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Desert Gardening: Savvy Advice for Desert Gardeners

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Timely advice on rabbit proofing, dealing with bugs, and planting trees and shrubs


Rabbit Proofing
Fend off hungry rabbits by choosing plants with strong herbal scents that rabbits dislike. Consider sages (Salvia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and damiantia daisy (Chrysactina mexicana). Spread some white clover in the lawn—rabbits will favor that instead of your prized plants. You can also use spray repellents or fencing such as chicken wire.

What’s Bugging You?
Aphids, spittlebugs, and spider mites often become a problem during hot, dry, windy weather -- the sort we often get during the late spring in the Southwest. To control, blast them off with a strong jet of water. You may need to do this every day for a couple of weeks (especially for spider mites). It they persist, try spraying with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Neem oil is derived from the neem tree, and it is a miticide, insecticide, and fungicide. Insecticidal soap works best on soft-bodied insects.

Plant Right
For native and desert-adapted trees and shrubs, plant them directly in the native soil. They fare better without special soil amendments. To plant, dig a hole only as deep as the pot your tree was grown in, but make the width of the hole 3 to 5 times the diameter of the pot. Rough up the sides of the hole with your shovel. Remove your tree from the pot, taking care to disturb the roots as little as possible.

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