How Does Your Garden Grow?

Louise Grabell

Trees are beautiful additions to any landscape! They provide privacy and protection from the summer heat. Fall is a great time to plant a tree. The temperatures are cooler, both day and night, and the soil is still moist from the summer monsoon rains. Besides, it’s so much easier to dig that hole when it’s cool outside! So if you’ve been thinking about adding a tree to your landscape, or replacing one that you’ve lost, head on down to the garden center of your choice and bring home your new friend.

When selecting a tree, remember to stick with native types (mesquite, Palo Verde, acacia) because they have the best chance of survival and have the lowest water requirements. Also remember that 15 gallon specimen you buy today will quickly become a large adult specimen tomorrow. Make sure you know the mature size of your new tree and plant it sufficiently away from your house and your neighbor’s house as well. Don’t set yourself up for aggravation by not researching for the proper tree in the proper place. And don’t set yourself up for perpetual pruning, either! The tree you select should be allowed to grow to its natural size and shape.

Prepare the hole for the tree by digging it as deep as the container the tree is in, and about two times the diameter of the container. When placing the new tree in the hole, loosen the roots a bit and back-fill the hole with the soil you just dug out. If you put some fancy top soil in the hole, the roots will like it so much that they will NOT grow out into the surrounding soil and your tree will never get properly anchored. The first wind storm will take it down. Properly stake your new tree by loosely surrounding the trunk with protected wire from the stakes (at least two) and plan on removing the stakes after one year. Irrigation should drip water at the edge of the canopy of the tree and be moved outward as the tree grows larger. For native varieties, irrigation can eventually be removed once the young tree is established (one to two years).

The first Community Lecture for this season is on Thursday, October 20 in the East Ballroom of the MountainView Clubhouse. The lecturer is Dr. Tanya Quist, University of Arizona School of Plant Science. The title of this presentation is Taming the Shrubbery and will feature guidelines for pruning small woody plants. The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke invite you to visit their website: for all up-to-date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem. Your SaddleBrooke Master Gardener Volunteers are here all year-round to assist with any plant or landscaping problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.