Low Desert Gardening Tips
Updated March 11, 2008

Tip of The Month - MARCH

Avoid planting the same vegetables and annuals in the same place year after year. This practice allows disease and pest populations to increase. Instead, switch them into different areas of the garden each year, or avoid growing a particular crop for one year.



Avoid over watering and mowing when grass is wet to prevent the spread of fungal problems in winter lawns. Winter lawns may require once to twice per week watering depending on the weather. DO NOT OVER WATER!


Prepare garden soil for Spring planting.

Plant Seeds
Beans (lima and snap), beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, jicama, melons (cantaloupe, muskmelon, watermelon), okra, green onions, peanuts, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

Plant Transplants
Artichokes (globe and Jerusalem), eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.

Continue fertilizing established roses with granular fertilizers once every 6 weeks. Remember to water the day before application and the day after. Apply 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Epsom salts.

Fruit and Nut Trees
Fertilize deciduous fruit trees with nitrogen when they leaf out.

Thin deciduous fruit to 6 inch spacing. The earlier this is done after fruit set, the more size response will be expected in fruit remaining on the tree.

Prune frost sensitive citrus until mid March, after they begin to leaf out with new spring growth. Wait until all chance of frost has past but allow time for re-growth to shade exposed bark, protecting it from sun scald as the days get longer and hotter.

Plant Citrus Trees
Young two to five year old trees transplant most successfully. Larger, older trees are more costly, harder to transplant without injury (to yourself and the tree), and suffer more from transplant shock. It will generally be three years after transplant before fruit production and that is the same whether you plant a 2 year old tree or a 10 year old tree. Go small!

Landscape Plants
Water at least once a month unless rains provide adequate moisture.

Control weeds while they are young, tender, and their roots are manageable, or before they sprout. Be sure to remove before they set seed. Remove London Rocket and other weeds in the mustard family now to prevent large populations of False Chinch bugs in April. pre-emergent herbicides containing Pendimethalin or Isoxaben can be used to control prostrate Spurge and other weeds.

Prune frost sensitive plants, such as bougainvillea, after they begin to leaf out with new spring growth.

Apply mulch around the base of plants to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.

If you have previously had a problem, apply around the base of agaves a pesticide labeled for use on grubs to kill the grubs of the Agave Weevil. Repeat application in June.

Make plans for Arbor Day.


    Plant bee balm (Monarda sp.), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), celosia (Celosia sp.), cosmos (Cosmos sp.), desert marigold (Baileyea multiradiata), English daisy (Bellis perennis), gilia (Gilia sp.), firewheel/indian blanket (Gaillardia), hollyhock (Alcea sp.), marigold (Tagetes sp.), Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera), Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), portulaca (Portulaca sp.), primrose (Primula sp.), safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), sage (Salvia sp.), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), sunflower (Helianthus sp.), sweet pea (Lathyrus sp.), verbena (Verbena sp.), wild hyssop (Agastache sp.) and zinnia (Zinnia sp.).


    Plant anise, basil, bay, caraway, catnip, chamomile, chives, curry, epazote, fennel, feverfew, French tarragon, garlic chives, germander, horehound, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rue, safflower, sage, salad burnet, santolina, savory (summer and winter), scented geraniums, tansy, thyme and yarrow.

The DON'T DO list. . .

Do not prune citrus except to remove dead or damaged wood and branches obstructing pathways, views, or structures.

Do not use pre-emergent herbicides in an area in which you intend to plant seeds.

For More Information - Gardening & Landscaping in Maricopa County, AZ



Updated March 11, 2008

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