September is here and we are finally approaching the end of our summer heat. It’s time to start thinking about planting again and preparing our plants for the winter. Here are some suggestions:
Plants – continue to plant trees and shrubs in September, especially at the end of September. This is the best time to start planting again because the soil is warm and will promote root growth so the plants can get established before winter.
Watering – Maintain the summer watering schedule for your plants and trees while the heat is still here. At the end of the month, begin to cut back the water a little by extending the days between watering. Keep the length of watering the same. The idea is to keep it watering deep but not as often in the winter. That way the roots can dry out between watering. Check out our Arizona watering guide for reference:
Remember, this is only a guide. You need to watch your plants and adjust accordingly. To determine the depth get a long metal stake and stick it in the ground (careful not to disturb the root ball) as soon as the plant finish watering then measure the depth. Increase or decrease as needed.
Fertilization – September is time to apply your last fertilizer application before winter. The growth put on before dormancy will store more energy during the winter that will be available to the plant when it pushes growth in the spring. If you haven’t done so yet, apply nitrogen fertilizer to your fall ripening fruit and citrus trees (navels & tangerines) to help increase fruit size. Most desert plants do not need fertilizer.
Lawns – If you do not plan to overseed this winter apply Iron once per month according to the directions on the package to keep the Bermuda lawn green. If you plan to overseed, discontinue fertilization in order to prepare the Bermuda for dormancy next month.
Pruning – It is still too hot to do any major pruning on your citrus trees. Do not raise any branches that will open up the tree to sunburn. In meditteranean climates, pruning trees can be necessary in order to prevent serious bushfires from breaking out. In countries like Australia, there are affordable tree lopping services that can safely remove dead trees so that there is no risk of them catching fire and causing terrible damage.
Mulch – If you have not done so, apply mulch to the ground around the base of heat sensitive plants to keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation. It will also help keep the roots warm in the winter to help with freezing if temperatures get too low. Keep the mulch several inches away from the trunk. You can cover the mulch up with the landscape rock to hide it.
Monsoons are probably over this month but we may get a late season storm. Continue to watch your irrigation and turn it off if we get heavy rain. The plants do not like to sit in water and trees tend to fall over in heavy winds and wet soil, especially the desert trees like Mesquite and Palo Verde. Cacti will rot if left in wet soil.
Gardening – It is time to prepare your garden for the second season of planting. It is short so plant established plants over seeds if possible and plant early ripening variety. You can plant tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, brocolli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peas, and root crops. Check out the winter vegetable gardening planting guide for more.