We're definitely feeling that summer desert heat here at WDG! The summer season is ramping up and now is a good time to take preventative measures to help your landscapes survive the intense heat. Good news is that the National Weather Service Tucson office and the Climate Prediction Center project that the upcoming monsoon season will be wetter than average, and we're only a few weeks away!
Here are some quick summer survival tips:
Rearrange plants and structures that can provide shade. Aside from the increase in heat intensity, the winter sun angle is quite different from the summer sun angle. Some plants, especially succulents, are easily burned by the summer sun. Take a good look at sun exposure in your landscape throughout the day and move pots to areas where they receive morning sun and afternoon shade. If you can't move plants, consider shade cloth or a shade structure. (photo credit: Lowe's)
Reset your watering schedules. Yes we want to conserve as much as we can, but your plants will need a little extra help these next few weeks. If you have irrigation, take a moment to reevaluate your controller settings - the frequency of watering during the winter months may need to be increased. Don't forget about trees too! If you're watering pots, be careful with standing water in saucers, which can breed mosquitoes. Typically plants consume water about 10 minutes after watering, so dump out excess water after that time period (and definitely keep an eye on this during monsoons). Water during cooler times of the day (morning and after sun down) to avoid higher evaporation rates. Here are some tips from the City of Tucson, AZ Department of Water Resources and UA's Cooperative Extension. (photo credit: Power of Plants)
Redesign. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How can you decrease your summer watering with better rainwater harvesting designs, especially during monsoons? How can you better group plants with similar watering needs? Are you planting the right types of plants for your microclimates? Do you have enough variety? You can make your summer landscape jobs easier on yourself if you design smartly and think about each plant's overall contribution to the "system." (photo credit: Xtremehorticulture of the Desert)