jenna1(AZ)September 5, 2013

This has been our first Arizona summer. In January we had our front and back yards landscaped with several palms, red Mexican BOP, pink yucca (can't remember the name of it offhand), gardenias and several sages.

I'm used to tropical gardening where we used to live and could tell you exactly how and when to do pruning, propagation, fertilizing, watering, winterizing, etc. I'm at a complete loss here. I did fertilize the palms (pineapple, pygmy's and I believe the others are small fan palms) with palm food and other plants with a general fertilizer, all about April or May.

Can I fertilizer again or should I wait? I live in Lake Havasu City and with the blazing hot temps and sun I didn't fertilizer for fear of killing the palms.

Thanks for any information you can give me.


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Here's my recommendations. In such hot temperatures that we have, frequent watering is necessary. Frequent watering can leach fertilizers out of the soil, leaving the plants with inadequate nutrients, especially nitrogen.

So, if you are watering frequently and deeply, I would definitely fertilize on a monthly basis during the warm season. In the short winter (Nov-Jan), you don't need to fertilize at all because the plants go dormant (except some cool season stuff, of course, like winter veggies and cool season flowers.)

I don't know what kind of soil you have in LHC, but if it's anything like Yuma, it's sandy soil. If your soil is sandy, it's all the more important to fertilize on a regular basis (but lightly!)

I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Thank you! Someone had told me not to fertilize at all during the hot months but I didn't think of the fact that our soil is sandy/rocky, as you mentioned. I should have known better.

Wish I had thought to toss fertilizer this afternoon so that the heavy monsoon rains could water it in. It's absolutely pouring here tonight. I used to compost darn near everything at our old home but don't here. But I do save all our coffee grounds and sprinkle them around and water them in.

Thank you again, richsd. I'll be out fertilizing tomorrow, depending on the rains.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:27AM
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Mexican BOP and the agaves are OK with no fertilizer. They are natives of places with crappy soil. A light fertilizing in the spring - soil sulfur, too - would be plenty for them. Don't do it now because you want them to slow down growth before winter. Wait until you see signs of new growth in the spring.

Palms? It's very species dependent. Fan palms are natives of our crap soil and don't need it. Queen palms develop deficiencies easily. The others, I don't know about. Date palms (Phoenix spp) don't need much besides ample water - they grew huge plantations of them in Yuma with nothing but irrigation. They are native to crap desert soil regions.

Regular, deep watering is needed through out the first and second summers of low-water use plants. Then taper off to either rain only, or twice-monthly deep waterings when it's really hot. (May and June, July if the rains are late).

You kill more desert landscaping by overwatering and overfertilizing than with under-doing it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:57AM
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