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May 31

June in your desert garden

Posted on May 31, 2023 at 8:05 AM by Jesse Ruiz

Climate Change_Photo of ThermometerGet ready for the arrival of daily hot, dry weather in June. Your garden can look its best by tending to chores and maintaining a regular irrigation schedule.


  • You can prune oleanders, lantana, bougainvillea, and hibiscus.
  • Avoid pruning citrus foliage in the summer to prevent sunburn on the trunk and primary branches.
  • Do not top trees. Remove only dead and crossing branches.
  • Lightly thin excess interior growth of mesquites.
  • To keep roots cool and slow moisture evaporation, add a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch to roses, shrubs, and young trees.


  • Irrigation is important as temperatures top three digits daily.
  • Water deeply, but infrequently. Use a soil probe or a long screwdriver to check water penetration depth. They will move easily in wet soil but will not move much when they hit dry soil.
  • Soil should be damp down to 1½ feet for vegetables and 2 to 3 feet deep for trees.
  • To deter root rot, allow soil to dry out between watering.


  • If citrus trees show an iron deficiency (young leaves looking yellowish), apply chelated iron.
  • If your plants need fertilizer in the summer, wet the soil the day before and immediately after you apply the fertilizer. That way, the fertilizer will be more diluted and will not damage the roots.


Palms are a safe choice to plant or transplant in June.  Plant or move as early as possible in the month so they will have time to recover with good growth, responding to sunshine and deep irrigation.

  • Dig a planting hole twice as wide and just as deep as the existing root ball.
  • With twine, tie fronds up over the bud for protection. As new growth shows, snip the twine.
  • You can apply a root stimulator to the soil after planting to encourage fast rooting.

Have a question?

Ask the UC Master Gardener of Riverside County Helpline. Volunteer Master Gardeners run the free service year-round. Email your questions to

For more help

“Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley” lists more than 300 plants and more than 800 photos. You can search by several dozen categories. Pick up a free copy at CVWD customer service offices, 75525 Hovley Lane East, Palm Desert, or 50501 Tyler St., Coachella. You can see a PDF of the book here.


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