June 2024 Garden Tasks

June in the Southwest is normally hard on plants and wildlife, and this year promises to be no different.   All plants, even succulents, are stressed by this normally dry month, and worse than usual with the erratic winds that can dry plants further.

June is one of the longest chapters in my Month by Month Garden Guide.  This post is a much shortened version.

Need More than This Short Post?

The Month By Month Guide offers tips for your landscape (yes even lawns and roses) in every month of the year.  I have a few copies left and am offering them to you – my loyal readers. When you buy from me you get a signed copy!soule-books-buy

From the review:

“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.

The book’s author is Jacqueline Soule, a Tucson-based gardening expert. She knows this arid region inside and out, and she’s written several articles and books packed with her gardening advice. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening showcases Soule’s expertise in one easy-to-read guide.”

Profits from the sale of this book go to the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.  Heads up – I may have to increase the price when the US Postal Service increases their rates in July 2024.

Irrigation

gardening-with-soule-water-southwest-irrigationDid you get a sprinkle of rain?    Might not be enough.    Make sure you water landscape trees and shrubs so that the water soaks down to three feet deep.    This may mean for eight hours, depending on your water flow and soil type.

Be sure you are watering out at the canopy or “drip” 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.  I also discussed this in the May garden tasks.

Fertilizer in June

gardening-with-soule-fertilizer-growLow, Middle and High Desert should avoid fertilizing virtually all plants after Memorial Day and only start again on Labor Day. The exception is lawns (which I do not have) and palms (which I do have). Give a dose of fertilizer to lawns and palms.    Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.    More on palm care.

Or – put it this way. After the first week of the June, in the Desert Elevations, it is best to avoid fertilizing the landscape. Avoid fertilizer during June and July because it encourages new growth, and slowing growth in the heat of summer is a better idea (less water use).    Upper Elevations and Cool Mountains should fertilize in the summer months.

In all Elevations, if you are growing a vegetable garden or annual flowers, they can benefit from fertilizer.

If plants are looking stressed, some Epsom salts may be needed.  This does not count as fertilizer when applied to a plant with a nutrient deficiency.

June Prune

gardening-with-soule-garden-success-leucophyllum
Texas rangers should not be pruned just before their summer bloom time.

Little pruning is needed in the heat of summer. It is hard for plants to recover. Ideally prune in late summer – or, for some plants, when they are dormant in winter.

Go ahead and prune the plants that flowered in spring and now will look unsightly all summer with rat-tails of old flower stalks.

Specific shrubs need a good prune, like the silver senna, Cassia artemesoides (also called Senna artemesoides). It comes from Australia cassias, and is a popular shrub in warmer areas of the Southwest. It is ideally pruned quite vigorously before all the seeds drop from the bushes and sprout everywhere.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE leave the summer flowering plants alone! Do not prune them. Then you will not get flowers! I specifically mean shrubs like the Texas rain sages (Leucophyllum species) and Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica).

Vegetables in June

soule-vegetable-gardening-success-cornPlant native vegetables and herbs like amaranth, corn, devil’s claw, epazote, native squash, and tepary beans.  There will be a post about devils claw in two weeks.

Plant non-native heat-loving vegetables like black-eyed peas, gourd, muskmelon, zucchini squash, watermelon.

Try to grow a Three Sisters Garden. The vegetables thrive with this system of growing.

Fruit & Nut Crops

gardening-with-soule-grow-fruit-passionflower
Passionfruit is a vine that provides tasty fruits and wicked cool flowers.

Keep fruit and nut trees properly irrigated to minimize “June fruit drop.”    Some drop is normal.  Ironically, if you over fertilize – you can cause June drop rather than preventing it.

Harvest early grapes, and enjoy. Watch for peaches, apricots, pluots, plums and jujube ripening. Mulberry are mostly done for the year.

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

Pests & Pest Eaters

gardening-with-soule-preying-mantisThere are so many in June!  Watch for tiny young praying mantis, emerging as weather warms.    Do not mistake the baby green walkers for aphids, their prey.  You might have to look really close!

Continue to eliminate spider mites on evergreens, like Italian cypress or Aleppo pines, with insecticidal soap or blasts of water.    Repeat as needed.    Water these non-native evergreens to help reduce stress.

Legal

© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt – but you must give proper credit to Gardening With Soule. You must include a link to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

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