Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Gardening for Tucson

This is the last month really before things start to heat up.  There's a lot of work to get done before summer arrives and now is the time to do it.  Once mid-May arrives, many Tucson gardeners won't want to be in the garden:) Here's a list of things to do from our area specialists.....

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
Source: Tucson Botanical Gardens

All types of landscape plants, including trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, clumping grasses, cacti and succulents.  This would be the time to plant your younger cacti transplants so that they get used to their new spots in the landscape.

Transplant citrus trees, including orange, lemon, grapefruit, pummelo, mandarin, lime, tangelo and kumquat.  Newly transplanted citrus trees seldom require fertilizer the first year after planting.

Sow sees for warm-season vegetables, including melons, cucumbers, squash, jicama, black-eyed peas, okra, and snap beans.  There's still time to sow sees for a later crop of cool-season carrots, radishes and green onions, all of which mature quickly.

Transplant herbs, including basil, lemon grass, lavender, oregano, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, santolina, salad burnet, and thyme. Plant Mexican mint marigold in place of French tarragon, which can be difficult to grow here.

Transplant flowering yarrow, anise hyssop, chaparral sage, Mexican bush sage, lisianthus, celosia and bee balm.  Sow seeds for coreopsis, hollyhock, cosmos, four o'clock, gaillardia, zinnia and sunflower.

Hybrid Bermuda grass sod can be installed. If seeding new lawns, wait until May.

Garden Maintenance
Fertilize older citrus trees with their second feeding of the year.  To help prevent root burn, water well the day before and immediately after applying.  Spread fertilizer at the tree's dripline-the edge of the canopy and slightly beyond. This is where a plant's feeder roots are growing and taking up nutrients and water.  Spreading fertilizer near the trunnk of a mature tree does little good.

Fertilize roses to help them during this peak bloom period.  To help maintain consistent soil moisture, spread a layer of mulch around the bases of bushes. Keep mulch several inches away from stems.  This aids in preventing insect or disease woes, a result of wet mulch sitting against plant tissue.

Monitor water needs of plants as temperatures increase, to prevent their becoming stressed water. Tomatoes and peppers may exhibit a dark, bruised area, which is probably blossom end rot.  This condition is aggravated by inconsistent watering.  The fruit is still edible if the affected area is cut away.  Deciduous fruit trees should be watered slowly and deeply to help with fruit sizing. 

Source:  Cathy Cromell who is co-author of Desert Gardening for Beginners (Arizona Master Gardeners Press)

For specific pruning and watering information, click here from Tucson Home Magazine:

This is the prime time of year to get a lot of your major projects done around the garden before the 100+ degree weather hits.  Until tomorrow.....


  1. I'm guessing you will be most busy getting everything ready. Enjoy the time working in the garden.

  2. Oh my goodness yes....yesterday it was rainy and cold so I couldn't get outside to do my work!!! Today it's fixing up the whiskey barrels with my new cacti!!! I can't wait. I also am getting the seed packets into the ground.....too much work!

  3. I had 90 degrees here today in south Florida. It is hot and muggy already. I run out and water and cut off my vegies, and run back inside. I am hoping for a few more cool fronts before solid steam!!!

    Good list of stuff to get done. I seriously need to check all my sprinkler system before it is scalding.

    Have a wonderful rest of April!!!


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