Desert gardeners don’t need the calendar to tell them the summer has arrived; all they have to do is step out. While the landscape may be sprinkled with summer-flowering shrubs and perennials, June is the toughest month for plants because of the heat and lack of humidity. Because of this, regular watering and minimal pruning should be the attention of those who garden in desert locations.

The warm days and cool nights for gardeners in upper elevations create June the perfect time to get out in the backyard and plant bush beans, stake tomatoes and deadhead roses. There is still time to plant balled and burlapped trees and shrubs this season too — so long as you’re willing to give them additional attention through summer.

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The American Southwest is a vast place, covering most of Arizona and New Mexico and elements of California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. The regions of the Southwest are diverse and include non deserts, high slopes and mountainous regions, covering USDA zones 5 though 9.

All Of Desert Regions

While it may be hot out, the garden is awash in bright colours from flowering shrubs and perennials.

Plants struggle in June, once the temperatures are hot and the humidity is quite low. Relief will come with the summer storms and greater humidity in July. In the meantime it’s crucial to make sure your plants are receiving enough water.

Revealed: Flowering ‘Rio Bravo’ sage, Arizona yellow bells and bougainvillea

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Water newly planted shrubs and perennials more often than established plants. Because new plants have not had enough time to grow a huge root system, they need more water than established plants that have been in the floor for more than a year.

Young trees have to be watered more often as well till they’ve been in the ground for three or more years.

How often to water is largely determined by how hot it is. This guide in the Desert Botanical Garden tells you how often to water, dependent on temperature.

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Water your cacti and succulents this month when there’s absolutely no rain. You might be surprised to find cacti and succulents need water in summer — especially when rainfall is absent.

Because there’s normally little rain in June, proceed and water that your cacti once and succulents at least two times this month.

Revealed: Flowering agave

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Watch for signs of sun and drought stress in your succulents. Shriveling or yellowing of the leaves, much like the agave revealed here, can be a sign of heat stress or absence of water.

If any one of your succulents are showing these signs, water deeply every 2 weeks and set up some temporary color through summer. For quick, temporary color, put a lawn chair over the affected plant or facing it as protection against the afternoon sun.

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Plant flowering vines and desert-adapted trees. Flowering vines are a terrific way to add beauty to a boring, bare expanse of a fence or garden wall. Summer-flowering vines include pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana, zones 9 to 11),trumpet vine (Campsis radicans, zones 4 to 10),Hall’s Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’, zones 4 to 9)and queen’s wreath (Antigonon leptopus,zones 8 to 10).

Whenever it’s ideal to wait till summer storms arrive to plant shrubs, you can go ahead and plant desert-adapted trees in June. Texas ebony (Ebenopsis ebano,zones 9 to 11),palo verde (Parkinsonia spp),mesquite (Prosopis spp), desert willow (Chilopsis linearis,zones 7 to 9), revealed here,and palo blanco (Acacia willardiana, zones 9 to 11) are all great options to plant in your landscape this summer.

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Shield veggies from the afternoon sun. Most vegetables will love relief in the hot afternoon sun. If you have a tree situated to the west of your vegetable garden, you may have enough shade already.

However, for those people that do not own a tree in which you need one, you will find other ways to create temporary shade to your summer vegetable garden. One way is to grow vines a trellis that will block the afternoon sun. Shade cloth that blocks at least 30% of sunlight also works wonderful. Sunflowers planted in a row can help color your veggies too.

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Fertilize your warm-season yard. Following your spring application of fertilizer, wait eight weeks before fertilizing again. Use a fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. To avoid fertilizer “burn,” read the directions on the fertilizer package attentively; don’t overapply. When in doubt consistently apply marginally less. Whenever you apply fertilizer, it’s quite important to water it deeply afterward.

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Upper Elevations (More than 6,000 Trainers)

Plant balled and burlapped trees. June is the last month for planting these trees before next spring. Insert a maple tree (Acer sp)to your landscape for beautiful fall color. Or how about incorporating a few contrasting color to your garden by planting a purple-leaf plum tree (Prunus cerasifera,zones 4 to 9), revealed here?

The secret to successfully planting a tree comes down to the hole:
Dig a hole three times broader then the root ball. The depth of the hole should be just like the root ball, not deeper (trees planted too deeply suffer from too little oxygen in the soil).

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Fertilize roses once blossoms appear. Use your preferred rose fertilizer, following the package directions, and water deeply afterward. Spray off any aphids using a strong jet of water.

Revealed: ‘Peace’ hybrid tea rose

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Provide support for young tomato plants. Tomatoes are quite floppy and require support to keep them off the floor. You’ll find a variety of staking systems at your regional nursery.

Many tomato types grow very tall, so look for cages you can pile or add a solid support pole a few inches away from the stalk when planting. Loosely tie the tomato vine to the pole as it grows.

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Plant successive crops of veggies to get a summer-long harvest. Extend your crop of plants such as bush beans (revealed), carrots and lettuce by shocking the planting dates. For example: Split your harvest of bush beans in half and then plant both weeks apart; you will have the ability to enjoy bush beans all summer long.

Get ready for July. The humidity will soon be climbing with summer storms on their way. I’ll show next month how to prepare your garden for the high winds and torrential rains of the monsoon storms.

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