Planting and Caring for New Plants

Whether you want to add new plants to your yard or you’re replacing plants you lost to winter’s freezing temperatures, now is the time to plant to give them the best chance of surviving the summer heat.

Shrub and Tree LandscapeIdeally, new plants should be installed when nighttime temperatures are over 55 degrees for a prolonged period of time and daytime temperatures are less than 90 degrees. For our desert landscape, plant replacement is most successful in the early spring because temperatures and humidity allow the plant to establish itself in its new environment before the harsher summer weather arrives. Certain tree species like acacia salicina and the desert willow demand spring planting because they establish new roots very slowly.

When choosing your new plants and trees, ask yourself these following questions:

Is it the right plant/tree for the right space?

How big is your plant or tree going to be in its mature size as it relates to its space? Does it have thorns that could grow into the common areas and sidewalks?  Do the roots have enough space to find the nutrients it needs? Expect trees to have root systems that reach out underground has far as its canopy extends.

What kind of light does it need?

The closer that the plant is to those hard surfaces like sidewalks and brick walls, the more sun and heat it will absorb. Be cautious of placing plants near these reflective surfaces.

How much water does it need?

Young plants will need more water as they root out looking for nutrients in the soil. Look for signs of distress like wilting or curling of leaves, leaves losing their color, and dead stems as signals of needing to water more. Also consider possibly using mulch or fertilizer to boost the young plant’s growth.

A young tree will need to have more emitters located near its trunk initially. These emitters will need to be moved from the trunk on a yearly basis to encourage the spread of the roots as the tree matures.

Nary a Worry…With The Right Program, Weeds Are a Non-Issue

As great as the rains have been for plants and turf, they’ve also been good for one other thing. Weeds love rain! It’s during springtime that weeds grow the fastest and, without control, can dominate decomposed granite (DG) and other areas.

Weed Control


If we’re at your Community, we’ve got you covered. DLC already has a comprehensive weed control program in place, using pre and post emergent products. For those few weeds that do pop up, we treat them in their early stages so they’re a non-issue.

QUICK TIP: If you’re currently battling with weeds in your Community, you might review your landscape providers’ plan.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: To learn more about weed control for homeowners, click here.


BougainvilleaThe Bougainvillea, a versatile, evergreen desert woody vine, flowers several times throughout the year and is native to the Brazilian coast. The most common type of Bougainvillea plant in the Southwest has vibrant reddish pink flowers; however some varieties have more pink, salmon or purple blooms. This resilient and drought tolerant plant grows in a variety of different manners, including climbing vines and bushes, and can be trained to grow in various shapes and in many different sized spaces.

Before the Frost Comes

During the fall months, balanced pruning is needed for your Bougainvillea plant. Pruning should be done to keep the plant from encroaching on walkways or to keep the plant within its boundaries. However, you want to make sure not to drastically prune before frost season so you do not expose sensitive parts of the plant to the freezing temperatures. When the frost blankets the ground, the large portions of the plant that remain will turn a brownish black color and the leaves will drop, leaving just the stick portion of the plant for the winter. If you prune your plant excessively in the fall, there will not be much of the plant left when the frost damage is pruned away next spring. To ready your plant for the winter months, stop watering it around Thanksgiving for the winter and start watering again around mid-February when the daytime temperatures return to the 80s.


In the colder months, it is recommended that you not prune your Bougainvillea plant to help protect it from frost damage. For younger plants, you may want to cover your Bougainvillea with a light cloth or sheet on nights when frost is a threat. If your plant suffers frost damage, you should wait to prune it until spring when the frost threat is gone since the damaged portions of the plants act as insulation for the rest of the plant throughout the winter.

When Spring Arrives

Now that the frost has gone, it is time to prune your Bougainvillea to ready it for the new growing season. You can choose to do a light prune, like you did in the fall and trim just the extremities of the plant or a hard prune which means you cut the plant down to almost the base to stimulate all new growth. When pruning, be sure to wear protective clothing as the Bougainvillea is a thorny plant. When daytime temperatures consistently reach the 80s again, you can begin regularly watering your plant material.

Planting New Bougainvillea

When installing a new Bougainvillea plant, you should keep a couple of things in mind. Since Bougainvillea can grow in a variety of space sizes, be sure to consider the fine root system of the plant and plant it in well-drained soils to prevent root rot. These plants prefer direct sunlight for at least 5 hours a day and because of the plants’ constant blooms, it might not be the best plant to plant near a pool.Bougainvillea After Trim

Bougainvillea Before TrimBougainvillea Cut Back in Fall