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3. Ask a Desert Gardener, Apr 2024

In April, we see our gardens blossoming and branching out with new leaves and flowers. We will also observe the first stages of fruit and vegetable development in preparation for harvesting later this season. It’s time to get ready for “Growing Season 2024”!

If you will be purchasing new fruit trees and/or vegetables, they must have a location that will have at least 6-8 hours of daily sunlight for your crops to develop and ripen. Therefore: PLAN BEFORE PLANTING

April is ideal for adding additions to your landscape while temperatures are moderate, soil is warming, and the sun is not intense. This permits new plants to develop strong and expansive root systems needed to survive in the hotter months ahead.

Ensure that your soil is properly aerated so that oxygen reaches the roots and there is proper water drainage. Check that drip emitters are strategically placed and functioning. Follow The Water Authority’s Watering Days Schedule, having your morning sessions begin at 7AM so that water does not remain on your plantings during the hottest time of the day. Droplets magnify the sun’s rays causing leaf and flower burns! Evening irrigation should take place at dusk to prevent surface water from remaining on the ground at night. This will prevent root rot, and inhibit insect and fungus damage.

Fertilize your plants, except palms, at least once a month now through mid-June. This will encourage strong roots and leaf growth by replenishing soil nutrients absorbed in the early growing process. Flowers, fruits and vegetables should be treated with a high phosphorus fertilizer, while green bushes should be treated with high nitrogen products. Roses will benefit from applying Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) as a granular or solution to encourage flowering. In addition, adding bone meal will increase the calcium and phosphorus levels in the soil helping succulents to grow. Palm trees should not be fertilized until the soil reaches 70For above (from late May-August).

In April, it is important to treat the soil surrounding agaves and yuccas with a systemic insecticide to prevent root-eating weevil larvae from attacking and killing these plants!

Have any questions? Contact me at: Theplantwhisperer28@gmail.com  

Howard Galin is a University of Nevada certified Master Gardener and the Chair of the SCA Garden Club House Call Program.