| A Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate
Signs of Spring.
Ornamental pears (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')
and Lilac vine (Hardenbergia violacea) are
coming into bloom signaling that winter's end is near.
The Australian-native, winter-flowering acacias, which
produce dazzling yellow blossoms, should be flowering
soon in Southwest desert gardens.
Lilac vine (Hardenbergia), left, is a very tough vine and easy to
keep under control. It grows at a moderate rate, is
easy to trim back and, because it is evergreen, is a
great disguise for a chain link fence -- or a lovely
adornment for a trellis. It is just one of
Corny weed control.
To stop weeds from popping up in your flower
borders apply biodegradable corn gluten on the beds. This
natural product, which you should be able to find in your
local nursery or on the web, prevents weed seeds from
sprouting without harming your existing plants. You can
also apply corn gluten to lawn grasses such as Bermuda and
St. Augustine to prevent crabgrass growth. Corn gluten is a
pre-emergent weed killer and only for areas where weeds have
not yet begun to grow. It does not work if the weed seeds
have already sprouted.
Hot Weed Killer. If you have isolated
weeds now sprouting in sidewalks, patios or rocky paths, you
can pour hot boiling water on the individual weeds and
within a day or so they will be dead. Do not use this on
your flower beds or close to other plants. Hot water does
not discriminate -- it will damage or kill any plants or
insects it touches.
Healthy Beginning. We are big believers in
avoiding chemicals as much as possible in gardening. Yes,
we know you have heard this from us before, but the basis
for all beautiful, healthy gardens is preparation of the
soil. Good, rich soil full of organic materials will produce
hardy plants and hardy plants can fight off a lot of pests
and diseases on their own. So be sure you start Spring
gardening by amending your soil with organic materials.
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Bunny Banishers. Last month we mentioned
that gophers avoid gardens that are planted with
Pelargoniums, or as they are more commonly known,
Geraniums. Rabbits are another garden nuisance in some
areas. So here are some plants that do well in hot climates
which rabbits do not like: Lantana, salvias, society garlic,
daylilies, agapanthus, gazinias, penstemons, and
pelargoniums. Better yet, these all look great in a garden
Trim Time. If you
have not already done it, trim back your Lantana camera and
Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) to about 8 to
10 inches. They will grow back rapidly as the weather warms
up and produce flowers more abundantly.
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