June 2023 Garden Tasks

June is normally tough on plants and wildlife, but all bets are off this year. Normally I would remind you that all plants, even succulents, are stressed by this normally dry month, but weather has been erratic with below average temperatures and early rains in parts of the Southwest.

Rain lilies are a summer blooming bulb in areas that never get much below 20 F in winter.


Did you get a sprinkle of rain? Might not be enough. Make sure you water landscape trees and shrubs so that the water soaks three feet deep. This may mean for eight hours, depending on water flow and soil type. Also make sure you are watering out at the canopy line of the plants (the outer edge of the leaves). This will help encourage wide, strong roots. Strong anchoring roots help prevent trees from blowing over.

The principles of xeriscaping – low-water landscaping – say it’s okay to have a lawn if you care for it properly.


Give a dose of fertilizer to lawns and palms. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.  More on palm care – here.

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If you are growing annual flowers, they can get fertilizer. Don’t fertilize most perennials during June and July because it encourages new growth, and slowing growth in the heat of summer is a better idea (less water use). More on summer annuals – here.

Do not prune your palms this month. It encourages the palm borers to come and eat them to death.


Plant native vegetables and herbs like amaranth, corn, devil’s claw, epazote, squash and tepary beans.

Which veggies? Plant non-native heat-lovers like black-eyed peas, gourd, muskmelon, squash, watermelon.

Vegetables are like annual flowers – they will benefit from some fertilizer.


Fruit Crops

Keep fruit trees irrigated to minimize “June fruit drop.” Some drop is normal as plants evaluate how many fruit they have the resources to grow.

Harvest early grapes, and enjoy.

Fertilize citrus before mid-June if you haven’t already. More on citrus care.

Citrus trees are happiest when they get to shade their trunks and the soil around their feet.

Pests & Pest Eaters

Watch for tiny young praying mantis, emerging as weather warms. Do not mistake the baby green walkers for aphids, their prey.

Continue to eliminate spider mites on evergreens like arbor vitae or cedars with insecticidal soap or blasts of water. Repeat as needed. Water the evergreens to help reduce stress.

What do you think?!

Please leave your questions, comments, and ideas in the comment section (way way down) below.

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