Lawn Mower Won’t Start | Troubleshooting Guide

If you’re searching the phrase “Lawn Mower Won’t Start” this trouble shooting guide is for you.  It will help you solve some of the most common problems that DIY’ers can typically handle.  It’s important to follow the owner’s manual for your brand of lawn mower and your model.

Phoenix Valley residents rely on lawn mowers to start up and keep going all summer long.  But when they won’t start, stall, run rough, or surge it’s clear that something is wrong. Follow this comprehensive guide to troubleshoot your lawn mower.

Lawn Mower Engine Won’t Start

Most of us who have done lawn care in our lives have experienced a lawn mower that just wouldn’t start, no matter how hard you pulled the cord.  This is common when starting your lawn mower after its been stored for a period of time, such as the winter or off season.

First Step: Check The Fuel

Engines don’t start or run without fuel, and it can be an obvious but easy detail to overlook.  It’s also best to start the season with fresh fuel as stale fuel has debris and dirt that can make starting more difficult. In fact storing your lawn mower with fuel can lead to damaging the engine.  It’s a good practice to siphon out the fuel at the end of a season to ensure you start the year with fresh fuel and preserve your engine.

Second Step: Check Ignition & Spark Plugs

If your spark plugs are dirty or disconnected it can cause an engine to run rough or not start at all.  Generally spark plugs are good for a season or about 25 hours of run time.  Spark plugs also have a “gap” where the arc of electricity is created to ignite the fuel. Check the gap to ensure that it is set for the right distance.  If it isn’t the spark plug and the spark plug lead is securely attached you might have a flywheel key problem or shorted kill switch.

Third Step: Clean Your Carburetor

Lawn mowers still use carburetors like older vehicles instead of fuel injection.  The carburetor creates the air to fuel mixture in your engine and if it is dirty it will cause your engine to run rough, stall, or simply not start.

Fourth Step: Check the Compression & Valves System

The compression of the air fuel mixture is critical for powering your lawn mower.  It consists of a system of a piston, cylinders, valves, and rings which control how the air fuel vapors move through your lawn mower engine. The valves are responsible for letting the air into and out of the engine while the pistons cycle back and forth during the intake, ignition, and exhaust process.  The piston rings are responsible for sealing up the system and keeping the engine air tight.

Leaks in your seals or improper valve clearance will mean that compression isn’t right and your engine will not start.  A test can be performed by your local lawn mower repair shop with a leak down tester.

Phoenix Valley Lawn Mower Repair

If you have a lawn mower that won’t start, runs rough, keeps stalling, or has other problems A&P Nursery offers lawn mower repair & maintenance to Arizona residents.

We sell, service, and repair all types of lawn mowers and other outdoor power landscaping equipment.  Our lawn care equipment repair and maintenance team will find and fix whatever is wrong with your lawn mower quickly and affordably.  Call if you have questions or would like to schedule a time to bring your lawn mower in for repair or regular maintenance.

A & P Nursery &
Lawnmower Shop
2601 E. Baseline Rd.
Gilbert, Arizona 85234

Growing A Cherry Tree In Arizona

If you are interested in growing a cherry tree in Arizona, this post is for you! Some people love the flavor or cherries; others enjoy the wonderful display each spring when they blossom. This guide is for everyone who wants to grow a cherry tree in the heat and dry of Arizona. We’ll also talk about ways to use your cherries and get the most out of your fruit so none goes to waste.

In This Post:

Where Cherry Trees Come From

Less is known about precisely where cherry trees came from. Some records indicate that they originated in Asia Minor. Other historical records point to Roman and Greek cultures. But could have just as easily started in either area and traveled the Silk Road and spread between the geographical regions.

Two Main Types of Cherries

There are two main types of cherries that are eaten or used for cooking. These are Sweet Cherries and Sour Cherries.

Sour Cherries
Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherries are typically the ones you see in your local grocer. With a rich, thick, and near plumb like texture they are something that people can eat raw. Most of the sweet cherry trees are self-sterile. This means that they cannot pollinate themselves. Because of this to have a successful cherry tree you need to have 2 or 3 of them. Unless some of your neighbors already have one, then you know that insects will cross pollinate your tree.

Planting A Cherry Tree In Your Backyard

You can choose to have your local nursery come and plant your Cherry Tree, or you can dig right in and plant it yourself.

Choosing A Site For Your Cherry Tree

You’re going to want to look at the topography of your property. Make sure you don’t choose to plant a cherry tree in the lower section of the yard or anywhere where cold air would settle. Cherry trees grow best when they have a well draining soil, good air circulation and lots of sun.  So stay away from buildings or excessive shade.

Growing More Than One Cherry Tree

With the sweet cherry tree you might seriously consider planting more than one so you get the fruit pollinated. Whether you choose to plant sour or sweet cherry trees consider spacing between your trees. Make sure that you have a minimum of 20 feet between sour cherry trees. You’ll never at least 35 feet between sweet cherry trees.

Planting Your Cherry Tree

It’s best to plant cherry trees in the early spring. You’ll want to start with making a mound of soil in the hole you’ve dug. Then set the cherry tree into the hole with the bare-roots resting on the mound. Then gently spread the roots down into the mound of soil without breaking or harshly bending them. You can figure out how deep the tree was planted before being sold by finding the area where the bark changes color. The bark will transition from light to dark.

Watering Your Cherry Tree

Your newly planted cherry tree should only need water once a week. Unless it is exceptionally hot. The extra leaves a tree grows during summer require extra moisture in your tree, and you should deliver it at ground level, directly to the soil. As your tree matures the waterings will be less about keeping the tree alive and more about producing the best quality and size of cherries. If you end up in a drought, keeping up with weekly waterings will help you get the most out of your cherry tree.

Fertilizing Your Cherry Tree

If your tree has had consistent average growth of over 8 inches or more you don’t need to fertilize. If your growth is under that you can get some nitrogen rich fertilizer. Measure your cherry tree a foot off the ground and apply 1/8th of a pound of nitrogen per each inch of trunk diameter.

Pruning Your Cherry Tree

Pruning is a necessary step in growing any kind of fruit on a tree. Getting a beautiful looking tree that produces the best quality and highest quantity is done with careful pruning. For sweet cherry trees you need to make sure to have them trimmed just after you pick the fruit, in late summer. This is because they are susceptible to bacterial and fungal diseases. Sour cherry trees should be pruned during winter when they are dormant.

Cherry Tree Pruning Specifics

The goal for mature trees, 3 years of being planted or more, is to create an open, well balanced, manageable tree. You’ll want to encourage growth around this juncture to make the tree spread out some. Divert nutrients to the growth of it’s width by trimming vertical shoots and starts.

For newly planted cherry trees spring can be a good time to train their shape. The shape that helps maximize sun light and therefore fruit production is an open vase like shape.  This means thinning out the center area and encouraging the limbs to grow upwards and allow sun to hit both sides of the limbs.

Unique Ways To Use Your Cherries

Cherry Ice Cream – About the time the cherries are ready in Mesa it’s nine kinds of hot. A great way to use your cherries and beat the heat is to make some homemade ice cream with them. Using a mixture of milk, cream, sugar and your cherries, you can make a bunch of different great combination flavor recipes. The internet is rich with different options.

Cherry Cream Coffee Cake – Use your own homegrown cherries that are going to be fresher than anything in any store you find. There are loads of recipes available online to incorporate the wonderful flavor of cherry into your coffee cake. Impress your guests or just make you and your family a unique treat with your own cherries.

Cherry Margaritas – For a wonderful after work adult treat you can make a cherry margarita. With a simple blend of lime juice, water, and sugar you have your margarita mix base. For the cherry part of it you want to mix that with 2 dozen cherries, tequila, and orange liqueur. With the sugar melted into your mix and cherries pitted you blend it all together and then strain it over some ice.

Nursery Palm Tree Mesa Arizona

Buying & Planting Your Cherry Tree

If you’re ready to choose and have a pomegranate planted at your home in Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, or anywhere else in the Phoenix Valley; contact the knowledgeable and helpful folks at your local A&P Nursery.  You can buy your Cherry tree, have it delivered to your home, and even sign up for professional landscapers to plant the tree for you.  We make gardening simple, easy and fun!


Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants

Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants


If you’re searching for tips for fertilizing Arizona plants, this is the article for you.  The fertilizing process is an important part of gardening as it keeps trees and plants healthier and ensures they are getting all of the nutrients required for a stimulated growth.

Fertilizers on this Page:

Primary Fertilizer Nutrients

Fertilizer mixes are created with three main nutrients or ingredients which act as a plant based multi-vitamin.  These are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous:

N = Nitrogen Photosynthesis, which is the process that plants use for converting sunshine into food. Nitrogen is used by plants to assist them in producing chlorophyll, which is the main chemical in the process of photosynthesis.

K = Potassium, which assists the plant in manufacturing and digesting food.

P = Phosphorous, which assists in supporting and stimulating stronger development of blossoms, fruits, stems and roots.

Various types of fertilizers are available. Prior to making a decision on the fertilizer, you should determine the type of plants, soil, trees or shrubs that will need to be fertilized. Keep in mind that with fertilizing, more is not always better, as fertilizing too much can lead to plants being damaged.

Fertilizer Varieties Available

When you need help with answering any fertilizing questions or advice on products, your AP Nursery specialists are ready and willing to help. Below are some of the fertilizing products offered:

Planting Mix & MulchA&P Moisture Mulch

This is a 2 cubic foot bag of composted mulch and nutrients. When purchased with plants it provides a 6 month warranty for plants.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodBedding Plant Food

This is a great option when you’re preparing a new flower bed or even after you’ve planted your bedding plants.  Good for year round use you can get either a 4 lbs or 15 lbs bag.  This product has a 7-22-8 analysis.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodFruit, Citrus and Pecan Tree Food

This fertilizer is great for used in spring, summer, and fall and helps your nut and fruit trees grow.  Available in either 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags this product has a 19-10-5 analysis.

Plant Food FertilizerGardener’s Special

A favorite with gardeners who grow vegetable gardens, flower beds, and roses it can be used all year long or after planting. Available in either 4 lbs or 15 lbs bags this product has a 11-5-11 analysis.

Green Maker Lawn FertilizerGreen Maker

If you want to get the green lush lawn that makes a house feel like a home this product is perfect. It is specifically formulated for alkaline soils that features slow release nitrogen and is high in iron which grows the lushest green lawns. It is available in 30 lbs bags and consists for 18-06 + 10% sulfur.

New Lawn StarterNew Lawn Starter

Starting your lawn in the heat takes the right planning and products.  This product is formulated to help your new lawn grow faster, stronger, and be greener.  It promotes better root systems and is designed for use when prepping soil, seeding, sodding, or sprigging. Available in a variety of sizes this product has a 9-13-7 analysis.

Palm Tree FoodPalm Tree Food

Palm trees might not be native to Arizona but they have become one of the icons for many homes and business parks.  This palm food is designed to keep your palm trees looking great during hot summer months.  Available in 20 lbs bags it has a 12-8-4 analysis.

Root Stimulator & Plant Starter SolutionRoot Stimulator

When transplanting trees or shrubs it can shock the plant.  Root stimulator helps ease relocation or even established plants which are stressed.  Available in 1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 gallon sizes this product has a 4-10-3 analysis.

Tree & Shrub FoodTree & Shrub Food

If you want to have the best looking oak tree, evergreens, or palm trees in the valley this is the product to use.  Good for use in spring, summer, and fall this product is designed to give your majestic trees everything they need to stay looking regal. Available in 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags it has a 19-8-10 analysis.

Lawn FertilizerWeed-Out Lawn Fertilizer

If your lawn has weeds and could use a boost for growing more lush and green Weed-Out Fertilizer is a great option. Not only does it help your lawn grow greener and more thick but it helps kill the weeds growing along side the blades. Available in either 20 lbs or 40 lbs bags this product is best used when it is under 95°F on weeds that have broad leaves.


Fall fertilizer for your lawn

Keep your lawn cut to about two or three inches to produce healthy grass roots. By cutting the grass too low, you will cause them to die quicker and it can result in patches being left.

  • During fertilizing, ensure you should use the 3-1-2 ratio (law to food).
  • Spread annual rye grass seeds on your lawn in the warmer season for adding color throughout winter, while reseeding the lawn on thinner areas.
  • Apply ½ inch of compost for the top-dressing to help build the root system for your grass.
  • In areas that are compacted, ensure you aerate the lawn using an aerator machine.
  • Ensure your lawn is watered during the fall, especially in the event a dry month occurs.


Pomegranate Tree Fertilizing: When it comes to fertilizing pomegranate, using a fertilizer that contains ammonium sulfate is a good choice. Use roughly 1/3 cup and sprinkle it on the ground near the roots to help add nutrients to the soil which the tree will require for healthy growth. During the first year of growth, you should do this about three times. The best months for fertilizing are Feb. May, and Sept.

Cherry Tree Fertilizing: If your cherry tree has consistently grown more than eight inches, fertilizing is not required. However, if the growth rate is under eight inches, you should use some fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Start by measuring the tree 12 inches from the ground and apply 1/8thlb. of nitrogen per inch of the trunk’s diameter.

Fig Tree Fertilizing: There are many times when a fig tree is planted directly into the ground, there’s no need for fertilizing. However, there is an exception if the soil is sandy. If you are not sure if the soil you tree is planted in contains the nutrients needed, you can take a sample and have it tested. If it is determined the soil is low in nutrients, you should get ½ lb. of nitrogen and split it equally over three treatments. You should apply nitrogen in the growing months of May, June, July.

Indoor Succulents Fertilizing: Similar to other type of plants, succulents experience the most growth during spring and summer months. You should ensure that your succulents are fertilized three to four times between spring and summer. Using the standard houseplant type fertilizer will work, but ensure that you use half the recommended amount when being used on succulent plants. You do not need to fertilizer the indoor succulent during the fall and winter months, because the growth either slows or fully stops.

Fertilizer For Sale In East Valley

Your landscape needs a helping hand in Arizona and if you live in the East Valley of Phoenix A&P Nursery has all of the fertilizers you will need to take your yard from average to all the rage. Stop by and see one of our garden experts to help choose the right fertilizers for your needs.

Garden Soil Vs. Potting Mix | Differences

For many passionate gardeners they’ve had to find out what the advantages are for Garden soil vs. Potting mix.  Depending on your application with regard to the soil’s  moisture and nutrient retention characteristics you will want one over the other.

Garden Soil Vs Potting Mix

Knowing your types of soil can mean the difference between a successful and satisfying season of gardening and wasting your time and effort trying to cultivate ground that will never pay you back by rewarding your efforts with a vibrant and healthy garden.

Potting Mix

Potting mix is a manufactured soil type and one caveat that it carries is the fact that it does not contain very much actual organic material. The main feature of potting soil is its ability to retain moisture within a container that contains a plant or several plants. As time passes potting soil can become dry and will actually begin to repel water as it ages. When this happens topping off your potting soil with organic material is recommended and very necessary in order for your potted plants to thrive.

Garden Soil

Garden soil and top soil usually come together in mixes with 50/50 ratios for each soil type. These soils are best used in open beds as opposed to enclosed areas such as pots. The reason for this is because these soil types tend to retain too much moisture when contained in enclosures as opposed to constantly being exposed to open air. Top soil and garden soil also has a tendency to pull away from the sides of containers when it is allowed to dry out. Some soils that contain clay can actually be too heavy for pots and will settle and compact in a manner similar to what concrete does.

Loam vs. Topsoil

Gardening Topsoil – Being the utmost layer of soil, topsoil can be up to 12 inches deep.  Being reliant on whatever organic matter has come to rest on it topsoil can vary between being very nutrient rich and not really worth much when coming to cultivating a healthy garden.  Also being reliant on geographical region it will just depend on if your clay, sand, or silt is present and in which distribution in your garden.  In addition depending on the area and previous owners it might contain chemicals and or pesticides.

Gardening Loam – This is a classification given to soil when the distribution of sand, clay and silt is relatively evenly distributed.  Generally speaking loam contains about 50% sand, 30-40% silt and 7-20% clay.  When people say they are selling loam it’s important to understand that calling something loam doesn’t specify the content of organic material but simply that it’s got a more even content of the other soil types.

Buying The Right Soil

It’s easy to confuse Topsoil and Loam because you can just naturally have a loam soil in your yard.  To keep them straight it’s easy to remember that topsoil simply refers to the location of the soil, while loam is a reference to the quality of the soil being balance between the other soil types.

Tree & Shrub Food
Lawn Fertilizer
Plant Food Fertilizer
Green Maker Lawn Fertilizer
Root Stimulator & Plant Starter Solution

When buying your topsoil a good rule of green-thumb is to pay attention to the type of topsoil you’re being offered.  It can just be topsoil, or it can be loam topsoil.  You can actually judge it for yourself and what to look for is for the soil to be crumbly yet not sticky or gritty.  It should also be firm enough to roll between your hands when moist.

Palm Tree Food
New Lawn Starter
Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree Food
Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree Food
Planting Mix & Mulch

Garden Soil Types

There are 6 main categories of soil types that you might find.  The way you categorize which type of soil you have in your garden depends on which type of particle happens be in the majority in your soil.

Clay Soils

Clay soils – This type of soil has over 25% clay.  It’s also colloquially known as heavy soil.  Despite the fact that this type of soil can be potentially high in nutrients they have a tendency to retain an excess of water due to capillary attraction with the tiny spaces between the plethora of clay particles.  This means that it takes longer to drain and longer to warm up than sandy soils.  During summer this soil can get so dry that cracks can show on its surface.   During the wetter months it tends to be easily compacted when walked on while wet.  This can be a challenging type of soil to cultivate, but with proper plant selection and a bit of patience it can be very rewarding.

This can be an excellent soil for shrubs and perennials such as Aster, Bergamot, Flowering quince and Helen’s flower.  Early soft berry crops and vegetables can be problematic to grow in clay rich soil because of it’s compact and cool nature.  In contrast summer crop vegetables, fruit trees and even ornamental trees and shrubs can thrive on this soil.

Chalky Soils

Chalky Soils – Having larger grained and usually stonier consistency than the other soils this soil type is free draining and tends to sit over chalk or limestone bedrock.  It’s high alkalinity can sometimes lead to yellowish leaves and stunted growth.  This tendency can be addressed by simply using some fertilizers to balance the PH and even adding some humus can counteract the quick draining and improve workability.

The types of plants that can thrive in this soil type are trees, bulbs like Lilac lilies, and vegetables such as beets, sweet corn, beets, and spinach.

Sandy Soils

Sandy Soils – In contrast to your Clay Soils the sand content is the vast majority of this soil type.  Additionally it’s known as light soil types.  During watering or rain storms they drain quickly and are easy to work and cultivate.  During the spring and morning these soils warm up more quickly than Clay Soils. The downside unfortunately is that they don’t hold nutrients and they dry out quickly.  Another potential problem is high levels of natural acidity in Sandy Soil.

As one of the most common soil types Sandy soil can excel at growing things like shrubs and bulbs.  It is great for Tulips, Hibiscus and tree mallow.  A wealth of vegetables do very well in this soil type, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes do very well.  In fact many of our produce is grown commercially in sandy soils.   These include zucchini, corn, squash, peppers, strawberries, lettuce, collard greens, peanuts, watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce.

Silt Soils

Silt Soils – The size of the particles are somewhere between your clay and sand type materials.  Its mineral origin is feldspar and quartz.  It’s commonly found in places where long gone lakes or rivers once existed and nutrient rich materials came to rest.  It’s considered by many to be among the most fertile soils available.  This soil drains better than Clay Soil but retains enough moisture to support healthy plant growth.

This is a great soil for things like grass, climbers, shrubs and perennials.  Trees like Willow, Cypress, Dogwood and Birch love this soil because of its moisture content.  In fact this can also be a great option for most of your fruit and vegetable crops.  Given there is sufficient drainage.

Loam Soils

Loam Soils – This type of soil is a combination of the soil types and ends up avoiding the extremes that Clay and Sandy soil types tend to have while still being very fertile.  Loams are easy to work and drain well.  There are Clay-Loam and Sandy-Loam variants just depending on the primary characteristics.

Being the balanced soil type most vegetable and berry crops will do very well in this soil.  You can also grow things like bamboo, perennials, shrubs, and more. . .the list of applications is exhaustive for this soil which is what makes it such a strong option for the serious gardener.  It does take a bit of maintenance with rotating your crops and maintaining the moisture of this soil, especially during the hotter and drier months.

Peat Soils

Peat Soils – Predominantly comprised of organic matter these are usually very fertile and hold a bunch of moisture.  However it is rarely found it gardens.  A soil is considered peat when it has in excess of 30% organic matter (dry mass) that has accumulated and composted on the surface.  Technically it is a heterogeneous mix of decomposed plant material that’s decayed in water saturated, oxygen free environment.

Being a great soil type for root type crops that thrive in well-drained soils you’ll have great success growing things like Witch Hazel, Heather, Camellia, and Lantern Trees.  As far as vegetables that love this soil type you’ll find legumes, root crops, and even salad type crops excel in this soil type.

East Phoenix Valley Soil & Fertilizer

The experts at A&P Nursery stand at the ready with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all of your different gardening questions.  We can help you ammend your soil, use the right fertilizers for your plants, and even help you understand best practice watering for your soil type.  Give us a call we’ll help you develop a successful approach from the soil up to having a healthy and satisfying garden.  You can choose whichever location is most convenient for you.

Best Perennials For Arizona

Best Perennials For Arizona

Perennials are a favorite for gardeners who want to have plants that come back year after year.  The category of perennials includes shrubs and trees as well as many succulents and flowers.  Plants where the stems, leaves, and flowers die each winter or frost are referred to as herbaceous perennials.  The roots however live on through the colder months and when the spring comes, the plants rise again.  Plants which can live through the winter and come back are also referred to as hardy.

Choosing Your Perennials

When you are planning your landscape and want to include perennials you should consider what purpose the plants will be serving.  Will they be included to offer a splash of color, plants for edging, or accents around larger trees like the Evergreen?  When you know what you want the plants to do you will have an easier time choosing the best plants.

Below you will find a selection of what the local perennial nursery will carry. Each have their own place in landscapes.  For specific information on when each species will bloom so you can ensure your landscape blooms the way you want, speak with your local nursery experts about the perennials you like best.


Agave is at home in Arizona as it is native to arid and hot regions.  It is found naturally in the southwestern United States and Mexico as well as parts of south America.   As a perennial succulent the Agave has fleshy leaves which come to a sharp point along with a tall stem during flowering. During blooming a number of tubular, short flowers.

Western Columbine

The Western Columbine covers a large spread of western North America.  Stretching from Alaska all the way down to Baja California it grows wild and adds welcomed splashes of orange, red, and yellow to the landscape. The flowers generally appear between April and August, depending on the weather.


The range of geraniums is filled with variety; in fact there are over 200 different species of geraniums. They can be shrubs, perennials, and even succulents. Choosing the right Geraniums will depend on your goals for water conservation.  A popular variant of the geranium is the Zonal geranium. These examples are genetically advanced and feature stronger and sturdier leaves.


There are 2,790 species of Primrose, which gives gardeners an incredibly wide selection to choose from.  Virtually all primrose are perennial, but keep an eye on your labels when shopping at your local nursery.  For Arizona the Evening Primrose is a popular option as it is drought tolerant and can withstand full sun. Evening Primrose has even been used to treat health disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and controlling fatty acids.

Gerbera Daisy

The Gerbera is native to Asia, Africa, and South America yet has been broadly cultivated and planted in gardens all over North America and Arizona. Flower colors vary greatly and include shades for red, white, pink, yellow and orange.  As a wildly popular bedding gardening plant the Gerbera Daisy is the 5th most cut and displayed flower in the world.

Prickly Pear

Cactus and Arizona go together and the Prickly Pear is one of the hardiest cacti available.  It grows well in both low and high altitudes and is available in a wide variety of colors. These plants are vigorous growing cactus that features detachable spines.  With thick wide pads these plants can grow between a foot and up to 18 feet tall.

Four o’Clock

The Four o’Clock has an interesting history having been cultivated by the Aztecs for medicine.  Being native to Peru the Four o’Clock is a great ornamental flower which has vibrant color and can even have varied flowers growing on the same plant.  As the name suggests the flowers open in the late afternoon with a strong and sweet smell into the evening and night.


Generally Penstemon are perennial plants which include about 250 species between Eastern Asia and North America.  They are found in both desert areas, alpine zones, and moist forests.  This makes them adaptable to various climates.  With flowers commonly purple, red, and orange the Penstemon will add a wonderful burst of color into your landscape.


Salvia comes in a wide variety of colors which grow in dense flowering stalks.  Colors vary from purple to reds, whites, and even shades of blue. They offer incredible color to landscapes and attract insects like butterflies to your garden.  They are also incredibly heat and sun resistant and actually thrive in both.  There are many species of Salvia which offer different shapes of flowers and colors which will accent your landscape.


The Datura features beautiful white flowers which release a wonderful aroma in t he evening.  The flowers have a trumpet vine look and they are a native sprawling wildflower. This makes they drought resistant, perennial, and a great addition to just about any Arizona landscape.  They flower grows well in full sun.

Lawn Care Tips For Arizona

Lawn Care Tips For Arizona

If you are searching “Lawn Care Tips For Arizona” you might have just moved to the state or you got your first home.  Keeping your lawn looking great takes a little preparation, good watering, and a bit of work.  The heat of Arizona means that you will need to adjust your watering depending on the season and step up your lawn mowing schedule. Being ready for caring for your lawn starts with having your lawn mower serviced or lawn mower repaired. When your tools are in good condition it makes lawn care easier, faster, and a lot less frustrating.

Lawn Mowing

Most lawn mowers have height adjustments and it is tempting to lower it as low as possible to try to cut down on the frequency of having to mow, this isn’t a best practice. When you cut your lawn too short you are “scalping” your lawn. While you don’t want long unkempt lawn you should avoid cutting it too short as it will require more water the shorter it is.

Lawn Mowing Heights

There are three common types of grass used in Arizona lawns: Hybrid Bermuda, Bermuda, and Annual/Pernennial Rye.  Both Bermuda and Rye grass should be cut to between a inch and a half to two inches.  Hybrid Bermuda grass can be cut shorter and should be cut between a half an inch to 1 inch.

Lawn Care by the Seasons

Each season has different challenges from the heat of summer to the leaves and debris of fall and winter. Read more below to get specific information for each of the 4 seasons.

Spring Lawn Care

In the spring it is a good plan to apply any weed control or fertilizer that you will want to use. These products help keep weeds out of your lawn and promote greener more lush lawns.  Watering in the mild season of spring should be done to avoid any brown spots but not over done to avoid wasted water.

Summer Lawn Care

In Arizona, especially in the Phoenix Valley, summer is hot. The intense heat and arid climate can be hard on lawns and will require daily watering. The best time to water is just before sunrise in the morning so your lawn has the moisture it needs.  Use a soil probe to measure the moisture after watering.  If it doesn’t go 10 inches into the soil easily increase the duration of watering.

Fall Lawn Care

Once the summer heat has subsided you can cut back your watering and use your probe to make sure you are watering enough. It will vary depending on the heat and the type of soil in your landscape. Use the same rule of 10 inches of moisture and adjust your watering frequency and duration to meet your lawns needs.

Winter Lawn Care

To keep lawns lush and green through the winter it is common in Arizona to “overseed” lawns.  From parks to golf courses and residences overseeding is a common practice to keep the lawn dense and lush.  During winter and the cooler months you will be able to cut watering frequency and duration back even more. Use your soil probe to monitor the moisture in your lawn’s soil to keep track of how you are doing.

Lawn Care Equipment & Repair

If you live in the Phoenix valley A&P Nursery sells, services, and repairs lawn mowers, lawn care equipment, and all other types of motorized landscaping equipment.  We can tune up your lawn mower, repair it if it is broken, or even sell you a brand new easier to use lawn mower. Whatever your needs we can help you take care of your lawn more easily and help you choose the fertilizers that will help you keep it green all year long.

Growing Watermelon in Arizona

Growing Watermelon in Arizona

If you thinking of growing watermelon in Arizona, this article is for you. Watermelon is synonymous with summer and is served at just about every backyard BBQ and 4th of July party you go to.  It is an easy-to-grow crop which yields incredible flavor and is one of the largest edible fruits.

Watermelon Seed Varieties

There are 4 main categories of watermelons that most people buy or grow today. These are icebox, picnic, yellow, and seedless watermelons.  Icebox watermelons are the smallest which range from 5 to 15 pounds.  Seedless watermelons are a little bigger and will usually grow to between 10 and 20 pounds. The picnic watermelon is the largest of them and will grow under the right conditions to between 15 and 20 pounds.

Watermelon Options

There is a wide variety of hybrid and heirloom seeds available to the Arizona home gardener which gives the power of choice for the pattern, color, size, and flesh colors. The flesh colors you eat can be the iconic bright red all the way to nearly white. Rinds are also available from dark or light green to mottled, stripped, or solid colors.

How To Grow Watermelon

Having your own fresh watermelon for the summer is a wonderful way to enjoy the fruits of your gardening labor.   Planning the space you will need, variety of seeds, and knowing how to water your watermelon are some of the key points to success.

Soil Preparation

Watermelon needs to have good soil and fertilizer to grow well. Soil should be amended with organic matter like compost or animal manure.  Soil should also be enriched with fertilizer which is well balanced and rich with nitrogen.

Watermelon Vine Spacing

Watermelon vines are known for growing quickly and spreading out. They can reach lengths up to about 20 feet.  This means you need to choose areas in your landscape that afford room to your watermelon.  Avoid planting too close to other crops or ornamental plants as the vine might fight for space. There should be about 4 feet between your watermelon seed plants in a row, and 8 feet between rows.  Space is a challenge in growing watermelon, start out with plenty and you’ll thank yourself.

Planting Your Seeds

Once you have chosen the seeds you want to plant from your local nursery you need soil that isn’t too cold. It is best to wait until the soil is 70°F or warmer, which isn’t typically a problem in Arizona. The soil needs to be warm for the seeds to properly germinate and grow. Small hills should be made and about 9 seeds should be pushed 1 inch deep in the top of each of the hills.

Watermelon Watering

Watermelons have deeper roots than most people expect and need to be watered deeply.  This is especially important in the desert heat of Arizona. Soil probes can be purchased to keep track of how deeply the soil is saturated.  Keeping track of your watering schedule helps create plans that are easy to follow and will help you be successful.

Harvesting Your Watermelon

Once the work and wait is done it is time to enjoy your watermelon, but knowing when they are ready can be tricky.  In hot summer weather when watermelon are generally being grown it only takes about 32 days for the watermelon to be ripe after the plant blooms.

How To Tell When Watermelon Is Ripe

Tendril Ripe – Many experienced gardeners watch for a tendril which is located closest to the main stem. A tendril is a stem of modified leaf which grows as a spirally slender coil.  As soon as this tendril dries up and turns brown your watermelon is ripe.

Sound Ripe – Another method a lot of people like is tapping on the watermelon and waiting for a nice soft hollow sound. They do this by slapping, tapping, or thumping their melons.

Appearance Ripe – One of the most reliable ways for gardeners to know when the watermelon is ripe to harvest is watching the bottom of the melon where they touch the ground. This spot many times starts as a near white look and will turn to a rich yellow as the watermelon matures.  The skin of the watermelon also changes appearance from having a slick shiny surface to one that is more dull.

Watermelon Handling

Watermelons can be ruined with rough handling. They should never be dropped, bumped, or rolled.  If gardeners are not careful with their watermelon there can be bruising of the flesh inside the watermelon.

Storing Watermelon

While watermelon is best served chilled, uncut watermelon need to be stored with temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Watermelon which is exposed to temperatures above 90 or below 50 for too long will have deterioration of the flesh.

East Phoenix Valley Gardening Supply

A&P Nursery has been planting, growing, and harvesting plants in Arizona for many years. We have the knowledge, right tools, fertilizers, and everything you need to get started in growing watermelon here in Arizona. We can help you plant the type you want, where to plant them, and help you understand how to keep them watered and fertilized for the best results. Call or stop by one of our 4 east valley locations today!

Growing Shrubs in Arizona

Growing Shrubs in Arizona

If you are searching “Growing Shrubs in Arizona” you are probably looking for the types of shrubs that grow well in state of Arizona or you are wondering how to best use them for your landscape.  Well laid out designs utilize shrubs to provide a backdrop for featured plants and incorporate flowering shrubs as focal points.

Types of Shrubs To Plant

There are a lot of different kinds of shrubs to choose from. Some do better than others in Arizona and cope with the heat.  With the right attention and care most types of shrubs can be grown successfully in the state, so we have chosen to highlight a selection that is geared well for easier care.  These shrub options include incredibly vibrant coloring flowers and will provide excellent visual interest to your landscape.


Chuparosa Shrub ArizonaThe Chuparosa is a native to the desert and grows well in the heat of Arizona.  This plant grows well in full sun and when mature will grow to about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.  The Chuparosa flowers bloom in the late winter to spring and vary in color from red to orange. The plant has great landscaping benefits as it doesn’t drop litter, is pool friendly, and attracts wildlife.

Firecracker Bush

Firecracker Bush Shrub ArizonaThe Firecracker Bush puts a bang in your landscape of vibrant summer color. The red orange flowers of this shrub grow well in full or partial sun. The shrub will grow to about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide with medium green foliage.  This option has no thorns and only has a low natural litter from pedals and leaves.  This bush also attracts wildlife with the brightly colored flowers and is sure to impress.

Flame Honeysuckle

Flame Honeysuckle Shrub ArizonaThe Flame Honeysuckle is a favorite with landscapers as it has incredibly vibrant color and incredible hardiness for cooler weather. This hardiness makes it a great option for the areas of Arizona which experience below freezing temperatures. The bright red-orange flowers emerge in summer and late fall and are great for attracting wildlife. The size of a full grown Flame Honeysuckle is about 3 feet high by 4 feet wide.

Langman’s Sage

Langman’s Sage Shrub ArizonaThe Langman’s Sage features incredibly pretty lavender flowers that grow dense on its branches. The plant grows well in both full and reflected sun and weathers cold well, down to 10°F. This great burst of color and great hardiness make it a favorite for areas of Arizona that experience colder weather. The shrub grows to about 5 feet high by 5 feet wide and blooms out in summer and fall. This shrub is pool friendly with very little natural litter.

Shrubby Senna

Shrubby Senna Shrub ArizonaThe Shrubby Senna enjoys full sun to grow in but also has incredible hardiness and can endure down to 10°F.  This shrub will grow to about 4 feet high and about 6 feet in width. Flowering occurs in summer and features incredibly vibrant yellow blooms.  This shrub does not have thorns and also attracts wildlife to your landscape.

Planting Your Shrubs

Once you have the shrubs picked out for your landscape at your local shrub nursery you just have to get the home and get them in the ground.  Most nurseries have shrub planting services or can help arrange professional landscaping companies to come and plant your shrubs. Many gardeners and property owners also enjoy doing this work themselves. Here is a quick over view of how to plant your shrub yourself.

Planning The Area

Shrubs tend to grow to about 4 or 5 feet wide.  Plan your landscape and garden for the full mature size of your shrubs and don’t get them too close to structures or other plants.

Dig The Holes

The hole should be dug about 2 or 3 times the width of the root ball. This allows the roots to spread out easier and grow properly. The depth of the hole should be the same as the height of the root ball.

Plant Your Shrub

Take the shrub out of the pot or burlap sack and inspect your root ball. Generally while growing in pots the roots will be compressed against the sides of the pot. If the shrub has its roots bound up too tightly you can use a knife or pruners to loosen and divide the roots. Once you have done this you can set the shrub in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding dirt. Return all of the soil which was in the hole and gently press the soil to help gets rid of air pockets.

Early Watering for Shrubs

This is one of the most important steps in planting new plants and shrubs. You need to water the plant immediately after you have the soil back in the ground around your new shrub. This minimizes the shock the plant experiences and helps ensure it is hydrated.

Add Mulch

Mulch helps plants grow all over the country and does so in Arizona. We tend to use it a little differently as we have a different kind of soil. In Arizona it is usually best to use mulch as a 2 inch layer on top of the soil rather than included in the soil. This layer helps retain water and makes the plant more drought resistant. Click here: For more information about Improving Clay Soil in Arizona.

Caring For Your Shrubs

Once your shrubs are in the ground you will want to continue to care for and protect your investment. Shrubs will provide amazing landscaping value and bursts of color when cared for properly. Follow the guidelines below or contact your local nursery for more information.


If you have chosen low water use desert shrubs you will be able to use less water and easier plant care. Watering should be done so that it covers a radius around the plant which extends about a foot wider than the canopy of the plant.

Shrub Watering Guide

There are four seasons with drastically different temperatures which affects how much water is appropriate. Many plants also hibernate in winter and require less water. We will outline watering for shrubs for all 4 seasons below.

Watering Shrubs in Arizona

  • Spring – Every 3 to 6 weeks
  • Summer – Every 2 to 4 weeks
  • Fall – Every 3 to 6 weeks
  • Winter – Every 5 to 7 weeks

All watering should be increased in times of extreme heat or extended drought. These guidelines are for desert adapted plants.  Shrubs that are not acclimated or native to the desert will require more frequent watering. Soil probes can be used to gauge when to water. If your probe only will penetrate about 4 inches of soil, it is time to water.

East Phoenix Valley Shrub Nursery

If you are looking for shrubs that are sure to thrive in the desert, choose those that were are grown here to begin with. A&P Nursery grows their stock right here in the valley, so you can bet that the plants are already accustomed to the heat, soil, and dry conditions that are naturally found in the Phoenix valley.

We have 4 locations that are in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek, Arizona. We have the shrubs, soil, tools, and expert staff which will make it easy to plan your landscape, get everything planted, and care for it properly. Contact us by phone today or stop by one of our locations.

Improving Clay Soil in Arizona

Improving Clay Soil in Arizona

If you are searching “improving clay soil” because you are trying to grow a better landscape or garden in Arizona, this article is for you. It is normal for low desert soils to have high clay content, high pH, and low organic material. This leads to soil which is very alkaline, or salty.

High clay content does help the soil retain nutrients and water yet can stare it of oxygen and makes digging holes more difficult. In contrast some areas have sandy soil which also contains low organic material and will not hold moisture.

Working With Mother Nature

Classifications of soil like clay, sand, or silt are a reference to the texture of the soil, which is just about impossible to change. Instead of trying to fight Mother Nature and her desert landscape Arizona gardeners can choose plants which are accustomed to the conditions and will grow well. Choosing plants for your garden that prefer the acidic and loose soils of the eastern United States usually ends with frustration and choosing replacement plants.

Organic Material & Arizona

While a lot of gardening guides recommend the enrichment of soil with lots of organic material which adds nutrients to the soil and improves water retention and penetration, it is not ideal for Arizona. Other regions benefit from such treatments but here the alkaline soils cause organic material to decompose much more rapidly which can actually harm your plants.

Where it should be used

Mulch can and should be used in Arizona landscapes, just not IN the soil. It is a great addition to top the layers of your soil which will provide temperature regulation, help retain moisture, and reduce the growth of weeds.

How it should be used

Mulch can be spread out so it extends to the same diameter of the branches in a layer which is about 2 to 3 inches deep. Avoid letting organic material making direct contact with stems or the trunks of trees. If plants are desired which prefer the acidic soils of the eastern United States it is best to grow them in large containers where the soil’s makeup can be closely monitored and adjusted.

Mulch for vegetable gardens & flower beds

Vegetables and flowers are exceptions to being potentially damaged by rapid decomposition of organic matter in your soil. You can incorporate the organic materials each year by adding 3 inches of it into the soil and mixing it thoroughly.

Types of Organic Material

There are a lot of various organic materials which can be used to help gardens in Arizona. Many of them we either already have on hand or can purchase inexpensively from local nurseries.


Mulch is a combination which includes clippings from yards and other common waste products from homes. This can include leaves, grass clippings, hay, scraps from the kitchen, straw, sawdust, shredded newspaper, woodchips, cardboard and more.


While leaves are a common ingredient in mulch they fall naturally around our yards and plants. Leaving them when they lay under your plants provides incredible nutrient value. As they naturally decompose on the surface of the soil the nutrients will be added to your soil slowly.


You can make your own or buy it as your local nursery. It is typically made from produce waste or leaves which helps provide moisture retention but doesn’t carry with it excessive nutrients.


While it can be very beneficial to your plants it must be from the right animals and aged properly. It should come from vegetable eating animals like cows, horses, sheep, chickens or rabbits and have been aged for 6 months to a year.

Shredded Bark

Shredded bark is a popular landscaping material which provides a layer of protection from the sun and helps hold in some moisture on incredibly hot days. You can purchase it as your local nursery or if you have had a tree removed you might have some on hand.

Phoenix Valley Nurseries

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want to make the most of your landscape and garden A&P Nursery is here to help. We grow our plants right here in the East Phoenix Valley and sell them at 4 locations. Our team of nursery staff and expert gardeners love to help Arizona residents learn about what grows best, how to make that happen, and help equip gardeners with the best knowledge and tools available. Call or visit one of our 4 locations in the East Valley for more information or to get your garden started.

Growing Hydrangea In Arizona

Growing Hydrangea In Arizona

Are you searching for “Growing Hydrangea In Arizona” because you want to add one of the most beautiful shrubs to your landscape? If so, A&P Nursery can help. Hydrangea, for the uninitiated gardener, is a genus of about 70 species of flowering plants. They are native to the Americas and the south and east of Asia. Generally the shrubs grow to about 3 feet to 9 feet tall, yet some species can grow as high as near 100 feet. While the greatest diversity of Hydrangea exists in Asia, we can still find, plant, and grow beautiful examples right here in Arizona, as long as we choose the right Hydrangea species.

Selecting The Right Hydrangea

Arizona covers USDA zones 5 through 10 and can get quite hot in the southwest area of the state. The Hydrangea is rated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a 3 through 9 in hardiness depending on the species. This means for the hotter areas of Arizona, like Phoenix, certain species are better and will grant the gardener with greater success. If you want to check which hardiness zone your zip code is in, please click here.

Heat Tolerant Hydrangea Species

If you want to choose a species that will work anywhere in Arizona you might choose from the following: Bigleaf Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea, or Smooth Hydrangea. All of these species are rated for the various climates that are found in Arizona and will thrive as long as their other needs are met.

Bigleaf Hydrangea

While being native to Japan the Bigleaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub which grows to about 7 feet tall by about 8 feet wide. They bloom out with flowers in the summer and autumn with large blue or pink heads of flowers. In landscaping people love it for being a boarder or planting it at the back of a flower bed. With its large size, and rich foliage it makes a great backdrop for your annuals or perennials.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

A native to the Americas this Hydrangea species grows wild in the Southeastern United States in places like Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It is also a deciduous shrub that features white showy flower heads and is widely used in gardening and landscaping. This plant is common planted near large trees such as magnolias, oaks, hickory, and others.

Smooth Hydrangea

The Smooth Hydrangea is also known as the Sevenbark, or wild hydrangea and is native to the Eastern United States. It native area of growth stretches from southern New York all the way to the panhandle of Florida and out into the flatlands of Kansas and Oklahoma. They typically grow to about 10 feet tall when mature and bloom out with flowers around May and June. Smooth Hydrangea is used extensively as an ornamental landscaping plant and was even used medicinally by Native Americans.

Choosing Where To Plant

Depending on which of the species you chose to purchase you will need more, or less shade. Both the Smooth and Oakleaf Hydrangea prefer part shade. While the Bigleaf Hydrangea grows well with direct sunlight with afternoon shade that helps reduce wilting. If you are going to plant your Hydrangea in full sun in Arizona you might consider planting the Panicle Hydrangea, which can withstand the greatest sun of any Hydrangea species. Ultimately you should talk with your plant nursery specialist about your landscape layout and where your favorite hydrangea will grow best based on how tall your house is, and the landscape layout.

Preparing Soil For Hydrangeas

Arizona’s soil isn’t much like the native areas of the Hydrangea such as the Eastern United States or Asia.  Our desert environment tends to not have the organic matter needed to grow the Hydrangea successfully. The soil should be amended with a 1-2 inch layer of compost across the surface of the soil. Compost then should be worked into the top foot of soil. The addition of organic material helps provide the nutrients needed and also assists with drainage in clay or compacted soils.

How To Plant Your Hydrangea

While it is possible to plant Hydrangea year round the best time of year to plant them is when it is cooler. The fall, winter, and spring are preferable and the earlier the better to give the root system a chance to develop before the heat sets in for the summer.

Digging The Hole

Once the soil is amended, dig a hole which is the same height as the root ball and about 3 times the width. Hydrangea as a rule should be planted about 6 feet away from other plants so it will have room to mature.


Set your Hydrangea in the center of your hole and return the soil around the root ball. Once the dirt has been returned you will want to mound up a ring of soil around your root ball which is about 3 inches high. This mini moat will keep water near the root ball and help you avoid drought problems.

Mulch & Watering

A layer of mulch that is about 3 inches deep should be used around the base and the Hydrangea should be watered thoroughly. Soil should be kept moist yet not saturated consistently for the first months after you plant your Hydrangea.

Continuing Care Tips

Watering – Most of the time 1 inch of water a day is enough for the Hydrangea, yet in especially hot weather doubling that amount to 2 inches per day helps avoid wilt. The leaves of the Hydrangea are prone to leaf spot disease which is caused by watering their leaves, so try to keep all of your watering on the soil.

Fertilizing – The Hydrangea has a moderate fertilizer need and should be treated with a slow release dry fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio and 2 cups per every 100 square feet in the spring once the plant beings to green up and once again when they begin to flower.

Buying Your Hydrangea

If you live in the Phoenix area in cities like Gilbert, Queen Creek, or Mesa, Arizona you can visit one of our 4 convenient East Valley locations to get help choosing the species, location, and even choose to have professionals transport and plant your Hydrangea. We make gardening and landscaping easy and enjoyable for our customers with tailored advice and services for every gardening need.  Stop by or call one of our locations listed below and we will be happy to help you select and plant your Hydrangea in Arizona.