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Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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August 28, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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August 28, 1997
 

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"4 Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, August 28, 1997 AAI1 Spare the Water, Spoil the plant by N. "Total" Tomiyasu Gardeners in the desert, particularly new arrivals, have some serious misconceptions on desert irrigation. Most people who migrate to the desert come to enjoy the economic growth and warm climate. They see the luxurious plantings at the hotels and casinos, yet don't understand the harsh surroundings they are planted in. Our native desert consists of parched soils, rock, dry washes and sparse plant life except in the wash areas, where water flows occasionally after a rain storm. Rain is an unusual event, especially during the summer months. We might have an occasional cloudburst, but after a 10-30 minute downpour, the sun comes out and immediately begins drying up the moisture. Many of the imported plants in our landscapes require regular watering, some even on a daily basis through the hot summer months. Many plants fail because the irrigation cycles are simply not long enough to allow the plants to soak up the water they need through their root systems. Most gardeners here are from other parts of the United States. They come from areas that have high humidity and regular rainfall throughout the year. This means that irrigation isn't as important to them as it is to us native of the desert. We have learned how crucial proper irrigation is to successful horticulture. It is important to thoroughly understand irrigation methods and theories. Otherwise, your plants just won't look good, or worse yet, die right out. When plants don't look healthy, many people assume that they need fertilizer or perhaps chemical pest control to look thrifty and thrMng. Proper irrigation isn't given the serious consideration it de- serves. Squirting a little water on a plant should be enough, right? Wrong! We have high temperatures 24 hours a day, coupled with low humidity. New plantings and many "exotic" plants on automatic drip systems should be programmed for watering at least once every 24 hours; we can even be generous in some cases and schedule them twice a day. One problem that we face is that many systerr have fixed gallonage emitters that apply one to five gallons 3er hour. In many cases, these are'programmed to run Fall seeds, flowers, bulbs, fruit trees and grapes will be arriving in the next few weeks. It's time to plant in *' "" " em Total Tomr/asu, an expert on south Nevada gardening, wilt be at Jorclan/Chelsa Design 160 on Saturday, September 6, at 9 a.m talk about when to will then answer all types of gardening questions. Tomiyasu been a lifelong gardener. Tomi's Incorporated. His father, Bill Y. Tomiyasu started gardening in the Las Vegas Valley in 1916. Following instruc- tions enclosed with his catalog seeds, proved to be disastrous. He began to experiment varying planting times to be more in tune with the desert climate. His experimentation and careful record keeping paid off. The result is the definitive planting guide grower, he received the contract from companies building Boulder Darn to only 10 minutes at a time. I have found that variable emitters, which can be set for 0-30 gallons per hour, offer much more flexibility. Although the cost of a fixed gallonage emitter is about 10-15 cents a head, while the variable emitters run about 60 cents each, variable emitters can be adjusted for soil types, microclimates, and the type and size of a particular plant. Most standard systems should be scheduled to run for at least 30 minutes per cycle, so that at least 15 gallons can be applied to the plant's root system. Many people think that's too much and a waste of water. But consider that you have dry, often rocky, soil where the plant was placed in a hole barely bigger than the rootball and with little or no organic matter. If watered with a standard emitter system (two emitters per plant) for five to 15 minutes, the plant only receives about 1- 1/2 gallons of water. Most plants need from ten to 30 gallons a day for good root and top growth. We recommend that new plants receive daily irrigation for 30 minutes in order to establish them and encourage rooting. Consider that of the 162 soil profiles in the Las Vegas Valley, many are rocky and drain quickly, so that water is not held in the soil. (In the silty clay soils, which do not drain well, you might not need to water as often, but you should still apply enough water with each irrigation cycle to moisten the rootball and surrounding soil.) If you don't water sufficiently, expect to see your plants stop growing or die. Give them enough water so that the roots can extend themselves and support the foliage growth. Courte of xJthwe Trees and Tuff JORDAN/CHELSA DESIGN & NURSERY Important Dates To Mark On Your Calendar!! Labor Day Weekend Starts fall fertile-time. 9-9-9 is the product you'll need to feed all your plantings. October I -5 Gromulch Anniversary Sale - 3/$13 October 4 Horticulturist, Toni Tomiyasu, will seminar starting at 9 a.m. Call for a be presenting reservation. a Hovember 29-30 & December 6-7 2nd Annual "Festival of Trees" - Stop by and see Christmas trees decorated by area businesses. Local entertainment will perform. We Offer Wire Service We Are to! and Education [Open 7a weekdays 0F' H wy271 II I