A Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate
Hot Gardens Newsletter: August 2003
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Summer Break. July rains have given our
Southwest desert gardens a break from the heat, but it is
still far too soon to begin Fall planting. You should wait
until the daytime temperature is consistently below 95
degrees F. which will probably be in mid-September.
Anorexic Plants. A little fertilizer
will give your potted plants a needed boost right now.
All the water they have received in the last couple of
months has washed away nutrients in the potting mix.
The poor little plants are half-starved. Just make sure
the fertilizer is diluted or use slow-release fertilizer
sticks. And if the leaves are turning yellow with green
veins, you may need to add a chelated sulfur fertilizer,
such as Kerex.
Double Your Iris. If you have large clumps of iris
that should be divided, dig them up and divide the rhizomes
now. But wait until September to replant them. Keep them
in brown paper bags in a dry place until replanting. Other
perennials should be divided when cooler weather comes.
Who Needs Grass?
Water restrictions giving you second thoughts about
a green grassy lawn? We recently saw a small front
yard that had been entirely planted with gold
lantana. It was brilliant!
Another idea for lawn replacement is
ornamental grass, such
Deer grass (Muhlenbergia
rigens) or clumping blue fescue (Festuca ovina
glauca). Both need very little water and neither need
to be mowed. The Deer grass should be trimmed back in
January. One variety of Deer grass is called ‘Regal Mist’
and it has lovely, airy purple blooms in the Fall. Combine
“Regal Mist’ with lantana for a spectacular, water-wise
It will make you forget you ever loved green lawns!
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Beautiful. Consider planting the
Chinese elm (Ulmus
parvifolia) this Fall, the best time of year to
plant all trees and shrubs, except for palms.
Under the right conditions the Chinese elm can
reach 30 feet in 3 years and once established it
needs infrequent, deep watering. If you plant it
in a lawn where it will receive water regularly, it
will eventually reach a height of 50 to 60 feet. As
the Chinese elm grows its branches arch into a
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More gardening news for you
|For a burst of
plant a Fan Tex ash 'Rio Grande'.
Other leafy trees are
|Clematis is one of
can grow in hot, dry climates.
|Preview the many gardens
the Mission Rose Garden.
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