Leaves, twigs (and in advanced stages, branches) of pears and pyracantha are dying back from the tips with a scorched appearance

Saguaro cactus has large black patches that are oozing and smell terrible


Justin said...

Don't feed bermuda till next month? Good lord, mine is already going nuts... Uggh, fear the bermuda....

Kathryn said...

Luckily I don't have any grass. But I do think we are a few weeks or a month ahead of 'usual' on the gardening calendar because of all the early hotter than usual weather.