This week is going to be a hot one for humans, pets and the landscape. Be sure you get your work or play done early in the morning before temperatures get extreme.
Water your turf, trees, shrubs and flowers before it gets too hot. Early morning is the best time to irrigate before the leaves of each species start to scorch. Leaves are a good indicator if the plant is stressing and needs some water. Keep an eye on plants and flowers with large leaves, as they will absorb more heat than desert-adapted species. Hibiscus and lantana are especially vulnerable but will recover quickly with irrigation.
Desert species have small leaves as a result of adaptation to the sun and high temperatures. Mesquite, palo verde and acacia species are prime examples of small, but bountiful, leaves ensuring photosynthesis will still occur.
Be safe during this warm week and check the leaves of your plants to see how they’re doing.
Monsoon season will be here soon. Officially lasting from June 15-Sept. 30, this is the time of year to expect a change in the air, as humidity increases, billowing clouds form in the east and winds change from the west to the southeast. These factors all allow large thunderstorms to build along the Mongolian Rim and move southwest as they increase in intensity.
The monsoon season is one of two rainy seasons defining the Sonoran Desert annually. As much as 70 percent of the region’s rainfall can occur during the summer monsoon; we typically receive one-third of our annual rainfall during this time. Because of this, our desert is considered relatively “wet” compared to others, such as the Sahara.
With these storms come severe outflow winds caused by towering thunder clouds collapsing under their own weight, followed by strong winds and dust. These winds, as we all know, can cause extensive damage to structures, trees and just about anything else in their path. With proper planning, most damage to trees can be mitigated with a tree-management program.
A tree-management program addresses hazards that might threaten the public and property, corrects structural defects and helps build a healthy “urban forest.” Ensure you have properly staked trees and have a professional walk your property to identify hazard trees.
As humidity increases, plant growth will be stimulated and desert-adapted plants will begin to bloom. The humidity increase will be the final blow to any remaining rye grass that doesn’t succumb to the intense heat of June.
Finally, after dust has blown through and the rains have begun, open your windows and enjoy the cool breeze and smells of our native desert plants.
Many communities ask whether they should overseed Bermuda turf with rye grass in the winter? Is the cost to maintain worth the aesthetic value it provides? There’s no right or wrong answer, but some facts may help with these decisions.
If you overseed with rye grass, turf requires 75 percent more water annually to maintain than decomposed granite areas with trees and shrubs. Is the community still in a marketing phase to sell lots and homes? If so, the visual aspect of lush, green turf may be what is needed to help push sales.
Is there a compromise of overseeding marketing trails and entry ways to communities, as opposed to allowing turf basins within each community to go dormant and saving water costs and maintenance costs?
Most communities eventually arrive at a decision that works for everyone involved and moves closer to a long-term, sustainable plan regarding how the community landscape is maintained.