by Master Gardener Dottie Holman

Summer is here and the heat is on.  It’s definitely lake and pool time, not gardening time.  However, as a Master Gardener, I am still busy answering questions concerning various subjects.  I thought that writing about these various subjects would be of interest to you, and in turn, maybe answer some of your summertime questions as well.

 

Question: How often should I water my cactus?

Answer: First, we are talking about cactus — not agaves, yuccas or succulents (those require water). A good recommendation on watering your cactus is once a month in the summer only (cacti need no water otherwise).  When watering, place the water about the length of the plant away from it.  Cacti have long shallow roots and too much water near the base can cause them to rot.  Be careful not to water on top of the cactus as it will cause sunburn.

 

Q: Many gardening magazines state to fertilize citrus in August.  Is it ok to do so in Havasu?

A:  The University of Arizona has done a study specifically for Lake Havasu/Bullhead City, and fertilization of citrus is not recommended here in August.  Fertilizing should be withheld until our temperatures are below 100 degrees (this could be until September).  The best thing you can do for your citrus now is give them a good, deep watering once a month.  This will leach out the salts that have accumulated with your regular watering.

 

Q: The leaves of various plants are turning yellow with green veins running through it.  Can I apply iron now?

A: Absolutely.  Liquid chelated iron may be applied at any time.  Always mix according to the manufacturers directions and be sure to dampen the soil prior to application and water heavily afterwards.  Do NOT spray on the leaves as this will cause severe burning of the leaves if not death.

 

Q: Is it true or false that palm trees do best if planted in the summer?

A: True! Palms do much better if planted in the summer since they need the heat to establish their roots prior to winter.  Just remember that additional water will be required.

 

Q: My plants need pruning, can I do so?

A:  No.  Pruning is not recommended until our temperature drops below 100 degrees.  The reason for this is to avoid stress on the plant and open wounds.  However, if it is a safety issue, by all means remove the danger.

 

Q:  What is a good irrigation time for my plants right now?

A:  This question has many multiples that need to be added in.  A good slow soaking is the best bet.  Depending on your soil type, plants in question and irrigation system (those are the variables), 30 minutes every three days may be sufficient.  One thing for certain is that early morning is the best time to water.  That is when our soil is cooler and evaporation will be at a minimum.

 

Q:  How do I recognize if my plants need more water?

A:  This is a tricky question.  With our hot summer days, too much water or too little water looks about the same.  A good rule of thumb is to look at the plant leaves.  If the leaves are wilted in the late afternoon, it does not mean that water is needed, wait until the following morning.  If the leaves are still wilted, then more water is required.  If the leaves are perky, then it was just the heat of the day that caused them to wilt.

 

Q:  My roses look as though they are cooked and dead.  Will they come back?

A:  Yes, they will come back.  Just be sure that they are receiving sufficient water and do not fertilize or prune them.  Give them a shade cloth if they are planted on a western exposure.  A covering of mulch around them will help keep their roots cool and moisture in.

 

I hope these questions and answers have helped you in regards to your summer landscaping needs.  Fall is coming, and that will mean planting time, so enjoy the rest of your summer. I’m already planning more gardening articles for you while I sit here in my air conditioning!

 

Have a Happy Summer!