It’s May, and even though it’s starting to heat up around Phoenix, we can keep our desert garden healthy throughout the month and beyond. Yes, summer is coming, and we know what that means for our area – it’s going to get hot, really hot! The good news is that we still have a few more weeks left to plant during this excellent planting season. We can plant the trees that bloom beautiful flowers and create shade! Blooming cacti and succulents can also bring a splash of color to our landscape. Spring colors are here, and we want the vibrant colors to last.
Keep cool outdoors. Once the heat and sunlight intensifies, shade trees can come to the rescue. Here in the Phoenix area, we can plant trees such as the Tipuana tipu, one of the best shade trees for our area. They can create a massive canopy of shade, which can provide relief when we need to get outside for some fresh air during the hot summers. Of course, shade trees can also help cool the warmer parts of the home. And in addition to Tipu trees, we can also plant Chinese Elm trees that thrive in hot and sunny environments – perfect for Phoenix!
We still have time to prepare our landscape for the summer. Gardening in the desert southwest does have its challenges and plenty of rewards. Our goal is to make the task of keeping our garden healthy and beautiful easier. We asked our nursery pros for some tips and tasks for a healthy landscape this month, and this is what we compiled. Read about our landscape and garden tips for the month of May below.
Gardening and Landscaping Beginners Guide (May)
How to Water: We always want to keep a close eye on the watering schedule for our yards. And with the temperatures starting to warm up, it is essential that we monitor the temperatures, too. One of the best things we can do is to water slowly and deeply. If you seed Bermuda and warm-season grasses, apply one inch of water per week. We will want to be sure to keep our deciduous fruit trees well-watered. If you want more information, click here for our informative watering guide.
How to Fertilize: The early part of May is an excellent time to fertilize our landscape plants. The temperature is rising, and this is the time when we notice that our winter lawns are beginning to die out slowly. Don't worry though because the summer lawn is starting to take over. We will want to fertilize warm-season lawns. As soon as the soil warms up, we can seed Bermuda and warm-season grasses. We will want to continue fertilizing our rose bushes, too. For best results, add liquid fertilizers to rose bushes every two weeks. We will also want to keep fertilizing our vegetable and herb gardens as needed.
How to Protect Trees: Did you know that trees can get sunburn? It’s true, and unlike us, lathering up our trees in sunscreen does no good. What we can do is protect the trunk of a new tree with a Protective Tree Wrap. Young trees are susceptible to sunburn and need protection when the temperatures rise. We also recommend staking both new and old trees. Staking is also beneficial once the high winds arrive. Birds love fruit trees, too. We can cover our fruit trees with netting to protect them from bird damage. It is also a good idea to put a shade cloth over tomatoes.
Getting Rid of Weeds: Controlling weeds can feel like a never-ending task. Keep to your weed removal plan, and do it often. If you are going to pull weeds, be sure to do it in the morning or late evening. Remove the weeds before it gets too hot!
How to Mulch: It’s heating up in Phoenix, but no need to panic. Mulching is going to be very beneficial during the next few months. Mulch around any area that receives direct sunlight on the dirt. We can apply mulch around heat sensitive plants, and doing this can keep the roots cool and prevent water evaporation.
What to Prune: We can maintain plant health by removing dead, damaged or diseased portions. We will want to continue removing spent stalks of aloes, agaves, and other succulents. If we want our newly planted annuals and perennials to develop more flowers, we will want to pinch back the growth. We can prolong the flowering season of our spring annuals by cutting off the old blossoms.
Vegetable Garden: May is the perfect time to plant warm-season vegetables such as okra and sweet potatoes. We can also plant pumpkin, cantaloupe, winter squash, and sunflowers. Consider adding a shade cloth for the garden.
Lay the Groundwork for Better Home Value with these Trees and Plants
Keep your landscape tasteful, and you can help increase home value. We can plant the trees that provide a comfortable space outdoors and add plenty of colors, too. Shade trees are ideal for creating an outdoor entertainment space, especially when it starts to heat up in the Valley of the Sun.
Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia): Our climate allows the Crape Myrtle to explode with vibrant colors! They love the heat and are one of the few trees that can provide summer color. Plant them in any size landscape, and they can decorate your yard with shades of red, white, purple, and pink. Besides the colorful show, they can also provide shade. Homeowners and landscapers will appreciate their low-maintenance features.
Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia): This breathtaking flowering tree can bloom vibrant purple flower that can transform our arid landscape. Jacarandas are more than just one of the prettiest trees on the block. They feature unique fern-like foliage and a layered canopy that can provide some much-needed shade. These trees may look soft; however, they are very hardy trees and they can thrive during the warmer months of the year.
Piru Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana 'piru'): Plant this palm in your landscape and add tropical beauty and appeal. Our Piru Queen is custom grown in our local climate so that it is conditioned to thrive in our extreme weather cycles. These work best when planted in groups, where they can create shade and a peaceful feeling that can help you forget about how hot it’s going to be this summer.
Tipu (Tipuana tipu): If it’s shade coverage you want, look no further than the Tipuana tipu. When it starts to get bright and hot, you will appreciate the massive amount of shade it can provide! They can grow a massive canopy of shade quickly, and during the summer, they can produce eye-catching apricot-yellow colored flowers. Enjoy the great outdoors under a Tipu tree and take in the view!
Arizona Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans v. angustata): These shrubs can grow tall and wide, making them an excellent plant for fences and borderlines. They can light up your yard when the trumpet-shaped lemon-yellow flowers appear from spring to fall. Plant them in a spot that gets plenty of full sun exposure and let them grow – this is a colorful, low-maintenance shrub ideal for yards in Phoenix.
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'Veitchii'): Go outside, breathe in the air, and enjoy the sweet aroma of the Gardenia bloom! These low to medium-sized mounding shrubs produce sweet, fragrant blooms from late spring to fall. Their glossy, bright, evergreen foliage can add fresh color to our arid environment!
Orange Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis): Add this beautiful evergreen to your landscape and enjoy the year-round interest it can bring! People love the easy-care attributes, and of course, the brightly colored orange flowers that are sure to attract all the right attention.
Summer is not here yet, so take advantage of this weather and take care of your landscape. Visit your nearest Moon Valley Nurseries location and purchase the things you need to take care of weeds, the proper fertilizers that keep your plants healthy, and the mulch that allows roots to keep cool and moist!