Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

Growing Green Grass in Phoenix

So if you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I despise Bermuda Grass…and how I’ve rejoiced in my success at killing it off!

But I have a husband who insisted on keeping SOME grass, so I kept these two squares of turf in our backyard.  Turf’s not always a bad thing, especially if you have kids or pets (or turf-loving spouses)!

So I figure if we’re going to have grass, we might as well do it up right…and I finally learned how!  Starting about April 15, and on the 15th of every month through September, I fertilize with a good blend and cover it with compost. The compost keeps the fertilizer from burning the grass.  Then I water as scheduled.

We can now walk barefoot on our grass!  Yes, we mow and trim more often (and, you may be cringing right now, but those weed whackers can really do a  number on trees and plants, so I hand trim everything!) so I can’t imagine doing this for our entire yard.  But once it’s done in September, you can just let it go dormant until the spring!

By the way, I use SmartBlend 21-7-14 from Fertizona.  It’s a balanced blend that delivers a good dose of nitrogen and smaller amounts of potassium and phosphorous.  And Ferizona is a family-owned business from Casa Grande, so they really know our challenging soils.  I get my fertilizer from Baker’s Nursery on 40th St & Osborn.  They can also help if you’re trying to address specific turf problems.


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Growing Up: How to Fertilize Potted Plants

Keep Potted Plants FertilizedUsing native plants in your Phoenix landscape means that you can almost always go without fertilizer.  If the plant already grows in our desert soil, there’s nothing to amend.

But potted plants are a different story.  Plants in containers don’t get the nutrients that are readily available in the soil, so you must fertilize.  How much and how often depends on the plant and the type of fertilizer you use.

I happen to like Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food because it’s easy to use.  Just add a scoopful to your watering can, fill with water, and fertilize away.  This works for most plants.  But if you’re fertilizing cacti or agaves, use about 1/3 of a scoop…or look for specific cacti/agave fertilizers.

HOT TIP! Miracle-Gro has a really handy garden sprayer that attaches to your hose if you’ve got lots of potted plants to fertilize.

Water-soluble fertilizers don’t last as long as fertilizer crystals or pellets, so you should fertilize about once a month (or more during the growing season).

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  Are you putting that plant in your mouth?  What I mean is…is it an herb, fruit, or vegetable?  If so, you’ll want to stay away from chemical fertilizers and stick to an organic one.  For safety’s sake…