Are Your Trees and Plants Ready For The Intense Summer and Monsoon Season?
If you have been in Southern Arizona for even one Monsoon Season, you’re likely not to forget it. And “weather” (Ok, corny!) you are on the love it or hate it side of the opinion table, it’s rapidly approaching. The intense heat, heavy rains and strong winds that are on their way mean more than frizzy hair and timed dashes to the car. So, what else do you need to think about besides packing an umbrella? Your plants of course!
I’m guessing this is not a subject that keeps you up at night, but as owners or managers you know just how much of a nuisance (and cost) a downed tree in a parking lot can cause. I could try to capture your attention with a long drawn out landscape management plan, but instead I decided to keep it to highlighting the three “W’s” that are likely to cause you the most strife and what you can do to try to be proactive about them.
1) Water. By now you know your water bill has crept up and you’re looking for ways to cut costs. It may seem like a feasible choice to turn down your irrigation schedule with all that free water that’s been coming down from Heaven and all, but should you? This is somewhat deceiving at first. Yes, you are getting help from Mother Nature, but a lot of factors come into play when deciding if that water is actually available to the plants to use. Soil type, plant location, and length of the rain storm all greatly affect just how much water your plants are getting. For instance, if you have a more clay based soil, your plants are on a slope and have no shade, the rainwater is likely just skimming the surface and passing by. If the plant is in a retention area and the soil is loamier, the water will have more of a chance to soak in and hit the root zone of the plant, allowing you to get away with little supplemental irrigation. Your landscape company should be managing your irrigation timer and taking into account the factors involved with just how much water your plants will need.
2) Wind. The “don’t bother to open your umbrella because it will just turn into a weapon resembling a medieval sword” kind of wind. It’s hardest on the trees, and if they haven’t been properly pruned to thin the canopies you have a lot to worry about. Dense canopies act like sails or umbrellas in high winds and cause stress and pressure on limbs, trunks, and root systems. Fallen branches and tons of debris are half the battle. With the ground soaked (and loosened) it can easily uproot and come down completely, causing serious damage and hazard. Make sure you are proactive about this by calling your landscape company to get any additional trimming done to allow the wind to more easily pass through the canopies and less debris to fall. This alone will decrease the likelihood of having fallen trees.
The suspense has built and now we have reached the pinnacle of all “W’s”…
3) Weeds. Yes, those ugly pesky things that keep the phones ringing at landscape maintenance companies across the State this time of year. The best advice I can give on this one is that I hope you sprung for the extra cost of a pre-emergent this year. Regularly applying pre-emergent herbicide will cut down the amount of weeds you see drastically and the number of times you need to call the landscape crew to come out and put the intruders in their place.
If you’re still with me, hopefully you learned something and feel better prepared to go to work with bad hair, knowing your landscape (and budget) will thank you for it.