A Master Gardener's guide
to gardening in a hot dry climate
Hot Gardens Newsletter:
List of previous newsletters by
Wilting. Once the daily temperature soars above 85 degrees,
most plants begin to slow down for a summer dormancy period.
Above 90 degrees, survival is their primary goal.
They focus their energies and efforts on creating
sugars in their leaves for food, and guzzling water to
prevent death from dehydration.
So don’t expect a lot of blooms and growth during the
tree blooms, shown above, in June
and its leaves smell great, too.
Like It Hot.
When most flowers have faded the
(Lagerstroemia indica) and the
(Vitex agnus-castus) fire up for a
dazzling show of summer color. Both are naturally
shrub-like with multi-trunks, but can be trained to
be a small single trunk standard tree that will not
grow much more than 20 feet tall. The Crape
Myrtle will give you pink, red, white and
lavender blooms. For those who love the
cold-sensitive Jacaranda tree, the Chaste tree is a
love warm soil for their
roots, so summer is a good time to plant them. Other
trees should be planted in either the Fall or very early
Spring for best results.
Screwdriver Test. Not sure if you are
watering your lawn too much or too little? Then take an
8 inch screwdriver and push it into various places in
your lawn about an hour and a half after you have
watered. If the screwdriver goes in easily, you are
watering enough. You may even want to consider cutting
back a bit on water. If you cannot push the screwdriver
all the way in, you need to increase the amount of water
for the lawn. Trees, by the way, need deep, but
infrequent, irrigation so the water penetrates 24 inches
into the soil.
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Trickle Down. Even birds need
extra water now and they prefer to drink from trickling
water, rather than a still bird bath. So add a small
fountain--not a gushing cascade--but one where water
trickles and drips to entice wild birds to your garden. One
attractive, low-cost fountain is a terra cotta jar with
water flowing gently over the brim into a bed of small
pebbles in a plant pot saucer.
Oh, Those Ugly Brown Spots. The sudden increase
in temperatures at the onset of summer, especially the
increase in overnight low temperatures, puts a lot of stress
on lawns and trees. If your lawn is developing brown spots
you are in good company -- virtually every desert lawn has
brown spots now. You may want to give those brown spots some
additional water for a while.
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Our 9 Most Popular Hot Gardens Newsletters:
Flowering plants that reliably bloom in scorching mid-summer heat.
Australian plants and trees that grow well in hot, dry climates.
Weather-proofing palms for winter; cold weather palm trees.
A white garden
for night time
Topiary can be easy to create
and add charm to your garden.
Techniques to combat death by heat exhaustion of plants in pots.
Cactus as security barriers
for your property.
South African aloes
brilliant late winter color in your garden.
Frugal gardening tips to save you money.
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