September: Sunny days still bring the heat, but cooler nights hint of things to come. It’s time to dig out your gardening tools!
Plant citrus while the weather is still warm. Choose varieties that are better adapted to desert conditions.
Plant strawberry varieties that perform in low-desert conditions. Choose a location that has protection from afternoon sun.
Plant fall herbs such as chives, thyme, catmint, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel and parsley.
Transplant herbs such as lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Dig compost into vegetable beds.
Rearrange container plants to sunnier locations as the sun’s arc slips southward.
Chill tulip, crocus, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator for eight weeks prior to planting.
Cut back tomatoes and peppers that made it through the summer to promote a new bloom before frost.
Trim roses and remove dead twigs to promote a second bloom in the fall.
Prune shrubs such as oleander, privet, xylosma, Texas ranger and Arizona rosewood that have become overgrown.
Cut back on water for deciduous fruit trees, grape vines and citrus to slow growth and get ready for cooler temperatures.
Water citrus deeply out to the plant’s canopy every two weeks.
Hose off dusty plants to control spider mites.
Divide iris this month. Dig up large clumps and cut rhizomes into small pieces.
Pull and compost the last of the summer annuals.
Refresh garden beds by incorporating four to six inches of organic matter.
Fertilize with nitrogen in early September to provide nutrients to summer-stressed plants. Water the day before and after applications to prevent burn.
Feed roses with a slow-release fertilizer that will last through fall.
Fertilize citrus with the third and final application of nitrogen for the year.
Add organic nitrogen sources to the soil, including alfalfa meal, blood meal, coffee grounds, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion and guano.
TIP OF THE MONTH
The hibiscus is an iconic flower of the tropics, but can make a bright splash of color in your patio or container garden. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a heat-loving, evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and a colorful whorl of five-petalled, trumpet-shaped blooms. The color range includes shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, peach and white. Different cultivars offer large flower sizes and double blooms. It has a long blooming season, from spring through late fall. When temperatures drop, reduce watering because the plant becomes semi-dormant. Prune after the frost to invigorate growth. Plant hibiscus on the east or north side of your home and give it regular watering. Add a slow-release fertilizer for best results. Yellow leaves can mean heat damage or too little water.