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Q. When is the best time to fertilize citrus trees?

A. Three times a year feeding cycle: Feb./ Mar., May/June, Sept./Oct., or early spring, early summer, and early fall. For best results use a citrus fertilizer formulated for Arizona high in sulfur and iron with a ratio of 16-8-2.

Q. What should I feed my lawn with and when?

A. It is recommended to use a 3-1-2 ratio, 21-7-14 lawn fertilizer. Begin fertilizing after the spring transition when the Bermuda comes out of dormancy. Continue every 4-6 weeks throughout summer.

Q. When is the best time prune trees and shrubs?

A. Early spring and early fall prior to the growing season. Deciduous trees and shrubs, plants that go dormant and drop all their foliage, prefer pruning after the plant has defoliated.

Q. How often do I water my lawn and what time of day?

A. If you use a sprinkler system, the recommended watering in summer is for the lawn to receive 1 inch of water, 2 to 3 times per week with the water penetrating 8 to 10 inches. Using tuna cans you can determine if 1 inch of water was used and for how long. Check depth by using a screwdriver. Early morning is the best time to water.

Q. Why is my plant turning yellow?

A. Yellow leaves can indicate a number of things. In many cases it may be iron deficient. Iron chlorosis is when there is a lack of iron in the soil causing the leaves to turn yellow having green veins. Some plants need more iron in their diet than others, such as citrus or hibiscus just to name a few. Supplement regular fertilizing with chelated iron 4 to 6 times a year.

Q. Why are the leaves of my citrus tree deformed and fruit is scarred?

A. Throughout the growing seasons there is an insect called a thrip. They feed on the new growth of young citrus leaves and stems. By the time the leaf has matured the damage is done and the thrip is gone. Only aesthetic, cosmetic damage is caused and generally does not effect fruit-production. There are different controls used for thrips. Speak with your neighborhood Nursery Professional for the best recommendations.

Q. I’ve been noticing perfectly round circles or half moons taken out of my bougainvillea and rose leaves. What is causing this?

A. Believe it or not, this is caused by a beneficial insect called a Leafcutter Bee. Used for nesting, the Leafcutter is only attracted to certain foliage and in the blink of an eye they remove a small section of the leaf. It only causes aesthetic, cosmetic damage. No management is recommended.

Q. What can I do about poor drainage?

A. Checking for drainage may be one of the most important steps prior to planting. Fill your hole with water. If there is standing water throughout the day or until tomorrow, which is common, than you have an issue. It is recommended to dig deeper to break through the crust of clay or caliche below the surface of the soil. Repeat the water treatment to see if there is improvement in drainage. When planting, use Gypsum to help reduce salt and caliche. By adding Gypsum throughout the year will encourage better drainage.

Q. What time of day should I water?

A. It is recommended to water in the early morning. By watering deeply in the morning allows the plants to stay hydrated throughout the day or days until the next scheduled watering time. It is not recommended to water during the heat of the day because you can lose 20-30% of the water due to evaporation.

Q. Do I need to prepare the soil for Bermuda seed or sod?

A. Yes. By not preparing the ground properly the result is usually poor drainage and an unhealthy lawn. By taking the time to prepare the soil will provide easier maintenance, better root development and growth, and more receptive fertilization. Till or cultivate the soil 10 to 12 inches, adding composted mulch and gypsum. Quantities will differ based the size of the space. For more information, speak with your local Nursery Professional.

Q. Does Bermuda grass grow in the shade?

A. Not very well. Bermuda grass tends to be thin and sparse in those areas where shade is introduced. Options are limited. Either change the design of the grass, meeting the requirements of the sun, or try planting shade tolerant fescue or dichondra.

Q. Why is my queen palm yellow?

A. Queen palms have specific nutrient requirements. For best results follow a consistent, feeding schedule using a Palm Tree Fertilizer formulating for Arizona with a ratio of 10-5-10. For greener, healthier palms provide regular supplements of Manganese Sulfate.

Q. What can I use to control weeds?

A. Weeds can be difficult to control. There are a number of factors involved to consider: watering practices, drip vs. flood irrigation, rain, wind, animals and birds. An efficient way to control weeds is to use a pre-emergent 2 to 3 times a year. A pre-emergent stops any weed seeds from germinating thus eliminating a high percentage of weeds.

Q. The crown of my queen palm is weak, could this be fungus?

A. Queen palms can get crown rot. This generally occurs during the humid, monsoon months, also brought on by over-watering. Symptoms such as a weak, collapsing crown, or rotting odor from the crown can be controlled using Copper Bordeaux. Always follow instructions for product use.

Q. There is a perfectly round hole in my citrus fruit. What causes that, a worm?

A. That hole is created by birds. They make a small entrance hole to suck out the sweet juice of the citrus fruit. Difficult to control. Try bird netting or hang bird scarce tape.

Q. What is that white cotton fungus looking stuff on my prickly pear cactus?

A. That is not a fungus at all, it’s an insect called Cochineal Scale. The white cotton is a protective coating on top of the scale. To control, jet spray with water to clean off the pads of the cactus. For stronger control, speak with a Nursery Professional.

Q. What are those green, small insects on my roses?

A. Found in the warmer spring and fall months, aphids are small insects that cluster on the stems and buds of roses and other plants. There are a number of aphid species and colors. They leave a sticky, shiny residue on the plant and can cause severe damage in some cases. It can be challenging to control the vast amounts of aphids during these months. Beneficial biological controls such as Ladybugs or Praying Mantis is a popular choice.

Q. My leaves on my grapes are being eaten and look like a skeleton. What is this?

A. This is called Grape Leaf Skelotonizers. In spring, a moth lays eggs on the leaves. The eggs hatch, become larvae, and eventually caterpillars. If left untreated all the foliage could be devoured. Spray with Bacillus thuringiensus (Bt).