Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate
Hot Gardens Newsletter: Winter 2008
List of previous newsletters by
Wild Fire Stoppers. The firestorms that
struck the western Mojave desert regions outside of Los
Angeles in October revealed a new use for succulent plants.
At least one homeowner claims that her giant
arborenscens stopped the fire from burning her
home. And she may be right. The 4 and 5 foot tall Aloes
were planted like a hedge around her house. Naturally
filled with water, they baked and wilted in the intense heat
-- but did not burst into flame.
Many drought-tolerant plants have high oil content and burst
into flame easily -- aloes are the exception. Since we
wrote about this, we have heard similar reports from other
gardeners in fire areas, confirming the value of these and
other succulents as fire barriers.
||Aloes bloom in Spring,
sometimes as early as February, and provide a
welcome burst of brilliant orange and yellow color
in otherwise drab late-winter gardens. These giants
are well over 6 feet tall.
Hate To Give Up Your
Lawn? Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
is growing in popularity as a substitute for traditional
lawn turf grasses, such as fescue or Kentucky Blue
Grass. This native of the American Great Plains needs
significantly less water and the newer varieties which
grow to only 3 inches in height almost never need to be
mowed. In autumn,
Buffalo grass turns brown, then
regrows in Spring. If your local nursery does not have
the seeds or plugs, you can find them online. More
Non-Toxic Weed Prevention.
Get a head start on weed control in your flower borders by
applying biodegradable corn gluten on the beds. This
natural product, available in local nurseries or online,
prevents seeds from sprouting without harming your existing
plants. Corn gluten is a pre-emergent weed killer --
it does not work if those pesky weeds have begun to grow.
Winter Root Health.
It is cold now in many desert regions of the
Northern Hemisphere, but the trees in your desert garden
still need watering. This is doubly important if your
winter climate includes drying winds. In winter your
trees are growing new roots within the protected environment
of the soil. Slow, deep watering every two weeks or so
should keep your trees healthy through the cold dry season.
More roots this winter also means more vigorous growth in
More gardening news for you
|For a burst of color in fall
plant a Fan Tex ash Rio Grande.
Other trees are
Succulents bloom beautifully
in spring and can thrive
with almost total neglect.
|Preview the many gardens
the Mission Rose Garden.
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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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