• AZ YardWorks

Summer heat can really suck the life out of plants. The lack of rain so far this year hasn’t helped. If you notice your plants looking a little tired, the obvious cure is to give them some extra water. But there’s more you should know and do to keep your plants healthy in the heat.

Even the most drought-tolerant plants can succumb to our searing summers. Cacti and agaves may display some yellowing, a result of stress and sunburn. Shade cloth can offer some temporary protection. If practical, planting a larger shrub west of a cactus can provide afternoon shade.

Some plants must also defend against invasive insects. In recent years, we’ve observed caterpillars damaging yellow bells (tecoma stans), orange bells/orange jubilee and bougainvillea. This small caterpillar (antigastra catalaunalis) likes to suck these plants’ leaves. An infected plant may appear to need water, but closer inspection of the leaves will reveal lots of tiny black pellets: caterpillar poop. The critters themselves can be found rolled into tiny balls for protection. Spraying a plant with a product containing the bacterium bacillus thurengensis can be an effective treatment. Most plants will recover after spraying. Some aggressive pruning of the infected areas may be required.

The agave snout weevil is another pest we see frequently. They routinely attack

and kill mature desert spoon, agave, and yucca. Unfortunately, an infestation may

not be apparent until the damage is too severe and the plant may no longer be anchored by its roots. If you can easily push it over, remove it. The best treatment strategy is prevention. Consider drenching the soil around susceptible plants each spring with a product containing the insecticide imidacloprid.

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  • AZ YardWorks

WATERING TIPS--At least half the water used by a typical North Valley home goes into the yard. Fed up with high water bills and endless repairs, some opt to turn off their irrigation systems for good. Incredibly, their unwatered yards may be largely indistinguishable from yards watered daily.

If you abruptly terminate watering, some plants will die. But watering too much can also be detrimental. Among the signs of overwatering: leaves that are green but brittle, or that turn pale or even yellow.

Over the years, we’ve collected informal data on the irrigation practices of thousands of homeowners in our area. Comparing that with guidelines from the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (, it’s clear most homeowners significantly overwater. The AMWUA guidelines recommend approximately:

Every two weeks during the late spring warm-up.

Once per week in the hottest, driest parts of the year (late may into July).

Once every 10 days if getting moisture during monsoon season.

Every 30 days in winter.

The primary considerations for watering are plant type, size and age. Younger and non-native plants need water more frequently. Older plants thrive with deeper, wider area waterings.

Follow the “1-2-3” depth rule:

1 foot Annuals, lantana and small cacti

2 feet Medium-sized plants like sage and vines

3 feet Large plants and trees

These guidelines refer primarily to drought-tolerant plants and cacti—exactly

what many HOAs mandate. Hibiscus, roses and citrus need more frequent

watering. Plants on mounds or in tight spaces can present additional water

monitoring challenges. Watch for signs of stress. If plants wilt in the heat, they likely need more water (adjust the irrigation timer, or consider supplementing with a hose).

See other tips at, or give us a call and we’ll evaluate your plans and your irrigation setup.

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  • AZ YardWorks

Updated: Oct 17, 2018

This landscape maintenance information is intended for Anthem, Amber Hills, Fireside Sonoran Foothills, Tramonto

Early spring is a great time to get out and prepare our yards for the impending inferno we call “summer”. Here are a few items you may consider doing this spring to help your yard look its best.

Clean up. Lots of dropped plant and tree debris accumulates during the winter. Left unchecked, this material quickly gets embedded in gravel and looks unsightly An electric blower/vac may help, but you will need to demonstrate a good deal of patience. A powerful gas blower is your best bet.

Pruning. If desired, now is the best time to do heavy regenerative/restorative pruning on sage, lantana, bird of paradise, and others.

Weeds. Hopefully you’ve already applied a pre-emergent herbicide earlier this year to deter spring weeds. If not, apply a combination pre/post emergent now to kill new weeds and prevent future ones. You’re next round of pre-emergent should be applied around June.

Plantings. Freshen up your landscape with some vibrant color. Spring is the ideal time to plant most anything you like (Be sure to check your HOA approved plant list first.). Allow your plants this precious time to establish in advance of the shocking summer heat.

Irrigation. Conduct an irrigation system audit. Check valves and lines for leaks. Inspect drip heads for proper flow. Adjust your timer appropriately for warmer temperatures.

Fertilize. Fertilizing your plants this spring with an appropriate ratio of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous will make your plants very happy. A general fertilizer will work fine, but a little more research will help you select appropriate ratios for your specific application.

Lawn Care. Mechanical aerating and dethatching will breathe new life into your soon-to-be- active bermuda grass. Begin monthly fertilizer applications and continue through summer. Don’t neglect your sprinkler heads. Make sure they are adjusted properly for coverage and flow.

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