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Trees, Shrubs and Groundcovers

Sharpen Up Your Garden With Sharp Tools!

Sharpen Up Your Garden With Sharp Tools!
 

It’s summer and the plants in your yard are growing like crazy!

If you want to fight back your own personal backyard jungle, be sure to use sharp and clean gardening tools, whether it be loppers, shovels, pruners, hoes, spades or lawnmowers.

Here are some suggestions on how to do it


  • Tools will lose their sharp edge if they get wet and rusty. How can that be possible in Arizona? It’s due to the sapand sticky residue from plants that is left on tools during pruning.

In Arizona,Microclimates Make all the Difference.

Growing up in the Midwest, where my family had a nursery, I was always fasinated by how and where things grew.
In the nursery,some things grew better in certain places than others,but in nature everything grew always in the right place! How come?
I eventually figured out the secret: Microclimates-warmer or colder areas within a garden - allowed for certain plants to thrive.Microclimates can differ greatly from the inner-city core,to the sprawling suburban landscape and to the open desert.

Over-pruning Desert Plants is Unhealthy!

Being in the landscape archtecture and green industry for 35 years, I have always have been bothered by plants being improperly pruned. Many times I have said that our landscapes are being morphed into wastelands of pencil erasers, hatboxes, meatballs and tubes by uninformed landscape-maintenance people who have no idea what they're pruning with their electric hedge shears.
 In many neighborhoods, once-beautiful desert plants have become unrecognizable.This is puzzling, given our proximity to a vast natural landscape.

When is the best time to Trim Trees?

 Fall is an excellent time, as well as winter, to trim most desert-adapted trees. Most of the more tender sub-tropical trees, such as ficus and jacaranda, should be trimmed in the spring -- only after the new growth emerges. Palms should be trimmed in late spring and summer after the seed inflorescences appear. My rule of thumb on palms is: NEVER trim more than 20 percent of the fronds. It is OK to remove all dead fronds, but do not remove all leaves up to or beyond the new seeds. This exposes the core to all kinds of problems, such as wind damage, core rot and sun scald.

Recycling and Harvesting Water for Your Home

It barely seems worth the trouble to try to collect rainwater when so little of it falls on us a year. But it turns out that just one-quarter inch of rain can fill three, 50-gallon barrels, enough to help you water your gardens and lawn, at least for a while. 
In fact, at a test house in Tucson, rain supplied about 8 percent of the water used by the family that lived there, which means they used less  potable drinking water to water their plants and saved a little on their water bills. 

Fall Garden Preparation

Arizona's monsoon will soon be ending, bringing in drier air and a bit of relief, even though it will still be hot.
This is a great time for garden planning and preparation. Soon, you can plant cool-season vegetables and sow seed for colorful spring wildflower displays.
Mid- to late September and October is the time to begin planting in earnest, while the soil is still warm. The warm soil and lower temperatures are ideal for root growth, which gives plants a chance to become established before it gets really cold - usually by the end of November.

Trees,Shrubs and Groundcovers

“I don’t know no one who don’t like trees –cepting when they causes problems”. An Appalachian saying.
 
There may be some truth to this humble saying however, a specimen tree is a delight to behold: strong, majestic and healthy, it is nature at its best . However, that same tree placed too close to a home can damage a roof ,window or wall in storm, crush a car, take down a power line, block a road or harm a person. Usually the form of damage is to something else rather than to it.
Trees usually are not problems, thoughtfully placed trees compliment architecture, provide climate control and esthetically increase property value.