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Master Gardener Journal  

T H I N G S   T O   E X P E C T   &   T H I N G S   T O   D O

by Terry H. Mikel,
Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture

CITRUS FRUIT DROP should be finished. Navels consistently win the prize for most dropped.

FALSE CHINCH BUGS migrate to greener pastures as the desert dries in the heat. The dry winter has reduced their numbers dramatically.

METALLIC FLEA BEETLES make their annual presence known. They are especially fond of Mexican primrose (Oenothera berlandieri), and provide a much-needed pruning to this plant.

LAWNS will begin to show stressed areas if the sprinklers are not putting out water uniformly over the area.

BROWN BEETLES suddenly appearing around the lawn indicate emergence and mating time. Treat 45 days to 2 months after first seeing small (1/2 to 5/8 inches long) brown beetles near lawn areas. Waiting this time allows all the emergence, mating, and egg laying of the beetles to happen.

CICADAS buzz incessantly, marking the beginning of summer as no other sign.

ANTS AND TERMITES become more active and swarm during Arizona's summer storm season. Look for swarms on hot sultry mornings. To distinguish ants from termites, there are two things to look for: 1) ants have a tight constriction between the head/thorax and the abdomen, and 2) ant antennae bend to nearly 90 degrees about halfway out.

TOADSTOOLS AND SLIME FUNGI increase around the landscape with the warm wetness of the season. Though some may be edible, don't chance it. My criteria for eating a wild mushroom is letting someone with over 30 years of experience choose it. One wrong choice can ruin your day.

PALO VERDE BEETLES continue to emerge from the ground under infested trees. Extra TLC remains the best treatment. Remember, Palo Verde Borers have been found on many other types of trees; especially (but not necessarily) ones with tap roots.

FERTILIZE CITRUS after the annual natural fruit thinning. Doing it before the drop will make you think the fertilizer caused it. The next time is August/September prior to fruit sizing time.

WATCH LAWNS FOR SIGNS of poor watering. If some areas look weak, check to ensure even water distribution by putting out cans and checking the amount after a normal watering. This will quickly slow any variation. Areas with less water need attention to those sprinklers. By fixing the poor sprinklers, you won't over water the rest to supply the weak.

HARVEST WILDFLOWER SEEDS from your beds for next season. A simple way is to put a brown paper bag over the whole plant and pull it up. This lets the seeds stay in the bag.

MULCH SOIL SURFACES of trees, shrubs and flowerbeds to keep root zones cooler and to minimize evaporation loss of water.

PRUNE AND PLANT PALMS in the summer. Warm soils stimulate the roots to start growing and the flower spikes are there for easy recognition.

WATER CAREFULLY for better plant growth and to save water. The watering needs of plants increase with hot, dry weather. Be attentive to wilt symptoms. Water deeply, but only as often as necessary to maintain good growth. Remember the 1 - 2 - 3 rule.

Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated May 28, 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 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092