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Maintenance by the Month: August

August will be a lot like July – the Coachella Valley’s hottest month – except it’s the height of the desert’s muggy season.  Unlike temperatures that typically vary between night and day, humidity remains more constant. A muggy day is usually followed by a muggy night. It may or may not rain.

Even though you might not want to leave air-conditioned comfort, garden chores beckon.

It’s time to:

  • Remove dead basal foliage of perennials. Deadhead spent flowers of coreopsis and rudbeckia
  • Trim away dead flowering stems of autumn sage. This stimulates creation of new flowering stems in the fall and winter season.
  • Lightly cut back old, tired stems  of blue salvia, to encourage new basal growth
  • Make plans for fall planting annual and perennials.
  • Order seeds of adapted wildflowers for planting in September and October.
  • If possible, pick a cooler, cloudy day to prepare fall planting beds by digging organic materials into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil.
  • Rebuild basins on plants to hold irrigation water.
  • Check drip irrigation systems to see that they are operating correctly.
  • If overseeding Bermudagress, hold off on fertilizing. Renovation and reseeding is just two months ahead. If not overseeding, then fertilize.
  • Avoid shearing or pruning for another month. Pruning now may expose formerly shaded stems and foliage to sunburn.

(Source: “Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley,” Coachella Valley Water District)

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