Tropical Style

Southwest Gardener's November Checklist

Comparing the American Southwest to colder, wetter regions in November is an intriguing study. While much of the nation is bundling around endure months of winter, the Southwest is embracing this welcome heating to enjoy outdoor living. No matter if you are still wearing shorts or now putting on a sweater, it is time to enjoy and refine our gardens!

The dry Southwest has been divided into three zones of overall and extreme temperatures:Low zone: The hottest areas with no winter; includes Phoenix, Arizona; Palm Springs, California; Laughlin, Nevada; and Yuma, Arizona (USDA zones 9 to 10) Middle zone: Hot with Minimal winter; includes Tucson, Arizona; warm Regions of Las Vegas, Nevada; Barstow, California; and Lajitas, Texas (USDA zones 8 to 9a)High zone: Moderately hot using brief, definite winters; includes El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Payson, Arizona; Bishop, California; and Saint George, Utah (USDA zones 6b to 8a)

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Fall planting by area. The next can be planted in November in each Southwestern zone.

Low zone: End planting more frost-sensitive plants like bougainvillea, citrus and ficus before Thanksgiving.

Overseed warm-season lawns with annual or winter ryegrass early in November.

Wait until spring to plant all but the hardiest palms, like desert fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) or Mexican blue hands (Brahea armata). Installation of typically hardy native and adapted plants is fine all month.

Medium zone: Start thinking about producing the curative feel of a hotel on your own property; there is still time to create finishing touches and establish any plantings to create that for your winter visitors. Plant cold-hardy palms now, plus any native and adapted plants, including wildflowers, herbs and cool-season vegetables. This includes fan palm (Washingtonia) and Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion quadrangulatum).

High Ranking: November is an optimum time to plant spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Proceed to plant hardier woody plants and succulents like three-leaf sumac (Rhus trilobata) or Texas sotol (Dasylirion texanum), though most cacti and tender plants should wait until spring. Take a cue from what you are now able to see many landscape contractors installing — and not installing.

Shown: Three-leaf sumac (Rhus trilobata)

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Learn to discern. Spend time studying what’s on your property. To begin with, observe which plants are not in their space, which ones are, and which may be, even in case their potential was accomplished.

Elimination of youthful volunteer plants, often smaller than a thumb, may mean no spring wildflower show. Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata) is often sprayed or pulled from regions it might really benefit, like expanses of gravel or dirt without plants. Rather, envision a carpet of gold wildflowers in the spring there. But if it is a weed that can remove from looks and other plants’ soil moisture, then remove it.

Also, spend some time familiarizing yourself with almost any landscape lighting, irrigation or water features, and what should be done in order to prepare them for the winter.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Winter preparation. Ensure plantings have optimal moisture in their root zones, dependent on the species. Going into winter plants other than cacti are not as likely to be damaged during severe cold periods if they are properly irrigated. Keep light to medium moisture in their root zones and plant tissues.

After scrutinizing all irrigation systems for proper functioning, top off any thin regions of mulch with the proper thickness, according to mulch type.
2 inches is more sufficient for inorganic mulches, such as decomposed granite and other gravel. 3 inches is sufficient for organic mulches in more lush plantings, such as shredded wood and pecan shells. In many cases, inorganic mulches wash into other regions with time. If you spot areas where the compost thickness is over 2 inches, balance and move to cover thinner regions.

Atomic Irrigation

Watch that water. Winter is when overwatering often causes harm to arid-region plantings. If your place is getting near or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point, the best practice would be to correct timing: Don’t begin mowing until the temperature tends to be above 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clearly, always find ways to get the most results from less water. While I hear land owners ecstatic over how they are irrigating only three times a week, and their landscape isn’t new, I’m concerned they are overwatering.

If that frequency of watering is noticed in late autumn, I’m even more concerned. Water is too valuable in the desert for that, and no one should want to spend money on something which often has broad ranging, negative outcomes.


See the views. Despite shorter times, our often spectacular day and dawn sky yearns to be viewed and flaunted. Look for places where you could spend some time appreciating those times daily, which are when a lot of us are awake, moving to and from work or with guests over for the dining.

Carefully placed structural plants, walls or display features can enhance a brilliant sunset or mountain vista.

Stay warm. Fire pits, outdoor fireplaces and heat lamps are obvious ways to stay warm in the winter, extending time enjoying outdoor living.

Another means to consider keeping heat in the months ahead would be to utilize only deciduous trees around southwest – and – west-facing walls, which will better absorb extra warmth from the sun when cool, but filter the sun from the same surfaces during warmer months.

Also contemplate areas on your property where you would like to dine and in exactly what time of day — obstructing chilly winds and consuming sun are paramount to winter al-fresco dining.

More: Guides to your Southwest garden

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