One of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime is to sell your home. And getting your house ready for resale is vital to a quick and successful sale, especially when many parts of the country are experiencing a buyers market. In addition to the remodeling projects and staging that you’re preparing inside the home, remember that the very first impression a prospective buyer gets is the moment they drive up. A lackluster lawn can cost you in the end.
Having a clean and well-maintained front lawn goes a long way to creating interest. Fall is the perfect time to repair summer-damaged lawns and prepare for the winter season. Fall lawn care is also your window to a spectacular lawn come springtime, which just happens to be prime selling season.
According to a Michigan State University study, good landscaping can increase your home’s value by 5 to 11 percent. By far the biggest component of your landscape is the grass. Outside Pride, an online landscaping information source, provides some easy tips to maintaining a gorgeous turf.
First of all, loosen up and let it breathe. Your lawn needs air to grow. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t see the grass due to leaf coverage, then it’s time to remove debris from the yard. Raking leaves and clippings will enable air and sun to reach your growing grass.
Secondly, drive out drought damage. Summer’s drought leaves many lawns across the country straw-colored and dormant. To help your lawn recover, fertilize it every eight weeks with a slow-release fertilizer. A lawn that has the proper nutrients grows dense and deep. It will also green up faster.
Next, continue to feed the need. Even lawns not stricken by drought need nourishment in the fall. Fall feeding can bring dramatic improvements as the lawn recovers from summer damage. Fertilizers help “winterize” the lawn, storing vital nutrients so that underground root development can continue until the ground freezes. This readies the lawn for fuller growth next spring. Two feedings in the fall are recommended for northern lawns, while southern lawns are best-fed four to six weeks before the first frost occurs.
And lastly, always overseed. Overseeding, the spreading of grass seed directly onto soil, can improve a lawn’s appearance dramatically and eliminate the need for a total lawn renovation. Pay special attention to weak spots in the yard. Early fall is the prime time to overseed because the warm soil promotes rapid seed growth.
Keep in mind too that cutting a lawn too short stresses the plant, increases its need for fertilizer and water, and weakens its roots. John Stier, professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin recommends cutting your grass between two and a half and three inches high.
Aside from promoting a healthy lawn, it can make your lawn appear more lush to buyers. Unfortunately, the highest setting on some older lawn mowers is barely two inches, which gives you the perfect excuse to buy a new machine. They can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 for a walk-behind and $1,000 to $3,000 for a riding mower.
If you follow these simple steps and don’t neglect much-needed fall lawn care, you’ll be amazed in the appearance of your lawn through the season. And you’ll see a dramatic difference by spring. For more information on fall lawn care, you can visit outsidepride.com .
Written by Tara Darby