June is the month when summer officially descends on the desert. It is the month that separates the gardeners: those who are dedicated (or possibly demented) enough to brave the heat to work in their yards, from those who would rather hunker down until the scorching temperatures subside. Summer gardening in the desert is not for the faint of heart, but it can be very rewarding for those who stick with it.
If you want to grow your own pumpkins for fall harvest, this is the month to plant them. June is the driest month for the Phoenix and surrounding desert areas. If you have not checked your irrigation system in a while, it should be done this month to ensure that everything is working properly. The biggest landscape/gardening problem that people experience is plant death caused by ineffective watering. Three things to remember are: water slowly; water deeply; and let the soil dry out between watering times. Keep in mind that soil in pots will dry much faster than the ground, and that the smaller the pot, the faster it will dry out. Pots may need water twice a day in the summer heat.
- Due to extreme heat and dryness, June is not a good month to prune. Doing so can lead to sunburn of delicate plant tissues.
- Dead branches may still be cut out.
- Trim blackberries back to a height of 3 feet to encourage side growth.
- Bermuda lawns require from 1 to 3 inches of water per week.
- Spray roses in the early morning hours to control mites and increase humidity around the plants.
- Pay close attention to the watering needs of all landscape plants and gardens. Schedules may need to be adjusted to compensate for extreme heat.
- Feed Bermuda lawns their monthly dose of nitrogen and iron.
- Cut back fertilizer on roses to slow their growth in the extreme heat.
- Feed pecan trees with nitrogen and zinc.
- Follow directions on the packaging of all fertilizers.
- June is a good month for thatching of Bermuda turf.
- Fruiting trees will most likely require bird netting to protect fruit.
- Deadhead all flowering plants to promote more blooms.
- Protect heat-sensitive plants with a layer of mulch around the base.
- Protect citrus and other fruiting trees (apples, peaches, etc.) from sunburn by painting the trunks with a 50/50 mixture of water and white latex paint.
- Bermuda grass can still be planted.
- Plant from seed: Armenian cucumbers, melons, and sunflowers.
- June is the month to plant sweet potatoes from transplant.
- Transplanting of palms is best done in the summer heat.
- Plant other heat-tolerant plants such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, and mandevilla.
- Plant summer color such as cosmos, portulaca, and verbena.
- Native plants, cacti, and heat-tolerant plants can be put in throughout the summer.
June is a great month for composting. Extreme temperatures can get a good compost heap really cooking. Compost in tumblers take only a few weeks in the summer to produce that beautiful, rich, dark compost so valuable in the garden. It is well worth the effort, and you get the added benefit of turning garbage into something useful.
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