By Maura Keller
For many homeowners, landscaping is as simple as putting in a tree here, a flowerbed there. For others, gardening and lawn care has evolved into a sophisticated process. Some homeowners are willing to invest as much time and money on the outside appearance of their homes as they dedicate to their home’s interior.
Whether you are hoping for a big harvest, a beautiful landscape or a lush lawn, knowing the “when” and “how” of gardening and lawn care on your property is paramount.
Northern Wisconsin gardeners face extreme cold and an even shorter growing season. Gardeners in the southern area of the state face unreliable snow cover and fluctuating winter temperatures. And all face untimely snowstorms, flooding and drought.
Melinda Myers, a Mukwonago-based gardening expert, author and TV/radio host with over 30 years of horticulture experience, says it’s vital that homeowners plan before planting. “You are less likely to overbuy and purchase the wrong plants if you start with a plan,” Myers says.
Summer is the time of year to watch plants burst into vibrant blooms—often at different times. As Kittleson explains, for areas of your landscape that lack color, go to a nursery and find some perennials that are flowering at this time.
“There are plenty of perennials to choose from that will give you a stronger color in the late summer and fall when some of those shrubs are just looking green,” Kittleson says.
Also, be sure your lawn is fed throughout the whole growing season.
“Think of it as if you are eating a balanced meal all year long versus one really rich meal and then nothing after that,” Kittleson says. “If you dump a bunch of fertilizer [on your lawn] in the springtime and then do not do any more throughout the rest of the season, it will cause your grass to [be] stressed and be more likely [to encourage] disease in your lawn.”
For owners of lake homes, Myers says it is important to always keep the health of the lake in mind.
“Growing a healthy lawn and gardens can help keep water and any dust and pollutants on the property and out of the lake,” Myers says. “Do not discard pond plants in the lake, as non-native and invasive plants damage our water quality. And avoid harmful chemicals that may end up in the lake.”
When the growing season winds down, there are some key tasks that will help protect your lawn and garden during the cold months.
AUTUMN TASK LIST:
To keep up your lawn and garden maintenance, even cold-weather tasks will help preserve your hard work.
WINTER WRAP-UP ITEMS:
PRUNING SHEARS AND LOPPERS
Buy a high-quality pruner with sharpened blades and well-balanced grips. Loppers are essentially long-handled pruning shears that are used for trimming shrubs and trees.
SHOVEL OR SPADE
If you do a lot of planting, buy a high- quality, curved digging shovel or straight- edge spade.
If you plant a lot of annuals, perennials and flower bulbs, a bulb auger—or earth auger, as they’re sometimes called—will become your best friend. Attach the auger to your hand-held drill and you’re ready to dig hundreds of holes in a short amount of time.
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our four publications cover the picturesque lake communities of Lake Geneva, Madison, Lake Country and Northwoods.
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