Phoenix, Arizona is a desert, home to cactus, scorpions, and rattlesnakes. However, it is also the fifth largest city in the United States. An even more astonishing fact is that it is the number one fastest growing city in the country. How is it possible that the home of Gila monsters and jumping cactus could become such a major urban city?
Phoenix is hot. It is better called sweltering. At its hottest, it was over 120 degrees. Its inhabitants have been known to complain that it is like living in an oven. Still, there are a number of things that endear people to Phoenix.
For one thing, it has mild winters. This brings an influx of what the inhabitants call 'snow birds' to Phoenix. They come to escape the freezing weather of other areas. Phoenix rarely reaches true frost temperatures in a typical year, and snow is almost unheard of. While other places wait until summer to really have fun, those in Phoenix sometimes prefer to stay indoors until it is a bit cooler. Sometimes, this is the safest option due to the number of heatstroke-related deaths each year. If you go hiking, you had better bring water and a friend!
Phoenix is plagued by dust. However, this same dust that brings real dust storms also brings stunningly beautiful sunsets. Painting and pictures of these orange, pink and purple events never grow old because there is a new one every evening.
While Phoenix is far more prone to drought than excessive rain, the dry ground can bring flooding when the heavy monsoon rains finally do come. At the same time, rain is rare enough to bring real enjoyment and relief to the city. Occasional hail, if it is small, becomes an exciting event because it brings ice to a desert.
During the monsoon rains, which usually come in July to September, there can be huge amounts of water in a very short time. The rains can last several weeks and bring thunder and lightning. The storms can be quite severe.
The wildlife has been made for this. When the water comes, the huge saguaro cactuses store large amounts that they can use over time. Saguaro cactuses can be quite beautiful when they bloom and bear fruit. They can have over 20 branches (also called arms) or none at all. They sport large white blossoms and pretty red fruit that attracts various birds. They can grow to be as tall as 60 feet, and a concern that is unique to Phoenix is the fear of a cactus falling on your house!
Another type of cactus that is well known to Phoenix is the jumping cholla, also called the teddy bear cactus. It is named jumping cholla because it can launch parts of the cactus at things or people that come too close! The teddy bear part comes from the fact that it can look almost fluffy. It can be a dangerous plant and extremely painful to meet. However, it's not all bad.
Cholla looks ugly on its own, but if you ever get to a place where you can see a lot of it all at once during one of those beautiful sunsets, it is an amazing sight. In other words, cholla can be beautiful to look at from far away.
The prickly pear cactus can be a very useful thing. Some people make jelly out of the fruit of the prickly pear and stores in Phoenix sell it. The branches or pads are also sometimes sold as vegetables. Its spines have barbs on them, so you had better be careful if you ever decide to try to harvest a prickly pear! It does have some of the most beautiful brightly-colored desert flowers as well.
One plant that is often mistaken for a cactus is Aloe Vera. It is a succulent, and it is sometimes grown in gardens. It has many useful properties and is used in products like sunscreen. The gel inside the small, spiny branches will quickly ease the pain of a sunburn. It is small and requires little water, but it can be easily killed by too much.
However, never let it be thought that the desert can't have grass and lawns. Lawns are a very important part of Phoenix. Besides improving air quality, they can even ease a little of the heat, and they certainly are a needed addition to the desert landscape. Certain types of lawns perform well even in the greatest heat.
Midiron Bermuda grass is the most commonly used in Arizona. It requires little water, is easy to upkeep, and stands up well to the fierce heat. Lawns planted with this grass establish quickly. Bermudagrass can also be coupled with Kentucky bluegrass, which is a cooler season grass, for all-year coverage. Another option for over-seeding is perennial ryegrass. Bermuda grass is a perennial so that it won't require reseeding every year. However, it does require aeration up to twice a year. Because this involves making thousands of holes in the sod, it can be challenging to manage regularly.
Another common grass is Zoysia grass. Many types can only be grown from sod or plugs. It is well-adapted to heat, but in the cold it goes rapidly dormant. It also does not do very well with over-seeding. The final kind that is common on Phoenix lawns is St. Augustine grass. The most heat-tolerant variety is Palmetto St. Augustine. It is less coarse than other types and also can handle drought better. It can remain green all year depending on the weather, but it does require consistent care and especially aeration.
Aerating a lawn is a time-consuming, tricky business, so why not let us do it for you? At Lawn Love, we make lawn care easy with innovative technology. We have made it easier for you to get a quote in a matter of minutes and schedule a professional to come and aerate your lawn, so you don't have to. Let's keep making Phoenix greener together! Schedule aeration today.