We are coming up on the time of the year where the frost starts to let up and the mornings feel less and less crisp. February can be tricky in the low desert, a warm week shouldn’t fool you into believing that spring has arrived. There is still a frost risk up until the middle of March so take necessary measures to protect your plants from freezing temperatures.
Mid-March usually brings about the perfect spring weather for planting, a window between the cold frost of the winter and the extreme desert heat of the Arizona summer. It’s a great time to plant roses and citrus trees or start a flower or vegetable garden. This is also the best time to do heavy pruning and fertilize all your plants and trees.
Frost damaged branches can be pruned once the weather warms up. Regular pruning/thinning should be performed by reaching into the plant and cutting select stems at the base, eliminating crowded and crossed branches to create a natural appearance. Restorative pruning can be done once every few years on each species and involves the hard cutback of all branches to allow regrowth for the overall health of the plant.
Fertilize plants in the early spring to provide the nutrient boost plants need to recover from the cold months and survive the increasing temperatures. Soil tests can help determine the nutrient requirements of your soil to determine the type of fertilizer to use. A good fertilizer blend can promote healthy plant growth and color.
Temperatures will begin to rise in March, and irrigation will need to be increased to compensate for the greater needs of the plants. Newly planted landscape may need more water during the establishment period so make sure to plan to water accordingly. Make sure to have timers set on your irrigation clocks and adjust for the seasonal needs of your landscape to keep plants properly watered year-round.