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Arizona Plants

Close-up of a pomegranate tree

Almond Trees in Arizona

Almond trees are native to Southwest Asia. Four almond varieties grow in home gardens and commercially in Arizona. Almond trees grow very well in USDA zone 13, which are the subtropical and low-desert areas in Arizona. Winters are short with an average temperature of 36 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal chilling temperature for almonds. Cities included in zone 13 are Phoenix and Yuma.

All-in-One

The all-in-one almond is a semi-dwarfing almond tree that matures in zone 13 in August. The fruit is medium to large in size and has a soft shell with sweet kernels. The tree grows to 15 feet tall and needs 500 chill hours a year. The all-in-one almond tree is self-fruitful and does not require pollination from another almond variety. All-in-one almond trees are not suitable for Salt River Valley because there are not enough chilling hours. Salt River Valley only receives between 300 to 400 chill hours a year.

Garden Prince

This compact 10- to 12-foot tree is a genetic dwarf variety. Garden Prince requires 250 chill hours a year, and fruit matures in zone 13 in late August. Fruit has sweet kernels and soft shells. The variety is self-pollinating and does not require pollination from a different variety.

Ne Plus Ultra

Ne Plus Ultra requires 250 chill hours a year to bud, blossom and produce fruit in August if planted in zone 13. The almond has a flat kernel with a soft shell. Ne Plus Ultra requires pollination from another almond variety. The best pollinator is the Nonpareil. Ne Plus Ultra almonds are good for commercial and home gardens because the fruit is early blooming.

Nonpareil

The nonpareil almond requires pollination from any variety of almond trees. Chill hour requirements for the nonpareil are 400 hours. The almond tree is inter-fruitful with the Ne Plus and All-in-One almond trees. Nonpareils are ripened in August in zone 13. Nonpareil almonds grow well in the home garden.

How to Grow Pomegranates in Arizona

Select a sunny spot to plant your pomegranate tree. Purdue University notes that these trees grow well in either alkaline or acidic soil, so Arizona's naturally alkaline soil is fine for this tree. While gardeners can plant dwarf varieties in containers, true pomegranates grow 20 to 30 feet tall, so choose a site that offers enough space.

Dig a hole where you plan to plant the pomegranate, using your shovel. Make the hole twice as large as the plastic container holding your pomegranate tree.

Remove the tree from the plastic container. Massage the root ball with your hands to break apart the root ball. Separate any tangled roots. Then place the tree in the hole at the same depth as it was planted in the container. Spread the roots out in the soil with your fingers.

Fill the hole with soil without packing it down. Water the site thoroughly until the soil compacts around the base of your pomegranate tree and is saturated with water.

Continue to water the tree when the soil becomes dry until the ground is sodden.

Apply 2 pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer to developing trees in November and March, according to Arizona Cooperative Extension. This nutrient boost helps improve plant growth and fruit quality. According to Arizona Cooperative Extension, mature trees need twice this amount of fertilizer on the same schedule.

Types of Soil in Arizona

Sand

Sands of the desert.

Sand is a type of soil in Arizona that is excellent at draining. Its course texture provides for quick absorption of rain and flood water ensuring that the water will not stand for long periods of time. Sand is also low in nutrients essential for most non-native plants. If gardening in an area with sandy soil, consider supplementing with mulch or peat moss to give the plants a source of nutrients.

Silt

Silt in a dry river bed.

Silt is a soil type that is extremely rich in nutrients. Silt exists in areas where rivers used to flow but have since dried up. Silt is a very fine soil, that can be poor draining and cause standing water. In most cases, however, silt soil is found mixed in with sand, causing an ideal blend for gardening.

Clay

Native Americans use clay for making pots.

Clay is a rock hard, nutrient-absent soil that is very common in urban areas. Clay does not drain well when it has dried out for long periods of time and must be softened with consistent watering. Clay is an excellent soil for ground cover such as turf because it provides solid ground for the plant's roots.

Can Coconut Palm Trees Grow in Arizona?

Arizona's winter temperatures are unsuitable for coconut palms.

Arizona lies in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10a, with winter lows ranging from -20 degrees to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is hardy in zones 10b and 11, with winter lows of 35 and higher. Arizona's winters are too cold for this palm.

How to Plant Grass in Arizona

Measure the area’s square footage to determine how much grass will be needed; seed packaging also will provide help in determining the proper amount.

Till the planting area with a sturdy rake about 3 inches into the soil. Remove dirt clods, broken roots, rocks and weeds.

Seed the lawn in early spring. Distribute the grass seed evenly over the planting area. Start on one side of the lawn and generously layer the seed horizontally. Repeat this step in a vertical pattern. Rake a light layer of soil over the new seed.

Water the area immediately after planting with an irrigation or sprinkler system for about 10 minutes.

Cover the seed with protection, such as a 2-inch layer of peat moss or straw to help retain moisture and protect from foraging birds or animals.

Water the lawn two to three times a day until the seeds germinate, which should be about one month.

How to Grow Citrus Trees in Arizona

Dig a hole for planting the tree, making it just deep enough to fit the root ball and three or four times wider. Maintain the original soil line as the tree's container.

Toss away any rocks from the removed soil, which will be used to refill the hole when planting the tree.

Gently remove the citrus tree from its container. Some soil will fall away.

Set the tree in the center of the hole and backfill the hole with the soil you removed, holding the tree in place.

Water thoroughly, but do not fertilize until after the first year.

Create a water basin around the tree for irrigation and apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch on the root area.

Paint the tree trunk with white, water-based latex pain to prevent sun damage.

How to Paint a White Trunk for a Citrus Tree in Arizona

Mix together 1 part white latex paint and one part water in a bucket.

Paint the whitewash over the effected area of the tree's trunk, and the stubs where branches were cut away.

Inspect the tree to ensure the exposed area is covered. Inspect again during the time of day when that part of the tree is exposed to direct sunlight. Cover any areas that you missed.

How to Grow Vegetables in Arizona

Amend the soil by tilling in a mixture of sphagnum moss, compost and fish emulsion. The ideal blend is 20 pounds of sphagnum moss, 20 pounds of compost and 30 pounds of fish emulsion for every 1,000 square feet of ground.

Select vegetables that will succeed in Arizona's climate. The growing season for vegetables in most of Arizona is the wintertime, with planting in fall and harvesting in spring. The best vegetables for Arizona include broccoli, peppers, eggplant and spinach. Herbs such as dill and rosemary thrive in partial shade.

Organize irrigation systems that ensure consistent watering. Plant vegetables in small wells for quality deep watering.

Care of Blanket Flower in the Arizona Sun

Water the blanket plant often enough to keep the soil moist.

Support the blanket plant by securing the stems to garden stakes when the plant grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet.

Clip spent or dead flowers from the blanket plant using garden shears or pruners.

Fertilize the blanket plant in early spring, before the growing season, by working into the soil one or two garden trowels of well-rotted manure around the plant base.

How to Plant Peach Trees in Arizona

Determine the location for planting the tree. Ideal locations would provide afternoon shade and be an area free of grass so that the tree's roots are not competing for nutrients.

Dig a whole that is at least twice the size of the tree's root ball. The hole should be at least 2 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep.

Till the soil and create a mix of half compost and half soil. Mix the new soil completely to provide the roots with plenty of nutrients for the first year's growth and development.

Plant the tree so that the graft line is just above the soil's surface. The graft line will look like a woody knot toward the bottom of the bare root.

Fill in the hole with the composted soil leaving a 2-inch recessed area. This area becomes the tree well that will enable deep watering.