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Master Gardener Journal  


N E O P H Y T E   N O O K



May Monsoon Prep

by Mike Mekelburg,
Master Gardener



Now is a good time to think about the damage that severe monsoon winds can wreak in your landscape come July and August.

Disproportionately thick tree canopies-typically found on mesquite, ficus, and just about any type of tree that has been improperly pruned over the years-should be thinned out well before monsoon winds start whipping up. You'll need to limit pruning after the hot summer months arrive, since newly exposed bark is susceptible to sunburn.

Widespread anchor roots are also important for tree stability. This is something that cannot be put off until just before monsoon season. Regular watering under the tree's canopy drip line is the best way to promote good anchoring. Instead of placing a hose at the base of the tree's trunk and letting it trickle for an hour or so, move the hose around under the canopy's drip line at the three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock positions, letting it soak two hours in each position. Or build a soil berm at the drip line, so the entire basin under the tree can be flooded for two hours. Underground irrigation systems are also a good bet.

For yards that are in floodplains, it's a good idea to choose larger "curb rock" for the strip between the sidewalk and the curb so water won't wash away so easily.

In other news, citrus are due for their second feeding of the year about mid-month. Nitrogen is the crucial ingredient, with iron, sulfur, and manganese being helpful. Follow label directions for application rates.

Enjoy the May sights of swallowtail butterflies around citrus trees, and the beautiful blooms on saguaro and prickly pear cacti.

Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated April 29, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092