Local and Timely High Desert Gardening Tips

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August 15th thru August 31st, 2018

Moana Nursery Teammates say, "For successful high desert gardening, NOW is the time to ..........."

Pest Alert & Yellowing Leaves & Pine Needles

Whiteflies have been reported on roses and other plants; be on the lookout for aphids.  To control, start with lady bugs (they eat aphids & whiteflies) and a hose (to spray off aphids).

Around town, and perhaps even in your own yard, yellow leaves may be starting to show up on trees. Although this is not necessarily a sign of a watering issue, take a look and make certain that watering is appropriate throughout your landscape. Remember to adjust emitters and to water established plants deeply and infrequently. Inspect for pests; early aphid damage and ongoing spider mite issues may cause premature yellowing of leaves. In many cases, yellowing leaves may just be normal turnover of foliage and a reaction to the stresses of our climate. If outer leaves are healthy and green, your plants are likely just fine. Our plant doctors and knowledgeable sales staff are available to help if you would like to visit with samples and pictures.

It is common for pines to shed needles annually. As long as the needles are on the inside of the branch (close to the trunk) instead of at the tip of the branch, there is nothing to worry about. If needles are browning and dropping at the tip of branches, there is a problem; in this instance, bring a branch in to one of our plant doctors for a diagnosis.

General Garden & Lawn Care:

  • Get started on your landscape design for a fall installation – the best time to plant.
  • Fertilize lawn now with sustained release G&B Organics Lawn Fertilizer.
  • Install a new lawn or repair bare spots later in August.
  • Green up your tired lawn with an application of Bonide Liquid Iron.
  • Annual white grub damage will begin to show up as browned-out areas of turf that pull back easily – like a carpet.  Pull back turf and count grubs (white C-shaped larvae with black heads); 10-12 per square foot require treatment.  Use Bonide Annual Grub Beater according to the label.
  • Check all plants weekly to be sure they are getting adequate water; established trees, shrubs, perennials & roses require 1 inch of water per week throughout their root zones.  Water newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials 3-4 times per week.
  • Inspect irrigation system regularly for leaks, clogged emitters, broken/clogged head and other problems.  Remember to adjust emitters out from the trunk or base of your plants as they grow. Adjust watering cycles on your irrigation clock as temperatures cool.
  • When adding more water, increase your run times.  Avoid adding more days or start times.  Early morning is always the best time to water.  Night time watering can cause fungus on grass.
  • Control insect pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scale, spider mites, thrips, whitefly and others with lady bugs or use Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, an organic insecticide for chewing insects and Bonide Insecticidal Soap for sucking insects safely and quickly.  Or ask us for best controls on significant infestations.
  • Continue to cultivate and weed. 

Tree and Shrub Care:

  • Watch closely for signs of scorch on tender new foliage – the margins of leaves turn brown and crispy – indicating lack of water and/or exposure to hot drying winds.
  • Monitor newly planted trees and shrubs for insects or disease.  Succulent new growth is often the first area to be attacked by insects.
  • Pruning is generally not advised this month, with the exception of shrubs that have just flowered; prune immediately following their flowering.
  • Continue to deadhead roses by cutting flowers back to the first set of five leaflets; do not feed.
  • Continue checking shrubs and trees for spider mites; hose off affected plants daily and, if necessary, treat with Mite X. Use according to the label.
  • Avoid fertilizing with water soluble, fast acting fertilizer after September 1st.
  • Plant burning bush, grow-lo sumac and flame maples now for fall color.

Perennial & Annual Care:

  • Perk up your flower beds and containers with late summer blooming perennials.
  • Allow dried flowerheads of astilbe, coneflower and globe thistle to remain standing for fall and winter interest as well as to attract birds.
  • Remove yellowing daylily foliage or leaves that are browned and spotted.  Green leaves must remain on the plant to continue to manufacture food.  Deadhead individual flowers to keep plants looking tidy.
  • Continue deadheading annuals and perennials to encourage more flowering. 
  • Get the most out of your potted annuals by feeding them G&B Organics Rose & Flower, G&B Organics Bud & Bloom or G&B Organics High Bloome Liquid Fertilizer.  Avoid applying in the heat of the day.  Always water plants before adding liquid fertilizer.
  • Continue planting new perennials, ornamental grasses & roses.
  • Prune and deadhead roses to enhance fall color. 
  • Plant cool season annuals: violas, pansies and ornamental cabbage & kale for fall color.

Herb, Fruit & Vegetable Care:

  • Use codling moth traps in apple trees to monitor their activity and spray with Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew when they are active.
  • Deep water apple trees for maximum fruit production.  Remove fruit infested with codling moths from tree and pick up any that has dropped on the ground promptly and discard in trash to reduce coddling moth population
  • Keep vegetables picked so the plants will keep producing.
  • Keep records of harvest dates to help plan next year’s garden.
  • Monitor vegetables for symptoms of fungus or blight: soft, darkened areas, yellow and dropping leaves, sunken dark spots on otherwise green foliage.  Apply Bonide Tomato & Vegetable 3 in 1.  Monitor all plants for insects.  Hand-remove large insects such as tomato hornworms, squash bugs, grasshoppers and other caterpillars and apply Bonide Eight Garden Dust.
  • Continue to harvest herbs to use fresh, dry, or freeze in small batches in ice cube tray.  Pinch off developing flowers to retain essential oils and flavor in the plant’s foliage.
  • Continue fertilizing vegetables through the growing season – every 2 to 4 weeks with G&B Organics High Bloome liquid fertilizer or every 2 months with G&B Organics Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer.
  • Bonide Tomato & Vegetable 3 in 1 may be used as an insecticide, fungicide & miticide up to the day of harvest.


  • Rufous hummingbirds have arrived and will stay until fall, so keep feeders full of fresh sugar water until then.  Be sure to change every 2-3 days to avoid spoilage -- more frequently if in full sun all day.  For great family entertainment, consider adding a few extra feeders – one on a window for close up birdwatching and another in a different part of your yard that is a good viewing spot.  Because Rufous are so feisty and territorial, be sure that no feeder is in the sightline of the others.
  • Many birds continue their main molt (replacement of their feathers) which requires extra protein to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation. For the next few months, offer high-protein bird foods, such as nyjer, peanuts, Jim's Birdacious Bark Butter® and mealworms, to ensure that your birds have a reliable source of protein to help them with molting.
  • Add a mister to your birdbath to attract birds – especially hummingbirds.
  • Continue offering WBU No Melt Suet to warblers, nuthatches, wrens & woodpeckers.
  • Continue to supply fresh water and change it every 3 days to keep it clean.  To prevent the chance of disease, clean birdbath weekly with a weak bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) and rinse well.
  • Store bird food in a sealed container and keep in a cool dry place to prevent spoilage.
  • To ensure that bird seed is eaten quickly and stays fresh, keep feeders filled with a one or two day supply of seed.  This makes your birdfeeding less wasteful and more economical.
  • Install a customized Wild Birds Unlimited bird feeding station where you can easily watch the birds it attracts.  It can be installed in the ground or on a deck.

Did you know that we can do the following for you? (call 825-0602 x134 for more info.)

  • Indoor Plant Services offers clean-air plants, design,   installation, maintenance & more.
  • Plant rental service          
  • Seasonal container & bedding service                                            
  • Custom Container drop-off & pick up                                                             
  • Irrigation System Repair & Tune-up                            
  • Bulk Material Installation/Spreading with ‘Slinger Truck’ - Call: Moana Rock  (775) 691-1220
  • Create a backyard bird habitat; have a healthier landscape this year. Make an appointment for an at-your site consultation; call our Plant Doctors:  

Moana Lane: Jon Bruyn at 825-0602 x118 or jonb@moananursery.com

Moana Lane: Lisa Braginton at 825-0602 x104 or lisab@moananursery.com

S. Virginia St.: Steve Packer at 853-1319 x225 or stevep@moananursery.com

 Pyramid Way: Michelle Gilmore at 425-4300 x303 or michelleg@moananursery.com

Official Planting Guide from Moana Nursery

Moana Nursery's High Desert Vegetable Calendar

Helpful Video Showing How To Turn Your Irrigation/Sprinkler System On & Off - - View by clicking this link to Moana's You Tube Video.

Click on this link for ... Helpful Landscape Articles Written By Our Professionals For Do-It-Yourselfers.