Do you want to boost your home’s curb appeal and attract home buyers?

A healthy lawn can boost your home’s curb appeal and possibly attract home buyers.

by Dan Krell © 2011

If you’re planning to list your home this spring, don’t forget to take care of your lawn. A healthy and properly groomed lawn can make your home more appealing and boost the home’s curb appeal.

Taking care of your yard doesn’t have to be overwhelming; after all it’s not rocket science. However, there is a science to fertilizing and mowing the lawn. Whether you decide to go it alone or hire a lawn care company, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) offers a guide to proper lawn maintenance and Maryland’s Nutrient Management Law to limit the impact to the environment (

Great care must be taken when fertilizing your lawn. Improper use of fertilizer can not only affect the environment, it can also harm your family and pets as well. Fertilizer should be applied when the grass is growing, and be avoided when the grass is dormant. Fertilizer should not be applied when a heavy rainfall is forecasted, when the ground is frozen, or during a drought because it could cause unwanted runoff into the watershed. Because most residential lawns in Maryland are comprised of cool season grasses (which can grow throughout the year) the MDA recommends that the bulk of the fertilizer application be in the fall to help the lawn recover from “summer stresses.”

In addition to following MDA recommended fertilizing application, lawn maintenance also includes proper mowing. It is recommended that you not cut off more than one-third of the grass blade at any given time. Most experts suggest that the appropriate length for many of the cool season grasses is 2.5 to 3 inches. Following recommended mowing guidelines can reduce weed growth by 80%.

If you prefer to water your lawn, infrequent watering for long duration is recommended because frequent brief watering promotes shallow root growth as well as encouraging weeds. During hot and dry weather, however, your lawn could go dormant; lawn experts don’t recommend watering dormant grass.

Sometimes, aerating your lawn is a good idea; especially if your lawn has become compacted. Through the use of a specialized tool, air, water and nutrients are readily absorbed into the ground; which promotes grass root growth and strengthening.

If you’re concerned about dead or brown patches in your lawn, the repair may not be complicated; however the causes should be resolved prior to the repair. Some common causes of brown patches include (but not limited to) animal urine, drought, or inappropriate fertilizer/herbicide application.

If you prefer to hire a company to maintain their lawn, it’s ok. Many people are just too busy, or physically incapable of properly maintaining their yards. Before hiring a lawn care company, the MDA recommends you do your homework; ask for referrals and get at least three estimates. Make sure the companies are licensed with the MDA. Besides comparing costs, compare the services provided as well as the quality of the materials used. Once hired, make sure you point out environmentally sensitive areas and ask for advance notice of pesticide applications.

Taking proper care of your lawn can not only ensure a healthy green covering, but can also enhance your home’s curb appeal. However, following recommended guidelines as well as adhering to the Maryland Nutrient Management Law, you not only get a healthier lawn; you also minimize the environmental impact.

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Comments are welcome. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of May 2, 2011. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2011 Dan Krell.