Plant Clinic with Dr. Bessey
Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Do you have an ailing aloe? Does your Palo Verde look a little peaked? Have your horticultural conundrums addressed by Dr. Paul Bessey, former Professor of Horticulture at the University of Arizona. Every Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Doctor will be in at the Garden’s Gift Shop. Dr. Bessey generously donates his time to help anyone who needs advice or assistance with tending a garden in this desert environment. Bring samples of your afflicted plants, chat about soil conditions, get troublesome bugs identified or just enjoy visiting with one of the most knowledgeable Horticulturalists in Tucson.
Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss in North America – at the overwintering sites and throughout the spring and summer breeding range as well.
Southwest Planting Tips by Month
Check weather forecast for freeze warnings. Cover the tips of sensitive columnar cacti with styrofoam cups. Use frost cloth or a blanket to cover aloes, citrus, and other sensitive plants when temperatures drop below 28°F. Water winter annual wildflowers once a week. Thin wildflower seedlings if crowded. Recycle your cut Christmas tree
Protect sensitive plants on nights below 28°F. Leave any frost-killed foliage and branches on landscape plants – this will protect the base of the plant, which should re-sprout. Fertilize citrus, fruit trees, roses, and lawns on Valentine’s Day. Prune mesquites and other large trees, grapes, and roses. Plant spring-blooming bulbs and garden annuals. Begin harvest of citrus
The average last day of freezing weather is March 15th. After this date, prune frost-damaged foliage and branches. Purchase and plant new perennials, shrubs, trees, annuals, and herbs. Plant spring vegetable garden. Spread mulch under and around plants. Continue to harvest citrus
An ideal month to plant cactus & succulents, citrus, and palms. Finish the planting of herbaceous perennials and herbs. Fertilize shrubs. Increase watering as temperatures rise. Adjust irrigation clock to increase watering frequency. Stop watering winter annual wildflowers, collect seed, and rake up dried remains
Finish the planting of cactus & succulents. Place shade cloth over newly planted cacti & succulents to avoid sunburn. Continue to increase watering and irrigation, especially for plants in containers. Fertilize citrus, fruit trees, roses, and lawns on Memorial Day
Avoid planting new plants during this, the hottest month. Watch for signs of water stress and sunburn. Increase watering, but beware of hot hose water. Stop mosquitoes before the summer rains by eliminating places where water may collect. Watch for pests like cactus longhorn beetles and agave snout weevils. See the Arizona queen of the night cactus when it blooms. Garden in the early morning or late evening to beat the heat
Avoid planting new plants except summer wildflowers or monsoon-season crops. Collect rainwater through water harvesting. Use BT mosquito dunks in any standing water. Maintain watering for most plants, but discontinue temporarily after heavy monsoon rains. Stop watering cacti & succulents if moderate to heavy rains arrive. Prune drooping tree limbs or wind-damaged branches
Keep weeds under control. Trim and dead-head spent flowers, but do not replant until cooler weather. Prepare vegetable and annual flower beds for planting. Watch for iron deficiency on roses – treat with chelated iron
An ideal month to plant most trees and shrubs. Fertilize citrus, fruit trees, roses, and lawns on Labor Day. Prune plants to shape after summer rains. Harvest pomegranates. Plant tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, gourds, and pumpkins. Divide and transplant iris. Prepare a site for winter annual wildflowers
Reduce watering to help plants harden-off for winter. Adjust irrigation clock for less frequent watering. Plant cool-season annuals, vegetables, and herbs. Continue to plant trees and shrubs. Plant hardy cactus & succulents. Move adeniums, Madagascar palms, stapelias, and other cold-sensitive succulents indoors. Prepare frost cloth and cactus-covers for the arrival of frost
Begin checking the forecast for freeze warnings. The average first frost arrives mid-November. Prepare to cover and protect sensitive plants when temperatures drop below 28°F. Bring potted succulents indoors when in doubt about cold sensitivity. Further reduce watering and irrigation. Sow winter annual wildflower seeds and water them in. Collect fallen leaves and add to compost pile. Harvest Mexican limes
Check weather forecast for freeze warnings. Cover the tips of sensitive columnar cacti with styrofoam cups. Use frost cloth or a blanket to cover aloes, citrus, and other sensitive plants when temperatures drop below 28°F. Reduce watering and irrigation frequency to a minimum, but water thoroughly when needed. Water annual wildflower seedlings once a week during dry winters. Plant bare-root roses and fruit trees. Choose an Aleppo pine or Mondell pine as a live Christmas tree, if desired for planting in a low water-use landscape