Adding Trees & Shrubs to Your Landscaping Before Selling
Trees and shrubs are good for curb appeal and good for your property in general. Shade from trees can make a yard and house more comfortable during times of hot weather, while shrubs add visual interest to the lawn. If your property has no shrubs or trees, planting well-chosen specimens on your lawn may make your home more attractive to buyers, and could potentially increase your property value.
Of course you’ll want to check with your agent to see if such a move will be cost-effective but, assuming you’ve gotten your second opinion already, here are some tips for choosing and maintaining these new plants.
Choosing the Right Trees and Shrubs
Choosing the right trees and shrubs for your property will help ensure that the plants will grow successfully. As you select plants for your property, take into consideration the needs of potential buyers.
- Avoid Trees That Drop Nuts, Fruits and Seeds on the Lawn: Plants that make a mess on the sidewalk, driveway or in the grass may be considered more of a nuisance than a benefit.
- Choose Trees and Shrubs That can Grow Well in Your Climate and on Your Property: Check the USDA zone of each plant before making your purchase. In addition, consider the growing conditions on your property. For example, if your yard falls into shade because of large trees on surrounding properties, choosing shade-tolerant specimens for your property will ensure the health of your trees and shrubs.
- Look for Specimens That Require Little Maintenance Once Established: Although some buyers enjoy working in the garden, many buyers prefer landscaping that requires little pruning and fertilizing.
- Avoid Water-Loving Trees and Trees With Invasive Roots: Some trees simply love water. Poplars, willows, silver maples and elms are all species that are known for having invasive roots, meaning that their roots will grow aggressively in search of moisture. Planting these trees on your property may result in roots growing into your sewer or your home’s foundation, especially during times of drought. These trees are considered less of a benefit and more of a burden, especially when planted too close to your home and sewer lines.
Picking a Location for Your New Plants
You know what they say: location, location, location. Picking the right spot for your trees and shrubs will help ensure that your plants will add property value.
- Avoid Planting Trees Close to the House, Sidewalk, Driveway or Sewers: Tree roots can damage your home’s foundation, sewers, house or sidewalk. If you’re not sure where your home’s sewer line runs, you may need to contact your city or town hall for information. Some trees have larger root systems than others, so even as you’re checking the location of your sewers, you’ll also need to check the expected size of your tree’s roots. In addition, don’t forget that tree branches that grow over or near your roof can do damage in some cases. As you’re doing your research, find out the expected crown size of your tree and avoid planting it in a location where the branches will eventually become problematic.
- Leave Space Between Your Shrubs and Your Siding: Shrubs that grow close to your house can trap moisture against the siding, leading to mold and mildew problems. Leave air space between your shrubs and your home’s siding to prevent this from happening. Don’t forget to find out how large you can expect your shrubs to grow to ensure that your shrubs won’t grow against the house when they reach maturity.
When to Plant
Most trees and shrubs do best when planted in the spring – if planting at another time of year, your plants may need special care in order to thrive. For example, planting trees and shrubs at the height of summer may mean that they’ll need extra watering as they become established. Often, summer sun is so intense that it can dry out plants before their roots can take hold in the ground. Watering your plants more frequently and applying mulch over their growing area may help with this problem, but it depends on the type of plant.
Plant trees and shrubs at least two or three months before your house is put on the market. Once your house is in escrow, watering and tending to new plants and trees may become a challenge, especially once you begin packing to move. Planting at least two or three months in advance will ensure that your trees and shrubs will be established by the time you’re ready to sell.
Talk To Your Agent
Planting trees around shrubs around your home can help ensure a successful home sale, if the job is handled properly. For more tips and advice for developing your home’s curb appeal, talk to an experienced real estate agent. He or she can make suggestions that will help your home sell more quickly.
-Patrick McCandless, Owner/Broker of AMACS Properties