. Table of Contents
These are a few of my favorite plants. Many are suitable
for very arid lands. Some do best when watered once a week during
the hottest part of the summer. Place those plants closest to
your front door and patio so that you can enjoy them often. Xeriscape
does not have to bare rock and cactii. It can be very beautiful
with many blooms of bright colors.
Balloon Flower, Basket of Gold, Beard Tongue, Bee Balm,
Blanket Flower, Bush Morning Glory, Candy Tuft, Cassia (Senna), Catmint,
Chocolate Plant, Coneflower, Daylily, Desert Marigold, Dusty Miller,
Fairy Duster, Flax, Four o'Clock, Gay Feather, Liatris,
Globe Mallow, Hummingbird Flower, Ice Plant, Jupiter's Beard, Lavender,
Lily of the Nile, Mexican Daisy, Mexican Evening Primrose, Mexican Hat,
Mexican Sunflower, Lambs Ear, Rosemary, Penstemon, Pincushion Flower,
Salvia (Sages), Santolina, Sedums, Self-heal (Prunella), Snow-in-Summer,
Soapwort, Speedwell, Sunflower, Twin Spur, Yellow Bells,
Lawn Grasses - Bermuda Grass, Buffalo Grass, Blue Grama
Ornamental Grasses - Muhlenbergia, Nolina
Apache Plume, Autumn Sage, Brittlebush, Butterfly Bush, Mexican Bird of Paradise,
Myrtle, Oleander, Photina, Ruellia peninsularis, Silverberry,
Texas Mountain Laurel
Desert Willow, Palo Verde, Pomegranate, Mexican Elder,
Smoke Tree, Juniper, Texas Olive, Vitex Vines
Mexican Honeysuckle, Trumpet Vine
Century Plant, Texas Red Yucca
Spring is the time of renewal and growth in your garden
and your lawn. Water is essential for all that activity. It is
an excellent time to train your plants (and you) for efficient
water use during the hot, dry summer months ahead.
As an exercise take a long screwdriver (12 inches) out to your garden and perform a water test. Stick the screwdriver into the ground without forcing it. The depth it can easily penetrate the soil is the depth that water has reached in that area. Try it in several places in your yard.
|Perennials||14 inches||daisy, sage, dianthus|
|Annuals||4 inches||marigolds and zinnias|
|Grass||8 inches||bermuda and fescues go deeper|
|Shrubs||24 inches||roses, lilacs|
|Trees||3 feet||some have very deep tap roots|
Watering guidelines -
1. Water at the soil surface if possible, flooding is good.
2. Watering less area at a time is best because you use a lower water pressure. You have to change the hose more.
3. Let the water run for longer periods. This is what gets the water to the deeper roots. Use the screwdriver several hours after you water to see how far the water went down. Experience will teach you how long to water to reach the various depths.
4. Plants with shallow roots need to be watered more often. Annuals may need water twice a week, trees need water once a month.
A note about trees and shrubs: Water deeply in the spring, fertilize and then water deeply again. If you have not been practicing the deep water technique trees and shrub roots will need to be trained. This is done by watering more frequently at first and then gradually watering less often.
5. Watering before 10:00 in the morning is the most effective use of your water. Less water is lost to evaporation. Watering at night can increase your chance of mildew and mold. Evening water is okay if the leaves have a chance to dry before dark.
Most desert plants are exceptions to these guidelines. They have adapted to their dry environments and have discovered some very unusual methods to collect water. They need water very infrequently. If you live in an area with concrete and asphalt they will need shallow watering about once a month.
The advantages to watering using these guidelines is that you will have healthier plants. Most plants actually need less water than what the average gardener gives them especially tomatoes. You will conserve water, lots of water, and lower your water bill. Also consider the exercise from moving that hose around. A bit of planning with soakers can eliminate a lot of the hassle and give you more time to enjoy your flowers.
Each plant nutrient serves a specific purpose in helping plant growth and development.
Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth of plants. A need for nitrogen may be indicated by slow growth and pale green to yellow in color. Nitrogen should be applied as split applications rather than as a single application. Split applications allow for more efficient use of the fertilizer and reduces the injury from burn. In addition, split applications reduce the leaching of nitrates that may contaminate ground water.
Sources: Alfalfa meal, blood meal, fish emulsion
Phosphorus helps plants develop good root systems, hastens maturity and promotes flowering and fruiting. Many New Mexico soils are so deficient in phosphorus that vegetative growth is affected.
Sources: bone meal, phosphates
Potassium increases the vigor and quality of the crop. Most New Mexico soils contain enough potassium.
Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are supplied from water and the air. Ten other nutrients essential for plant growth are commonly classified as secondary elements, and minor or trace elements, because they are needed in much smaller quantities. They are as essential to plant growth as the major elements.
Plants need some trace elements for photosynthesis, in which sunlight energy converts plant foods to the final carbohydrate, fat and protein products found in mature plants. Although these trace elements may be needed in only small quantities, they are essential. Iron and zinc deficiencies are the most common in New Mexico.
Iron chlorosis, a result of iron deficiency, is common on many perennial ornamentals, fruit trees, sorghums and lawns in New Mexico. The symptoms of iron deficiency are the yellowing of leaves with the veins of the leaves remaining green. The yellow usually appears first on new leaves.
Sources: iron chelates, kelp extract, kelp meal
Zinc deficiency also causes a chlorotic condition similar to that caused by iron deficiency. Other symptoms are leaf rosette, the clustering together of leaves with short internodes on the terminal end of branches. In extreme cases, the leaf margin becomes irregular and the leaf becomes boat shaped. Die-back of tree twigs is common.
Sources: zinc sulfate, zinc chelate, kelp extract, kelp meal
WHAT'S IN THE BAG
The common plant nutrients in commercial fertilizers are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). The pounds of each nutrient per 100 pounds of fertilizer are printed on the tag or on the bag in order, as nitrogen (N), phosphoric acid and potash . This is called the fertilizer formula. For instance, a label of 8-8-8 means that there are 8 pounds of elemental nitrogen (N), 8 pounds of phosphorus, and 8 pounds of potassium oxide, commonly referred to as soluble potash, per 100 pounds fertilizer material.
CHOOSING A FERTILIZER
In general, high analysis fertilizers that contain more of the major elements are also more economical than low analysis fertilizers. Solid granules are usually more economical than liquid for an equal amount of actual nutrient. The liquid fertilizer is more readily available to the plant. Foliar spray is a good way to get nitrogen into the plant rapidly but it is only a quick fix.
Decomposed yard materials and kitchen scraps add greatly to the tilth and water retention of the soil. By composting last years scraps you are recycling at least a part of the nutrients that you added the previous year. Compost is also a great place to use up old fertilizers. In the fall add composted manure. It helps keep the heat up and allows the salts to be removed before spring.
Barnyard manure is highly desirable on New Mexico soils because it increases their tilth. Manure usually does not supply enough readily available nutrients for maximum growth of short-season plantings, and almost all plants will need supplemental fertilizer applications. The plant nutrient content of manure varies widely with the kind of animal, type of feed, and treatment and storage.
The major problem with using manure is its high salt content. It is best to use composted manure. Manure may also contain weed seeds that can introduce new weeds or increase the weed infestation. When using manure in a new flower bed, dig it into the ground six weeks before planting and then water well several times each week. This leaches out the salt. Manure can also be used to side dress plants. Insure that it doesn¼t touch the stem of seedlings and young plants.
pH - Most ornamentals prefer a neutral soil pH a pH of 6.5. Many of the most desired prefer an acid soil however there are plenty of magnificent plants that grow well in our alkaline soil. Iron and zinc deficiencies become more prevalent at higher pH ranges. Alkaline soils usually have a high sodium content. Applications of sulfuric acid usually lower the pH for only a short period due to the high buffering capacity of the soils. Sulfur must then be used every year to maintain a lower pH.
Ajuga Euphorbia myrinites Coral Bells Candy Tuft Creeping Phlox Sedum Veronica rupestris Veronica pectinata (Rabbits love Iceplant)
Variegated Bishops Weed Golden Sage TriColor Sage Lamb¼s Ear Wooly Thyme Silver Edged Thyme
Campanula Native Geranium Hosta Any Salvia Pineapple Sage Mexican Sage Salvia Greggi Speedwell¼s Spicta, etc Russian Sage Yarrow Columbine Artemesia Aster Foxglove Daylily Iris Daffodils Yucca Snow-in-Summer Gaillardia Blue Flax Black Eyed Susan Silene Verbena Balloon Flower Soap wort Nasturtium Blackfoot Daisy (They love Bold Painted Daisy)
Bird of Paradise Butterfly Bush Santolina
Information gathered from interviews with Master Gardeners in Bernaillo County during the spring of 1994