Well, we've finally reached September!! It's still a hot month, AND our rain chances will begin to diminish as our monsoon has come to a close for the year. We need to remember and monitor our irrigation drip systems or if you're like me, watering plants by hand! Resist the temptation to plant new things into the ground. October and November are the best months to do this. Palms can and should be planted right now. Newly established cacti are fine but protect from the afternoon sun and the same goes with succulents. Once your cacti have been in the ground for about a year, they'll have a better chance against the brutal summer sun. Butterflies are in full swing here in the desert. If you've prepared the right plants in your garden for our winged friends, you'll begin to benefit from your hard work as hundreds of Queens and Swallowtails add a little bit of color to the green plants. Things for butterflies really start to pick here in September, October, and wrap up around November. But don't worry, if you need your butterfly fix during the winter months, the Tucson Botanical Gardens will have their butterfly garden opening up in October. Here are some recommended things to do this month....
- Lightly trim rose bushes around mid-month in preparation for fall bloom in late October and early November. Remove dead canes and weak, spindly growth. Don't do any major pruning until January. Use a slow-release fertilizer at 5-10-5. Spread some of those used coffee grounds around the base of the bushes.
- Chill spring-blooming tulip, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs in your fridge's veggie drawer for 6 to 8 weeks before planting.
- Apply the 3rd and final feeding of the year to citrus trees if you didn't fertilize last month.
- Harvest your lemons, limes, and figs....if you're lucky to have any after this year's killing freeze. If you can't pick all the fruit off the tree, remember the Tucson Community Food Bank. They'll send a crew to pick the edible fruit off to help out the Tucson community.
- Clean up spent warm-season plants.
- Lightly prune oleanders, orange jubilee, or bougainvillea that has a random branch growing here or there.