May Southwest Desert Garden Chores and Tips




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What To Do in May

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  • Plant Bermuda lawns when soil warms up in early May.
  • Fertilize Bermuda grass lawns each month beginning late April or early May.
  • Mow your lawn down to half of an inch until the winter rye grass dies. This encourages new growth and is healthy for the Bermuda lawn.
  • Every few years your lawn will need to be dethatched.
  • When temperatures get regularly to triple digits, daily watering is in order.
  • Water grass early in the morning or at dusk to minimize evaporation of the water during the hot part of the day.

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  • Plant young citrus trees. Two to five-year-old trees transplant most successfully. Don’t expect fruit for a few years.
  • Pick early-maturing deciduous fruit from citrus trees before the birds get at them. Ripen indoors.
  • Water deciduous fruit trees on 7 to 10-day deep-water cycle for the summer. Resulting fruit will be larger.
  • For newly planted trees, protect trunk from sunburn.
  • Stake newer trees to protect them from summer wind storms.
  • Transplant cactus plants in May.
  • Increase water to shrubs as the weather warms.
  • Don’t water the Bougainvillea too much. You’ll get bigger leaves and fewer flowers.

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  • Fertilize established roses at two-week intervals.
  • Remove petunias, pansies, geraniums. Plant summer flowers, such as Lantana, Vinca, Verbena, Portulaca, Gomphrena purple buddy, and Purslane.
  • Flowers will benefit from a rich soil mixture of compost.

Vegetables

  • Plant seeds for black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, muskmelon, squash, okra.
  • Plant transplants for Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes
  • Provide shade for tomatoes. Shade cloth with 50% reduction is recommended.
  • Vegetables will benefit from a rich soil mixture of compost.

Don’t Make These Garden Mistakes in May

  1. Do not prune citrus except to remove dead or damaged wood and branches obstructing pathways, views, or structures.
  2. Do not use pre-emergent herbicides in an area where you intend to plant seeds.
  3. Spot treat pest problems.
  4. Don’t use spray watering systems in the hottest months in the desert. Drip is better and won’t cause leaves, flowers, or vegetables to burn. Don’t water the grass during the hotter part of the day.

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