Happy August! We have had record heat throughout the region this year. Even if you get rain where you live, it may not be enough. Make sure your plants are getting ample moisture by using a soil probe to check depth of water penetration. Probe the soil with a screwdriver or sturdy knitting needle. It will easily enter moist soil, but dry soil is hard to penetrate. If it only goes in one inch – that sure isn’t enough for any plants other than succulents.
Anytime during month
* Last chance to plant cacti, new Bermuda grass lawns, or palm trees.
They all need the summer heat to get established.
* Fertilize lawns, palms, container plants, and vegetables, now.
Hold off on fertilizer for citrus and landscape plants until Labor Day.
* Treat plants showing alkaline-induced-iron-chlorosis (iron-deficiency). Look for yellow leaves with green veins. Roses and citrus are especially susceptible. Best treatment is to acidify the soil with coffee grounds, 1/4 cup vinegar per 5 gallons of water, or peat moss or compost soil amendment.
* Water pecan and citrus trees widely and deeply to ensure a good crop.
* Sharpen mower blades. Again.
* Plant a fall vegetable garden with pumpkins, squash, zucchini, bush beans, and tomato seedlings.
* Cut back tomatoes lightly to encourage new growth and fruit in fall.
* Iris can be and divided and transplanted now or next month.
* If oleander has galls, cut affected branches off at least one foot below the galls. Sterilize clippers in bleach water or alcohol between every cut.
Want to learn more? Look for my free lectures at your local Pima County Library branch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will sell and sign copies of my books, including Southwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press, $23).
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