Boerner Botanical Gardens tips on winterizing lawns, gardens

HALES CORNERS -- Labor Day has come and gone, and for some, Labor Day signifies the unofficial end to summer. With the end of summer comes the end of the summer gardening season, and officials at Boerner Botanical Gardens are offering tips to winterize gardens and lawns.

A good way to begin is planting some grass seed.

"Any of those bare areas that came about because of the drought, rough that area out, put some seed down, put a little straw on top of that, and keep it watered. It's a great time for that seed to germinate," Boerner Botanical Gardens Director Shirley Walczak said.

Before winter hits, experts say it's a good idea to wrap trees to protect them from mice, voles, or rabbits eating the tender bark around them.

Also, perennials should no longer be pruned.

"We don't want to stimulate a lot of new growth. We want the energy to go back to the roots and have them store their sugars so that they're hearty and have a better chance of making it through the winter," Walczak said.

Although annuals may look beautiful now, after the first frost of the season they'll need to go to the compost pile.

"We also clean up the gardens so that we can plant our bulbs so that we have spring flowers for everyone next May," Walczak said.

Experts say there is still some time to enjoy the garden before winter arrives. Plants and trees should be properly cared for, so they'll bloom beautifully come spring.

Those interested in learning more about winterizing gardens can head to Boerner Botanical Gardens at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 5th. Horticulturist Amber Liss will be leading a walk to give advice and answer questions.