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Moving from Midwest to AZ = Zone Clueless

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Jul 12, 2013, 05:45 PM
Moving from Midwest to AZ = Zone Clueless
I know what will Survive in My Zone and I have know idea where to start for Southwest Landscaping. We are planning on putting in a small pool and need a small grassy area for our small dog. I would Love to have a few fruit trees and a raised veggie garden. I would like to find out about the Fake Grass I've seen on "Yard Crashers"...can it be a option for the dog? I'm looking for suggestions on the Best Resources for this unknown Zone! I do like the xeriscape look!
Jul 13, 2013, 12:05 AM
Try Googling US climate zones first to determine the area of AZ in which you'll be living, then Google that zone number and "native plants" to find ones that are compatible with the climate of that area. Universities typically have agricultural departments which list native plants, so you might try websites for any universities near your new home.

You can also search for grass varieties that are tolerant for that AZ zone.

Square foot gardening is something you might want to try for a raised vegetable garden, especially if your new home has poor soil. Same with xeriscaping. There's a lot of info to be found just by searching on these topics.

I know little about artificial turf, but you can get info on that subject by searching for it as well.

Have a safe move and enjoy your new AZ home.
Jul 13, 2013, 01:08 PM
Thank you for all of the Suggestions...I Really Appreciate it.
Jul 13, 2013, 03:30 PM
Rooster, you're quite welcome.

You can find more specific information on various topics at Fine Gardening, one of my favorite gardening magazines.

It's in the Taunton series of fine gardening, woodworking and cooking. There's a sewing magazine, Threads something or other I think It's a bit more sophisticated than the average gardening magazines which often repeat the same thing over and over again and are more coffee table magazines than scientific ones.

FG also publishes annual specials on container gardening, yard design, and other topics. These are superb for various landscaping ideas.

Sometimes Lowes carries area specials published by Sunset; these are also helpful for specific climate zones.

There are also some area specific gardening forums, such as this one:

I'm sure there are other AZ or SW garden forums. If you run across a poster with a screen name of Kimmsr, read his posts. He has some kind of agricultural background and provides precise information that's a blend of practical gardening and scientific info.

When you get to AZ, you might also check with your local and adjacent communities which typically have various noncredit continuing ed classes. Although it's too late for summer classes, there might be some in fall and/or winter that address your interests. Since xeriscaping and desert gardening are very specific subcategories, this might be a good source for local information.

And there are typically various garden clubs throughout communities for like-minded folks to share their interests. They could provide social opportunities as well.

Lastly, check local arboretums, botanical gardens, etc., for garden shows. You can collect a lot of information (and be tantalized by garden displays) at these. A succulent garden was featured on an episode of Victory Garden. I don't recall which of these episodes it was. Victory Gardens episodes are repeated over and over in my area. I don't know though which AZ stations might carry this program.

I was thinking over the issue of a grass run for your dog. Depending both on (1) where you go in AZ, (2) local watering restrictions, and (3) local rainfall, this might be a better alternative than trying to grow grass. I don't know about the absorbency of artificial turf for your dog's potential contributions though.
Jul 13, 2013, 03:51 PM
Dang...I think you've been doing this for a while! Thanx again
Jul 13, 2013, 04:17 PM
My pleasure!
Aug 13, 2013, 10:09 PM
Wow - where in Arizona please? We have climates and soil much like the midwest or very severe soil and climates in the desert areas. If you are in the Phoenix or Tucson low desert area, get the free booklet called "Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert". You can get it at the city water department or at most nurseries if you just ask. It is 47 full color pages and you simply cannot go wrong with these plants. In the low desert, ignore the tags at the nursery that say full sun. They mean full sun in San Diego, not Phoenix. If it is in the shade at the nursery it needs to be in the shade in your garden. Post where you are exactly and I can give you some good ideas. Zones may be helpful, but not really when it comes to the desert.
Aug 29, 2013, 06:29 PM
It's Official as of Today! We just purchased our 2nd home in Maricopa, AZ in Pinal County. I say Maricopa and have been Corrected by Many that that is the County!! It's not! It's a small town southwest of PHX. I would Really like to try a few fruit trees! Leomon, Lime, Orange or whatever may grow! I look forward to getting back there so I can request the resources you were referring to in your previous response =)
Aug 29, 2013, 08:16 PM
Great - you are in the low desert. Yes, Maricopa is a town in Pinal county and Phoenix is in Maricopa County. Weird. Fortunately, citrus trees love AZ weather. They can be water users, especially the first year, but well worth planting. I have a large pink grapefruit, a very prolific Meyer Lemon (it's about six feet tall and had close to 175 huge lemons last year) Navel oranges and tangelos. The navels and tangelos generally produce good crops only every other year. The grapefruit produces like mad. All will grow well, the trees stay green all year and generally are not too frost sensitive.

Get the free book. It truly is the best resource for low desert plants. Citrus will not be included though, because they are water users. But the fruit is so wonderful to have.
Aug 29, 2013, 08:54 PM
Oh it just makes me get more excited with the possibilites of my own Fruit! I've heard people mention growing more than one for fertilization? Not quite sure how you know male/female plants! or is it combinations of trees? I did take pictures of the plants in the yard so I could try to identify them! Ornamental Grasses that we grow here in the Midwest get Huge in AZ. I was wondering if they would make the move...there in pots and there winter is close to our Summer! I'd think it's worth a try, since they will die here as soon as we have a frost! They're just getting to a nice size...and it's already Labor Day Weekend.
Aug 29, 2013, 10:35 PM
Rooster, congratulations! Is this "2d home" to be a winter home or a vacation home?

As to the male and female fruit trees, some plants have both type of flowers, some (like hollies) need male and female plants, so you need two to pollinate.

You might want to research each of the fruit trees you want to plant and determine which might be bi-s_e_x_ual and which need to have two separate plants so you can plan your orchard.

I think your ornamental grasses should survive, although they may set back once in AZ because of the heat. Leave them in pots, but plan to cut back the foliage when you arrive in AZ so there's less top-heavy foliage for the plant to support.

And place them in shade when you arrive to allow them to acclimate to the climate. Gradually move one or two out into the sun for a few hours, then longer if the plants tolerate the sun, until they can be planted permanently.

But if the grasses are large and can be divided now, I would do so, putting just one plant in each pot. That way you'll give each a better chance of survival but also have a lot more in case a few don't survive.

Mosternaz, I'm jealous. Frown I would love to be able to pick lemons and oranges from my garden. But then we can pick apples, cherries and plums, so I guess we each have our geographic benefits.

When do you plan to move to AZ? Before the Michigan winter starts, I hope!
Aug 30, 2013, 11:06 PM
Citrus need only themselves apparently. The pollen is very heavy and wet. The smell of citrus in the spring is sooooo very strong - reminds me of bad air freshener. But there is nothing like picking Meyer lemons two feet off the front porch and making a nice lemon custard pie. MMMMMM!

Don't try to bring the midwest with you. Many ornamental grasses are considered invasive and we do have fires. If you leave them in the pots, plan on providing afternoon shade. They would be good on the patio. Stick with the item in the booklet and you will have color, low water use and plants that won't destroy the desert or your home. For color, I like the "new" varieties of lantana in red and gold. They bloom all but about three months and are indestructible. Think about color and them use some of the agaves and other desert plants to fill in. Have fun. AND DON'T RELY ON THE TAGS AT THE NURSERY.