It’s June in the Arizona low desert and the ground is heating up. It is time to watch your plants and trees for heat stress. Make sure they are getting plenty of water but not too much. New plants need a lot of water in the summer to get through the intense heat but make sure they are not sitting in soggy ground. All plants need to dry out a little in between watering. The best plants to plant in the summer are Palms. Their root systems thrive and establish in warm soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy on new palms for several weeks, gradually increasing the intervals between watering over time.
Check your irrigation system and decrease days between watering. The rule is water deep and infrequent. In the summer keep the length of watering the same, assuming you were watering long enough already, and water more often. Cactus and Agave do not need regular irrigation but will benefit from occasionally (monthly) watering with a hose during the dry season.
Protect your citrus tree trunks. The tree bark on citrus trees are susceptible to sun burn on southern and western exposure. This allows for easy entry of pests and disease. The best protection is to keep the branches and leaves low to protect the trunk. If this is not possible, paint the trunk with a white latex paint made for this purpose or loosely wrap exposed bark with burlap, cardboard, cloth, or newspaper. Remove the wrapping at the end of summer.
Spread mulch, compost, or other organic material several inches deep around your tender plants and garden beds. Mulch retains moisture, reduces soil temperatures, and inhibits weeds. As it breaks down over time, the nutrients will filter into the soil.
Watch for spider mites. These little pests thrive in hot, dry, windy conditions and can be found on fruit trees, roses, junipers, and vegetables. Watch for fine webbing or pinprick size holes. Spray infestations periodically by hosing the tops and undersides of foliage with water to remove dust and mites before they get out of control.