Spring is in the Air: How to Prepare Your Lawn and Garden

By now you should have already pruned your plants to help them recover from winter damage and allow for new growth, but there is still much to do. As the weather continues to get warmer, you will need to fertilize your plants and lawn, check your irrigation systems, and increase watering times. Here you’ll find what you need to know to get your lawn and garden properly prepared for the spring.

Fertilizing & Pre-Emergent
We are using a mixture of sulfur, iron, and nitrogen to fertilize plants. You can sprinkled this mixture lightly around the base of your trees and plants beginning at the end of April. If your landscaping is not already on a 6-month rotation for pre-emergent already, now is the time to start as this will prevent the germination of weeds that haven’t already done so without harming your other plants. Fertilizers, manure, and pre-emergent can be purchased at your local lawn and garden store.

Now is the time to check all of your irrigation systems for leaks or damage that may have erupted during the winter. After checking your irrigation system to ensure it is in good working order, check and change the battery in your timer. These batteries are backups that retain your timer during power outages. Call us if you need help completing an assessment of your system or making repairs.

Beginning in early April, you’ll also want to increase timers for the summer. Once you increase your timers, about a month after fertilizers are applied, this will help soak nutrients into the soil so they are available to plants when they need it to grow. Depending on the design of your irrigation system, you will need to increase watering to three or four times a week for 1.5 to 2 hours. Please note that time frames provided here are contingent upon weather conditions.

Once trees are established, particularly Mesquites, we recommend the irrigation system to the emitters for the trees be checked. After approximately a year, the emitters should be moved out from the base of the tree approximately two to four feet depending on the maturity of the tree to prevent it from becoming root bound and toppling during monsoon season. This is a frequent problem in Tucson. Established trees should be watered more deeply if your irrigation system allows you to do so.

As a special note, if established trees are surrounded by ground covers and other plants, they will receive an ample amount of water from the surrounding vegetation and emitters may simply be capped off. Doing so will develop a stronger trunk structure and root system, allowing your trees to ensure high winds during monsoons.

To improve the health and beauty of your flowers, fertilize every two weeks with Super Bloom starting now and begin spraying for aphids as needed. With the increase in temperatures, flowers will being to show signs of infestations as insects return.

Rose bushes should be pruned back and roses thinned. They should be fertilized with manure and mulch for healthy plants and beautiful blooms. Roses are likely to acquire grubs, aphids, and Thrips which can be deterred with systemic granules to address these critters while fertilizing the plants. Create a well around your roses to retain the fertilizers and chemicals.

Dormant lawns should be scalped and thatched to prepare it for summer growth. We recommend fertilizing your lawn with nitrogen at the end of February or the beginning of March. Do not expect lawns to be 100 percent until evening temperatures reach 60 to 70 degrees.

Winter Rye Lawns
April will be the time for transitioning from Winter Rye lawns to summer grass. As we begin the transition process, you will notice brown spots. If you didn’t have a Winter Rye lawn this year, you will notice your summer lawn beginning to green up over the next month or so. Your Bermuda lawns will need to be fertilized around May.

To ensure the stability of trees, all tree stakes and wire are now being checked. Once your trees are established, it is recommended trees stakes be adjusted, wires loosened and/or the tree stakes removed so the trees can grow, no longer needing the stakes for stability. A particular concern is called “girdling,” which occurs when wires are left attached to trees, causing them to cut into the skin of the tree. This prevents the tree from providing nutrients to the leaves and inhibiting proper growth by cutting into the Cambrian layer.

Citrus Trees
Many people are under the mistaken impression that citrus trees require a lot of water. Once citrus trees are established, they actually require less water than most established trees in Arizona. They should only be watered twice a week for approximately two to six hours, depending on the functionality of your irrigation system. Deep soaking less frequently is much better for citrus trees which allows the fruit to develop.

If you notice the leaves are yellow and show signs of chlorosis, it is not always a lack of fertilizing as it is also a sign of overwatering.  If you are watering your citrus trees regularly simply because they are connected to the existing irrigation line in your yard, the citrus trees will eventually get overwatered.

Citrus Tree Insects
Thrips are prevalent on the leaves of citrus trees in spring. They thrive and suck the nutrients out of the new citrus leaves causing them to curl and become deformed. This has been a concern of some customers; however, this is purely aesthetic and does not affect the health of the tree. It has been suggested in the past Thrips be treated; however, there’s no reason to use insecticide on your fruit trees for a purely aesthetic problem, which is why we recommend not treating for them.

Olive Trees
Olive Trees will begin to produce flowers soon. If you wish to curtail the growth of olive fruit, contact a licensed applicator for the treatment of olive stock.

New Landscaping
If you are considering adding new landscaping your house, be careful about which plants you select. Some may be pretty now, but don’t fare well in all conditions or in the Arizona heat. The experts at Cherry Landscape would be glad to discuss feasible options with you and help with your plant selection so you can avoid making choices that are “pretty now, dead later.”

If you have any questions or concerns about plant selection or proper maintenance, feel free to contact us at Cherry Landscape. Please contact me at (520) 292-9776 with any questions or concerns you may have.