Desert landscaping helps save you time when it comes to maintaining your property, but it doesn’t mean that it is upkeep free. A properly designed desert landscape should already minimize your watering needs. Depending on what type of ground cover you choose you may never have to mow a lawn again. But once you have completed you desert landscaping, be sure to cover the following areas to get the most out of your investment.
Desert landscaping is dependent on plants that need less water than exotics from other parts of the world. Even so, a good watering schedule will ensure that your desert landscaping will grow and maintain to its full potential. Specific watering guidelines for your desert landscaping will vary depending on the region in which you live, however there are a few tips to keep in mind no matter where you are. First, be sure to water early in the day to avoid needless evaporation. Also plan on watering in short bursts more frequently rather than one long session. This gives the water a chance to be absorbed into the desert landscaping and prevents runoff. Second, verify that the amount of time you are watering is appropriate for the season. A watering schedule should be altered every one or two months to best meet the needs of your plants without wasting water. Third, make sure that you have plants that have similar watering needs together, so you are not over watering some plants and under watering others plants within your desert landscaping.
When you design a desert landscape, you should try to accommodate the full-grown plants. This will help eliminate the need for extensive pruning. For the first few years of your landscape, you may not need to do any pruning at all. Because of the type of plants that are common to desert landscaping, take a modest approach when pruning. You want to remove any dead or broken branches, or any that show signs of disease. Trees can be carefully pruned to retain their shape. Be careful to prune during the appropriate times of the year. A safe time to prune your desert landscaping is late winter or early spring. By pruning before or after the major annual growth of the plant, you will maximize the leaves and blooms for you to enjoy.
Although most plants appropriate to desert landscaping are hardy against extreme temperatures, some care still must be taken. Choose plants that have a tolerance to extreme weather, especially frost. How tolerant a plant should be for your desert landscaping purposes will be dependent on your location. If you do have plants that are especially prized, consider putting a cardboard box over them on cold nights. Some people also wrap cacti in burlap to protect them from frost.
Desert landscaping should reduce the need for weeding, but some undesirable plants may still sprout up. Be sure that your landscape makes use of water conservation procedures to reduce the amount of weeds. Some of the most common techniques for minimizing water use in desert landscaping are mulching, drip irrigation, and restricted water. Also make sure that you are removing weeds promptly and not allowing them to thrive for weeks before attempting removal.
If these procedures are not enough to reduce the amount of weeds in your desert landscaping, consider an herbicide. Make sure to choose one that is suitable for the type of plants in your desert landscaping. Also consider an environmentally friendly herbicide, which can be found next to their more toxic competition in any garden store.
Although most plants used for desert landscaping have low nutritional requirements, occasional fertilization can revitalize your plants. Be sure to mix the fertilizer into the soil or water for best absorption. The most effective fertilizers for desert climates build soil microbial activity and is common in organic fertilizers. After pruning, consider high phosphorus, low nitrogen treatments for your shrubs and any groundcover.
If some of these tasks seem daunting, take some time to plan a small amount of time each week to maintain your desert landscaping. A weekly ten minute walk throughout your desert landscaping removing any unwanted debris or weeds and fertilizing as needed should be all the consistent upkeep your desert landscaping should need. For watering schedules and the best months to prune, contact your county government or local university landscaping department.