Friday, May 01, 2009

What to do in a Desert Garden in May?

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 May
in Phoenix, Arizona

    Average: 0.1 inches
    Record: 1.3 inches (1930)
Temperature (degrees F):
    Average High: 93.6 degrees
    Lowest High: 54 degrees (1915)
    Record High: 114 degrees (1910)

    Average Low: 63.9 degrees
    Highest Low: 86 degrees (1983)
    Record Low: 39 degrees (1899)

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

To Do List . . .

    Plant Bermuda lawns when soil warms up in mid to late May.

    Fertilize Bermuda grass lawns each month beginning late April or early May with nitrogen according to the directions on the package.

    Apply Iron each month according to the directions on the package.

    Apply one inch of water per week to Bermuda lawns

    Once every two or three years dethatch Bermuda lawns if necessary. Only dethatch during the active growing season, May through August. This enables the turf to quickly recover.


    Plant Seeds
      Black eyed Peas, Melons (Cantaloupe, Muskmelon), Okra, Sunflowers

    Plant Transplants

      Jerusalem Artichokes, Sweet Potatoes

    Place shade cloth over tomatoes.


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

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!

    Pick early-maturing deciduous fruit varieties, which are particularly prone to bird damage, before full maturity. Ripened at room temperature to lessen the bird peck loss.

    Cover fruit trees to protect from birds

    Give special attention to watering 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.

Landscape Plants

    Increase water application as the weather warms.

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

    Apply mulch to the ground around heat sensitive plants keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation. Be sure to keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk to prevent pest and disease problems.

    Apply chelated iron to bottle brush, pyracantha, silk oak, and other plants with iron deficiency symptoms.

    Prune palms when flower spathes show or delay pruning until after the palm has finished flowering to prevent infestation of Palm Flower caterpillars. If palms are pruned in the spring, leave the top five rows of peels so the caterpillars have a place to hide.

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.

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

There are brown balls/galls on the stems of oleander

Dry, thin bark cracks and splits to reveal black, powdery spores. Foliage above the wound is sparse and leaves may be small. Eventually branches die back to the canker.

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

1 comment:

Justin said...

Thanks for the timely summary!