Prepare gardens for the cooler temperatures of winter.
TIP OF THE MONTH
In some of our cultivated deciduous trees, notable color changes occur in Fall, adding a punch of red, yellow or orange. As the weather cools, chlorophyll production stops as the tree enters dormancy. Therefore, December through February is the best time to prune deciduous trees.
Arizona Ash is a Southern Arizona native that is noted for its brilliant yellow leaves. Chinese Pistache is appreciated for its bright yellow-orange-red tinged foliage with the additional texture of beautiful berry clusters. Mexican Buckeye, a Chihuahuan desert native, is useful as a smaller landscape tree, with leaves that turn golden yellow. Chinese Elm, Arizona Sycamore and Sweet Gum also show off their autumn hues. Desert Sumac adds flame-toned leaves to the autumn scene. Crape Myrtle leaves turn orange-red when cold weather appears.
Pomegranates and persimmon trees also offer color changes.
Plant winter color annuals such as cyclamen, primrose, pansies, violas, lobelia, snapdragon, petunia, gazania, nasturtium and sweet pea.
Sow seeds for beets, bok choy, bulb and green onions, collards, endive, kale, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard greens, peas, radishes and spinach.
Plant colorful perennials such as angelita daisy, gaura, hummingbird trumpet sage and Mount Lemmon marigold.
Sow wildflower seeds by mid-month to take advantage of winter rains.
Choose a location that receives full sun in winter.
Continue transplanting desert-adapted trees and shrubs, ground covers, vines, cacti, succulents and grasses.
Transplant culinary herbs such as cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, marjoram, mint, chives, rosemary, catnip, oregano, society garlic and sorrel.
Also, transplant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.
Set out rain lily bulbs now.
Plant them under trees or among rocks.
Move tender potted plants to sunnier locations or in protected spots under porches, eaves or tree canopies.
Don’t water cacti and succulents before frosts.
Place polystyrene cups over the tops of columnar cacti.
Drape small trees with frost cloth; wrap young citrus trunks with burlap.
Adjust automatic irrigation timers to reduce water.
Irrigate citrus trees about every three weeks to a depth of three feet.
As weather cools, less water helps prepare plants for dormancy.
The first of the winter vegetables will include radishes, spinach, arugula and leaf lettuce.
Test citrus to determine ripeness. Tangerines ripen first, followed by navel oranges, tangelos, lemons and limes.