Monsoon Season: Ready or Not Here It Comes!

With summer temperatures creeping into the triple digits, Monsoon Season is just around the corner. Summer monsoon storms offer much needed rain to our desert environment, but also pose the biggest weather related risk for trees. If not pruned and thinned properly, your trees are more likely to become the victim of high monsoon winds.

Now is the time to assess your trees to determine if they are in need of pruning before the monsoon storms arrive. If you didn´t prune your trees in the cooler months, it is prudent to do the work before the storms arrive. In preparation for monsoon winds, the tree´s canopy should be thinned so wind can pass through the tree easier. Typically, most pruning involves lifting a tree´s branches to a height that people can walk under. When monsoon winds arrive, the tree´s canopy is top heavy because the weight of the trees is concentrated above a certain height. Assess your trees in the upcoming weeks and remove overly thick foliage, correct damage from previous storms and remove dead or structurally unsound branches to minimize the chance the tree will be damaged or cause damage during a storm.

Having proper tools to prune your tree is important to the health of the plant material. Limbs up to 1/2 inch in diameter can be pruned with hand pruners. Long-handled pruning loppers can handle limbs up to 1 inch in diameter but a special pruning saw is needed for larger limbs. Hedging shears or power hedge trimmers should not be used to prune trees because they will not be able to make proper cuts and will damage the tree.

Before and AfterIn spite of the damage these summer storms can cause, there is a silver lining to the monsoon clouds: moisture! The monsoon presents us all with a great opportunity to save water. We assess the amount of water each storm brings and suspend or adjust irrigation schedules appropriately. Not only is rainwater free, it is also superior to irrigation water due to its lower alkalinity. In addition to providing moisture, the rainwater helps leach accumulated salts away from the roots of shrubs, trees and turf.

Following a storm, check the status of your irrigation controller. Power outages can reset irrigation clocks and schedules, and it may not be appropriate for the weather. If your property receives a substantial amount of rain, turn off your irrigation system. Be aware of your plant material and soil moisture in order to determine when the water needs to be turned on again. Overall, you may not need to water as much as you did in the drier months.

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.

DLC Wins Three Awards of Excellence

Arizona landscape contractors were honored at “The Thirty Sixth Annual Arizona Excellence in Landscaping Awards” program sponsored by The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association (ALCA). DLC was honored to receive a ‘Judges Award’ for Desert Mountain Community Association and an ‘Award of Distinction’ for both Scottsdale Ranch and Sonoran Foothills Community Associations. These awards are judged by our peers in the green industry and are based on the highest standards of achievement, harmony with the environment and creativity.

DLC Nominated for Three ALCA Awards

Arizona landscape contractors are set to be honored at “The Thirty Sixth Annual Arizona Excellence in Landscaping Awards” program sponsored by The Arizona Landscape Contractors´ Association (ALCA). DLC has been nominated for three awards for Desert Mountain Community Association, Scottsdale Ranch Community Association and Sonoran Foothills Community Association. These awards will judged by our peers in the green industry and are based on the highest standards of achievement, harmony with the environment and creativity. View the slideshow to the right to see what Communities we are nominated for.

Click HERE to learn which communities are nominated!

The Scottsdale Ranch Success Story

Scottsdale Ranch was maintained in-house prior to DLC taking over in 2010. As a 30 year old community with dated facades and aging plant material, updating the Community’s look was a top priority for Community Management.

DLC has worked with Scottsdale Ranch over the last two years to update the Community’s common area palette and monument signage. DLC introduced new plant material upgrades in stages and custom built the Community’s new monument signs.

This is the story of the huge transition from in-house to DLC, and our progress since.