- Ellen Sneider
Maintaining Your Desert Landscape in Extreme Heat
August is one of the hottest months of the year, but not as hot as June and July. We had some really extreme days of heat this June and July, which caused a lot of plant damage and death. Many of the ficus hedges were burnt. Fortunately, unless they were young and in very hot locations, the burnt leaves will fall off and the ficus will recover and grow new leaves. Because the weather is still very hot, it is best to wait at least till the end of September to cut off all the dead leaves and branches. The increased humidity which usually happens in August can help the damaged plants recover. The cactus and agave which were damaged in the extreme heat cannot recover as easily. Once an agave leaf/frond is damaged it is damaged forever. New growth will continue from the center of the plant so if outside leaves are damaged the agave will look good again once the outer leaves are removed and new inner leaves grow. August is a good month to fertilize with organic fertilizer, which will never burn the plants. I highly recommend Milorganite a granular organic fertilizer sold at Tr ue Value and Lowe’s. It should be placed around the base of a plant/tree near the irrigation emitter. It will be even more effective if it is worked into the soil around the plant. Most desert plants love the hot weather and do the most growing at this time of year. Irrigation clocks that are not smart meters should be reset to decrease the time from the June/July setting by a minute or two. If you have any questions about your desert landscape, go to our contact page and send us your questions. Stay Cool!