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Planting and Maintenance Schedule for Trees in USDA Zone 8b

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and Southern California

Planting and Maintenance Schedule for Trees in USDA Zone 8b

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January
Prune: Prune deciduous trees such as desert willow, removing damaged and dead limbs. Prune acacia, mesquite and palo verde to remove horizontal, inward-crossing and downward-pointing branches. Also remove branches with mistletoe, cutting 1 to 2 feet below the mistletoe. Do not trim new wood on flowering or fruit- and nut-bearing plants. Do not prune evergreen or frost sensitive trees. Read recommendations on pruning for each specific plant.
Pests: Apply horticultural oil on deciduous trees this month if you have had problems with insect damage. Follow label directions carefully.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Water: Depending on rain, deep water once a month or once every two weeks for trees in the ground less than three years.
Always water just beyond the outermost tips of tree branches to encourage sideways root growth.
Plant: Pines. Put bare-root trees in the ground as soon as you get them.

February
Prune: Continue to prune deciduous trees.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Water: Depending on rain, deep water once a month or once every two weeks for trees in the ground less than three years.
Plant: Pines. Put bare-root trees in the ground as soon as you get them.

March
Spring: The first day of spring is March 20.
Temperature: Hard freezes are possible, so be prepared to protect frost tender young trees.
Prune: Continue to prune deciduous trees until buds or growth appears.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Water: Accounting for rain, deep water once a month or once every two weeks for trees in the ground less than three years.
Plant: Deciduous trees. Plant evergreens near the end of the month. Do not plant frost sensitive trees.

April
Frost: There is a one in six chance of freezing temperatures after April 15. Prune: Do no pruning this month.
Fertilize: Fertilize young trees once this month. Do not fertilize newly-planted trees until they have been in the ground at least 3 weeks and are showing new growth. Never fertilize legumes such as acacia, mesquite or palo verde.
Mulch: Check to see that there is a 2" layer of mulch around the roots of all trees to protect from summer heat and drought. Leave a gap between mulch and the trunk to avoid getting the bark overly wet, which can cause disease and invite critters to nibble the bark.
Water: Deep water every two weeks. Water long enough to soak ground to depth of 3 feet. This is a low rainfall month.
Plant: Evergreens, desert legumes and desert-adapted trees. Do not plant frost sensitive trees yet.

May
Frost: The official last day of possible freezing temperatures is May 1. Prune: frost sensitive trees.
Fertilize: If you did not fertilize last month, do so now except for legumes (see April instructions).
Water: Deep water every 7 to 10 days. This is a drought month. Water just beyond drip line of tree to a depth of 3 feet.
Pests: Use jets of water or soapy water to knock aphids and other sucking insects off of trees.
Plant: Desert-adapted and frost sensitive trees. Do not plant palms yet.

June
Summer: The start of summer is June 21. Monsoon rains begin within the next four weeks.
Fertilize: Established palms. Use a balanced, complete fertilizer.
Mulch: Check to see that there is a 2" layer of mulch around the roots of all trees to protect from summer heat and drought. Leave a gap between mulch and the trunk to avoid getting the bark overly wet, which can cause disease and invite critters to nibble the bark.
Water: Deep water every 7 to 10 days. This is a low rainfall month. Water just beyond drip line of tree to a depth of 3 feet.
Plant: Desert-adapted, native and frost sensitive trees. Plant California Fan Palms when the weather turns hot. Other palms, such as the European Fan Palm, must be avoided or planted in large containers because they need continually moist soil.

Prosopis velutina: Velvet Mesquite
Prosopis velutina: Velvet Mesquite

July
Heat:Check to see that there is a 2" layer of mulch around the roots of all trees to protect from summer heat and drought. Leave a gap between mulch and the trunk to avoid getting the bark overly wet, which can cause disease and invite critters to nibble the bark.
Prune: Prune blooming stalks on palms.
Fertilize: Fertilize palms once but do not fertilize other trees.
Water: Accounting for rain, deep water newly-planted and young trees every week. Deep water deciduous trees and established palms every other week. Established native trees may not need supplemental water but watch for signs of stress if rainfall is low. Water just beyond drip line of tree to a depth of 3 feet.
Plant: Desert-adapted, native and frost sensitive trees and California Fan Palms.

August
Heat: The heat of summer causes some plants to go dormant and stop flower and fruit production. Make sure that roots are protected from heat with mulch.
Fertilize: Fertilize palms once but do not fertilize other trees.
Water: Accounting for rain, deep water newly-planted and young trees every week. Deep water deciduous trees and established palms every other week. Established native trees may not need supplemental water but watch for signs of stress if rainfall is low. Water just beyond drip line of tree to a depth of 3 feet.
Plant: Desert-adapted and native trees and California Fan Palms.

September
Fall: The first day of fall is September 22.
Prune: Remove suckers, shape young trees, correct storm damage and thin tree crowns.
Fertilize: All trees except legumes that have been in the ground more than one year. This is the final fertilization for palm trees.
Water: Deep water once a month for established trees, twice a month for young and newly-planted trees.
Plant: Any tree that is not deciduous and not frost sensitive. Do not plant palms until June of next year.

October
Frost: The official first day of possible freezing temperatures is October 30.
Prune: Wait until January when trees are dormant.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Mulch: Check to see that there is a 2" layer of mulch around the roots of all trees to protect from summer heat and drought. Leave a gap between mulch and the trunk to avoid getting the bark overly wet, which can cause disease and invite critters to nibble the bark.
Water: Deep water twice a month for newly-planted trees and once a month for other trees.
Plant: Deciduous trees.

November
Prune: Wait until January when trees are dormant.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Water: Deep water every three or four weeks for newly-planted trees and once a month for other trees if there has been no rain.
Plant: Deciduous trees.

December
Winter: The first day of winter is December 22.
Prune: Wait until January when trees are dormant.
Fertilize: Do not fertilize.
Water: Deep water every three or four weeks for newly-planted trees and once a month for other trees if there has been no rain.
Plant: Deciduous trees.


    Tree Terminology

In the ground:

Under 1 year - Newly Planted
Less than 3 years - Young
Over 5 years - Established
Over 10 years - Mature

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