All Things Real Estate: Preparing your lawn for the fall for optimum curb appeal

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If your exterior looks as good as your interior, fantastic, then you can stop reading! However, if this is not the case then read on. When a purchaser drives by your home, what will they first think if the outside of your property doesn’t reflect the superb condition of the inside (which they haven’t yet seen)?

They might just keep driving, especially if you haven’t posted any pictures or maybe things don’t jive with what they are seeing in person and the photos posted online. Fall is approaching so you better get going and start planning what you can do to make the property look more alluring and saleable.

We are very fortunate this year with the amount of rainfall we have had locally on Long Island. I may have put on my sprinklers three, maybe four times this entire summer. So I see less brown spots around my neighborhood than previous summers. However, if you have damage from grubs, chinch bugs, sod webworm or any forms of fungus diseases (from overwatering), then some remedies do exist.

First, determine what bug damage you may have by checking the turf by putting a metal can open on both ends and pushing it into the lawn and filling it with water. If chinch bugs still exist, they will float to the top of the water within the can).

If you are able to pull back the brown turf area and notice little gray curled up worms with brown noses, then you have grub damage. As far as fungus diseases, the season is about over and I wouldn’t consider applying anything unless it is determined that something severe is present.

I also don’t recommend a homeowner applying any chemicals, unless they are well versed and read instructions carefully. The necessary materials should be determined and applied by a licensed and insured state Department of Environment Conservation) applicator who will know to what extent the damage is and exactly what to do.

Once the damage is rectified after a three to seven day period, then the existing dead areas need to be removed and/or mechanical thatching should be considered. However, this can be done by hand if you want the exercise, but using a machine will do a much more thorough job.

However, on a cool morning or early evenings I would also suggest that you spray all the weeds (ask you professional or go to one of the big box garden centers for advice or check online) prior to the removal of the dead grasses.

You can do this at the same time that the insect application is first applied then the weed control can be followed up with. The next process will be to apply 1-4 lbs per thousand square feet of high-quality seed, a mix of perennial ryes, hybrid bluegrasses and tall fescues in the sunniest of areas and in mostly shade seed in the areas that lack a sufficient amount of sunlight.

The higher the concentration of damage the more seed will need to be applied. if minimal damage exists, then spot seeding may only be necessary. Then lastly, fertilize with a 32-7-5 balanced slow-release organic fertilizer.

This will enhance the seedlings to grow, build a strong root, tiller and rhizome system throughout the fall, late fall and winter months. Water your lawn care for ten to twenty minutes per zone daily until the grass sprouts and then every other day.

You can place a straight-sided can on your lawn and when you see one inch of water accumulating inside it, then you will know you have water the ground six to eight inches deep and know the amount of time it took to set your clock or however you do it. Obviously, when it rains, skip that day and make sure your automatic sprinklers have a rain shut off device, (since it has been the law for many, many years) so they do not turn on. Why waste our precious water?

I have seen sprinkler systems working during rainstorms and wonder why these homeowners aren’t aware of this happening? A green lush lawn will always be much more appealing to a purchaser, especially when they drive by to check out your property.

As far as landscaping and adding trees and ornamental shrubs, I will follow up with another column on that subject matter. Remember, when selling, the buyers will be very critical of your home if it is not presented properly, especially with prices softening and you want to receive the best return on your property.
Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 Great Neck. He has earned designations as a graduate of the Realtor Institute and a Certified International Property Specialist.
He can be reached by email, at:Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com, or by cell: (516) 647-4289.

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