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May 28

June in your desert garden

Posted on May 28, 2021 at 3:00 PM by Diane Carmony

Get ready for the arrival of hot, dry weather in June. By tending to chores and maintaining a regular irrigation schedule, your garden can look its best.

Care

  • Help continued vegetable production this month by shading tomato plants, squash, peppers and cucumbers. It’s best to use reduction shade cloth rated 50 % or less.
  • If you have ripening vine crops, place a board underneath the fruit to prevent fruit rot.

Chores

  • This is the month to prune oleanders, lantana, bougainvillea and hibiscus.
  • Avoid pruning citrus foliage in the summer to prevent sunburn on trunk and primary branches.  
  • Do not top trees; remove only dead and crossing branches.
  • Lightly thin excess interior growth of mesquites.
  • To keep roots cool and slow moisture evaporation from soil, add a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch to roses, shrubs, and young trees.

Watering

  • Irrigation is job one in June. Water wilting plants immediately.
  • Water deeply, but infrequently. Use a soil probe or a long screwdriver to check water penetration depth. They will move easily in wet soil but will not move much when they hit dry soil.
  • Soil should be damp down to 1½ feet for vegetables and 2 to 3 feet deep for trees.
  • To deter root rot, allow soil to dry out between waterings.

Fertilizer

  • If citrus trees show an iron deficiency (young leaves looking yellowish), apply chelated iron.
  • If your plants call for fertilizer in the summer, wet the soil both the day before and then immediately after you apply the fertilizer. That way, concentrated fertilizer will be more diluted and will not damage the roots.

Planting

Palms are a safe choice to plant or transplant in June.  Move as early as possible in the month so they will have time to recover with good growth, responding to sunshine and deep irrigation.

  • Dig a planting hole twice as wide and just as deep as the existing rootball.
  • With twine, tie fronds up over the bud for protection. As new growth shows, snip the twine.
  • You can apply a root stimulator to the soil after planting to encourage fast rooting.

For more help

 “Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley” lists more than 300 plants with over 800 photos. You can search by several dozen categories. Find the 160-page book at CVWD.org/386/CVWD-Store for $10 with free shipping. Or, look at a PDF of the book at CVWD.org, click on Conservation.


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