Want class A curb appeal lawn next year? Start prepping now

Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President


2023 NETAR President
Association Spokesperson

It may not officially be fall yet, but: 

-The fall foliage maps are making the rounds on the web. 

– A sweater in the morning sure feels good.  

-Schools are back in session. 

And, the Vols launched their 2023 season with a resounding victory over Virginia.  

The Fall Equinox won’t arrive until Sept. 23, but that’s just a technicality. For all practical purposes, Fall is here and even with all the fun changes and things to do, it isn’t a time for homeowners to ignore their lawns. That’s doubly true for anyone considering waiting for mortgage rates to ease off and prepping for the 2024 prime spring buying and selling season. A great lawn is a significant point in that all-important curb view. Experts say a killer lawn and great landscaping can add 15 percent to a property’s value. 

The folks who write for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) HouseLogic web page cite four basic steps for a great lawn because the grass you start growing now is what will be there in the spring. 

The first of the four basic steps is aeration. It’s a regular feature for golf course maintenance and one reason those fairways and greens always look so good. Aeration prevents the soil from getting compacted and covered with thatch that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients.  

 If your lawn gets a lot of use, children at play, for example, it should be aerated twice a year. Many owners with large lawns contract with a service for the aeration chores. 

The basic function of aerations is perforating the soil with small holes that allow air, water, and nutrients to get to the grassroots. It also cuts down on the growing room competition between new grass and weeds. The job is accomplished with a hand aerating tool for plugging small sections or a motorized aerating machine that can be rented at most equipment rentals. 

Seeding is Number Two on the list. The best time to seed is when the soil temperature is about 55 degrees. This is done in the fall because fall and winter are prime times for grassroots growth. To get germination working, water every day for 10 to days after seeding. 

Step Number Three is fertilizing. One of the best ways to help next year’s grass survive the winter is with a late fall fertilization. It should happen before the first frost. Use a fertilizer with at least 10 percent to 15 percent phosphorus for the best results.  

Last, on the four-step fall lawn care list is mulching.  

Instead of raking the leaves that will – or already have fallen – make several passes over them with the lawnmower. That grinds them into mulch that protects the grass from the winter elements and decomposes into organic matter than feeds the roods. If you’re serious about it, mulching blades are available for many mowers. It will chop and grind the leaves into a finer texture. 

You should also continue mowing until the first hard frost. Double-check with a local home center for the ideal length for the various grass species. It’s usually two to three inches.  

HouseLogic is a free source of information and tools from the NAR that homeowners can use for smart and timely decisions about their homes and how to take care of them. It covers topics like home improvement, maintenance, taxes, finance, insurance, and owners’ suggestions to get involved in enriching their communities. The website can be found at https://www.houselogic.com/ 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us