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The Monsoon: How It Affects Arizona's Landscape

Photo by PuppypawsAZ on Pixabay

You can’t escape the weather, especially in the state of Arizona. It’s hot and dry for almost half the year, making it seem like we don’t even have a monsoon season. But that is not the case; we just get an extended break from it during those scorching summer months. The monsoon season in Arizona brings relief from triple digit temperatures and a steady supply of moisture to keep our plants happy. In this blog post, you will learn about how this weather phenomenon affects the local ecosystem and what you can do to get ready for it!

What is the Monsoon Season?

The monsoon season is a period marked by heavy rain and thunderstorms during the summer months. That’s a pretty basic definition, but it covers all you need to know! This weather pattern is characterized by an increase in humidity and winds that allow for the transfer of water vapor from the ocean to the land. It can also bring stronger winds, lightning, and hail. Although monsoons are common in many tropical regions, they are not universal. The Asian and African monsoons, for example, are found only in a few areas of the world. In North America, the monsoon season occurs in the southwestern United States, including Arizona.

Image by Keli Black from Pixabay

Why Does the Monsoon Season Matter to Arizonans?

The monsoon season affects Arizona more than any other state because of our unique location. Because we are so far west, the summer monsoon season affects us more than states that are further east. The monsoon season is vital to the survival of many living things, but humans rely on it the most. Here are just a few of the many ways in which the monsoon season affects ArizIncreased Water Supply - A steady stream of moisture is critical for the survival of most plant species, especially those native to arid regions like the desert Southwest. These plants store water for the long months when little or no rain falls, and the monsoon delivers a much-needed boost that allows them to survive. Decreased Air Temperature - The flow of moist ocean air into the Southwest results in a decrease in air temperature, which is especially welcome after the long hot summer. In places like Tucson, where temperatures often exceed 100 degrees, a drop of 10 degrees or more can make a big difference.

How Does the Monsoon Affect Arizona’s Environment?

The monsoon season is crucial to the survival of the many plants and animals that live in the Sonoran Desert. Some of these creatures, including the Sonoran pronghorn, the giant saguaro cactus, and the giant desert tortoise, are found nowhere else in the world. In order to survive in the desert, these plants and animals have developed a number of interesting adaptations. Many desert plants have special water-storing roots that allow them to survive during long periods when no rain falls. Other plants, such as cacti and some shrubs, store water in their fleshy leaves. These plants can take advantage of sudden showers that would be too short-lived to be useful to other types of plants. Desert wildlife, like the giant desert tortoise, survives the long dry months by finding a place to hide until the rains come. Some animals, like the Gila monster, find their food supply greatly increases when the monsoon floods the desert with new insects and small animals.

Image by timeflies1955 from Pixabay

When Does the Monsoon Start in AZ?

Arizona's monsoon season kicks off in late June and ends in late August. In the Tucson area, the monsoon season arrives earliest in mid-June while other parts of the state begin the monsoon season in mid-August. The exact timing of the monsoon is influenced by a variety of factors, including the strength of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle and topographical features such as the Mogollon mountain range. There is no way to predict when the first monsoon storm will arrive. However, you can use weather forecasts to determine when the most likely time for the monsoon to arrive is.

How Does the Monsoon Affect Landscaping?

Landscapers in Tucson and Phoenix welcome the monsoon season and the cooler temperatures. We don’t usually have to worry about the dry months because we get a long break from the monsoon season. During this time, we can focus on clean ups, irrigation repairs, pre-emergent spraying, and getting ready for the upcoming season! The monsoon season is when things really start to get interesting for us. There is a surge in demand for landscaping services during the monsoon season. People are excited to see green again, so they want to get their outdoor spaces ready for the summer! If you are looking to have your property cleaned up, irrigation system checked or repairs made, pre-emergent services to help control weeds or any other landscaping service, you will want to make sure you contact your landscaper soon.


The monsoon season is a critical time of year for all Arizonans, whether they’re employed in agriculture or work in an urban area. The steady supply of water and decrease in air temperature during this period make Arizona a much more livable place. Make sure you are prepared for the monsoon season by checking your home, landscaping, and irrigation systems. This will help minimize any damage that may be caused by the monsoon season. Call us at (520) 370-5697 if we can help you with any of your summer landscaping or irrigation projects.

Deborah Munoz-Chacon, Certified Arborist

Sonoran Oasis Landscaping


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