Landscaping in Arizona is unique to anywhere else in the world. Our dry, desert climate and warm temperatures mean that our landscaping looks a little different in the Phoenix area, and has to be cared for differently as well. And of course, there are seasonal changes to reckon with, as blazing hot summers give way to warm falls and pleasant winters. How can you be sure you’re taking care of your landscaping properly throughout all seasons in Arizona?
Here are some quick landscaping tips for every season, to help you keep your yard looking great, any time of year.
An Arizona spring can go from reasonably warm, to pleasantly cool, to unusually hot, and back again. With that kind of unpredictability, it’s important to be proactive about your landscaping so you can enjoy your yard during the spring while also preparing it for the brutal summer months.
- Most Arizona plants are able to survive (or even thrive) during the winter, so in the spring, there probably won’t be a lot of dead plants and branches to clear out. Still, an extensive weeding at the start of the season is probably a good idea, since weeds can steal much-needed water from your other plants.
- Before the temperatures get unbearable, plant flowers that will be able to survive the summer months, and that will add color to your landscaping. Cosmos, echinacea, honeysuckle, and lantana are all beautiful, low maintenance options.
- If you want to plant any new citrus trees, now is the time. Citrus trees are resilient, but if you plant them during the hottest summer months, they’re less likely to survive. You also need to plant them late enough that there’s no danger of frost at night. Mid-February through the end of May is your best bet. Make sure you consult with landscaping experts about where and how to plant your trees so that they can thrive in your yard.
The summer is all about choosing and maintaining landscaping options that can survive intense sunlight and extremely high temperatures.
- Planting and caring for an Arizona summer lawn is basically an art form. You’ll want to plant your bermuda grass early in the summer (before it gets too hot), fertilize well, and water frequently. Once the grass has grown in, deep watering will be beneficial, since the hot temperatures and dry winds can dry out the surface level soil. Water grass in the morning to minimize evaporation.
- Use a shade cover to protect your vegetable garden from harsh summer rays. Strategically placed shade cloth will protect your plants from the worst of the direct sunlight while also allowing them to get needed sun throughout the day.
- Don’t over prune. Branches and leaves help protect your plants and keep them cool. When you cut back your plants too much, it exposes them to more heat and light.
- Try adding cacti to your landscaping. These tough plants were designed to survive extreme weather conditions, so they’re a good resilient option for adding some color to your yard.
When the temperatures (finally) start to drop below 100 degrees, and the nights get longer and cooler, it’s finally comfortable to get outside and work in the yard again. Here’s how to make the most of it.
- Take tree inventory (and plant new ones). Summer monsoons can wreak havoc on your trees. You might want to consider staking your trees (especially younger trees) as they may have been affected by the strong winds. Additionally, fall is a great time to plant new trees in your yard, since it gives them time to develop their roots before the colder winter temperatures.
- Plant flowers. Most of the country is seeing their brightly-colored flowers start to die as the cold sets in. In Phoenix, however, we’re lucky to be able to enjoy many flowers all winter long. Pansies, zinnias, marigolds, and petunias are all great options.
- Mid-September, is the time to start planting vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, and more are great for your fall harvest. Additionally, herbs like oregano, mint, and cilantro and good to plant in an Arizona fall.
Arizona winters are loved by locals and visitors alike. Unlike most of the country, Arizona winter temperatures are mild and pleasant, often featuring sunny days and nights that are just cool enough to warrant a light bundling-up. This means that winter landscaping in the Phoenix area is unique as well.
- Overseed your lawn when even temperatures stay below 65 degrees. Overseeding with rye grass, and caring for it properly, will help you have a lush, green lawn all winter long.
- If your landscaping is watered using irrigation, winter is a great time to make sure the system is properly maintained and functioning at its best.
- Be aware of potential frost. Sometimes, overnight temperatures are low enough to pose a frost risk to plants. Consider buying some protective cloths or sheets to cover your most vulnerable plants on the coldest nights. A landscaping professional or nursery worker can help you identify which plants are most susceptible.
- Maintenance is more enjoyable in the winter than in any other time in Arizona. Stay on top of mowing, pruning, weeding, and watering your yard, and enjoy that beautiful Phoenix winter weather!
Landscaping in Arizona can be beautiful and varied, but it’s important to know how to handle each of Arizona’s unique seasons. Follow these tips, and work with experts to answer any additional questions you might have, and you’ll be enjoying your Arizona yard all year long!