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Fri, July 19

Get advice on choosing plants at Monsoon Madness sale this weekend
Experts say native plants grow best in the area

Paul Epoch, manager at Prescott Valley Nursery, points out some plants native to Arizona. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Paul Epoch, manager at Prescott Valley Nursery, points out some plants native to Arizona. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

If you are looking to put a few plants in your yard, experts say you might want to take a few things into consideration first.

“It gets hot and it gets cold here,” said Jeff Schalau, county extension director and area agent for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. “They have to be able to withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees and temperatures as low as potentially 5 degrees … for the snow, you grow plants that can handle that. All of our native plants can, because they have grown here for a long time.”

Residents also need to look at the soil and identify its limitations, Schalau said. It is not easy to grow in clay soil compared to other soils around the county, he said. Clay soils are dense and compacted with poor drainage, staying soggy when wet and hard when dry during the summer, which doesn’t allow for the necessary air, water and nutrients to move to the plant.

The easiest plants for people to grow in the area are cacti and succulents because they are pretty forgiving, Schalau said.

Master Gardener Mary Barnes also said that low-water plants are encouraged because of how little moisture they need.

“We live in the desert,” Barnes said. “Anything that takes a lot of water or a lot of moisture probably won’t be as successful because most people are not applying that much water in their yard, and because we’re a desert climate, things dry out a little bit faster. There’s just not enough humidity in the air.”

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A Pow Wow Wild Berry Coneflower, found at Prescott Valley Nursery. The perennial blooms in the summer and requires medium watering. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

A lot of plants are not necessarily native to Arizona but have naturalized in the area such as gaillardias or chocolate flowers, she said. Despite the high desert location, there still are a lot of colorful perennials that can make yards look nice without taking a lot of effort, Barnes said. Perennials are a better option for people who want to get the biggest bang for their buck because the plants come back every year, she said.

Barnes and other master gardeners will be at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Drive, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, for the annual Monsoon Madness Plant and Yard Sale. It will have a lot of plants, mostly grown by master gardeners, as well as plenty of other related items, Barnes said.

“We also have a section of what we call yard stuff, which is anything garden related,” she said. “Pots, hoses, plant stands, anything that master gardeners have that they’ve cleaned out of their sheds.”

The event is a one-stop shop for gardening needs no matter the gardener’s skill level. An information table will be available to allow residents to ask questions about their yard, Barnes said.

A common question people tend to ask is how to water the plants they have bought at the sale, she said. Others will describe an area of their yard to find out what types of plants will do well there, Barnes said.

People who are having yard problems also can bring a plant or insect problem to the information table, she said. If the question can’t be answered then and there, the master gardeners will take a sample and get back with an answer after some research, Barnes said.

Right now is a good time to purchase plants, especially with the monsoon rains on their way, she said.

“That helps with the irrigation,” Barnes said.

For more information about the Monsoon Madness Plant and Yard Sale, call Barnes at 928-445-6590 ext. 237 or email her at barnesm@email.arizona.edu.

The Monsoon Madness Plant and Yard Sale is cash only.

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