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1simple
07-10-2008, 05:05 PM
I hope I'm posting in the right forum. Can you guys give me your opinion. Should I replace this tree as it isn't growing straight, see my pics below. Or should I simply cut the limb off where it is starting to grow crocked, right before that area? If I do that, it will look really stupid as that will be half the tree at top. Any suggestions? It is a red oak tree I believe.

Thanks for your input.

Curtis

BostonBull
07-10-2008, 05:10 PM
Absolutely not! Give the tree a fe more years to grow, and then prune it. You still have stakes up, so I am asuming it has been in less than six months? If so that tree needs all of its energy (carbohydrates) to grow, and develop a root system.
See what it does......

Pruning that much out would likly kill a newly planted tree like this one.

And those two trees are planted too close together, IMO. They will likely grow togehter in ten years or so.

1simple
07-10-2008, 05:17 PM
Planted in January. We have had some really strong winds lately, so I figured I would leave the stakes up for about a year. My question is by looking at how it is, if I allow it to continue growing, wont it grow in that direction? A few years from now, I will have a bigger tree going off to the side and not straight up?

Also, Centex, the builder planted the trees, not I. I thought they were too close as they should get really big in 10 yrs. Should I leave them as is or take one down and maybe move it to the back yard?

Daily Lawn/Landscape
07-10-2008, 05:42 PM
They look like Oak Trees and if thats the case they are planted in the wrong place ie: in between the walk and street. Might think about moving to the yard where they will have a chance for a long life.JMO
James

Lawnworks
07-10-2008, 05:47 PM
I would not have that in my yard... trash it or plant in the backyard. It is only about a $100 tree anyway. It is very common to have oak trees planted b/t sidewalks and the street... every been to savannah?

1simple
07-10-2008, 07:15 PM
They look like Oak Trees and if thats the case they are planted in the wrong place ie: in between the walk and street. Might think about moving to the yard where they will have a chance for a long life.JMO
James

I was told they are red oak. THey can't grow without breaking up the sidewalk? I thought roots go down into the ground? I would think the builder would consider this when planting all these trees.

CALandscapes
07-10-2008, 07:16 PM
Looks like Nutall Oaks.

I'd move the crooked one to the back yard (or trash it) and possibly move the other to a more visually appealing location.

As far as oaks between the sidewalks and the street, I think it's GREAT. We regularly plant them that way here (in New Orleans) as it's one of the traditionally historic features here.

1simple
07-10-2008, 07:16 PM
I would not have that in my yard... trash it or plant in the backyard. It is only about a $100 tree anyway. It is very common to have oak trees planted b/t sidewalks and the street... every been to savannah?

Why do you say this? You don't think it is a pretty tree? They did plant different trees next to me, so it isn't like there are a ton of the same trees all along the street.

1simple
07-10-2008, 07:20 PM
Looks like Nutall Oaks.

I'd move the crooked one to the back yard (or trash it) and possibly move the other to a more visually appealing location.

As far as oaks between the sidewalks and the street, I think it's GREAT. We regularly plant them that way here (in New Orleans) as it's one of the traditionally historic features here.

So chances are this tree wont grow straight?

BostonBull
07-10-2008, 07:34 PM
Planted in January. We have had some really strong winds lately, so I figured I would leave the stakes up for about a year. My question is by looking at how it is, if I allow it to continue growing, wont it grow in that direction? A few years from now, I will have a bigger tree going off to the side and not straight up?

Also, Centex, the builder planted the trees, not I. I thought they were too close as they should get really big in 10 yrs. Should I leave them as is or take one down and maybe move it to the back yard?

You need to remove the stakes and let the trees roots learn to compensate for wind, and grow compression wood in the trunk and limbs where needed. 12 months with stakes is a long time especially in TX.

You never know what the tree is going to do. It may straighten out, it may keep growing that way, it may "even" out some. More than likely it will grow a few more limbs that would be much better candidates to reduce back to than what is there now.

IF you were to move one I would suggest the one closest to the drive. it will start to inhibit the drive and the look of the home. These get large canopies, some 80' wide! Although not for 20-30 years.

Yes these trees, and ANY tree for that matter, will do sidewalk damage. Taking them out because of this is ludicrous! These are perfectly good trees, that look very healthy. They will do fine. Oaks have tap roots which grow straight down for strength and support. And they also grow fibrous roots which take up nutrients, water and oxygen. These roots are further out, by the tips of the branches. They will grow under the sidewalk and into your front yard, like they always do in these situation.

Mulch it, water it 2 times a week, deeply, and keep an eye on it. And remove those stakes! :) But don't trash it!

BostonBull
07-10-2008, 07:36 PM
I would not have that in my yard... trash it or plant in the backyard. It is only about a $100 tree anyway. It is very common to have oak trees planted b/t sidewalks and the street... every been to savannah?

Whats the reasoning behind this? I think Oaks are a very desirable species around the home and street side. They take a lot of abuse, adapt well to different soils, and clean the air pretty well. The list goes on and on!

CALandscapes
07-10-2008, 07:39 PM
Oaks are amazing trees.

I would not trash the crooked one; as BostonBull said, it should grow out more over time, thus enabling you to selectively prune it in order to achieve a straighter tree. The only reason I said trash it would be if you don't have another place for it; I do think, however, that the trees need to be planted further apart, whether it be you move them, trash one, etc..

Lawnworks
07-10-2008, 09:54 PM
Why do you say this? You don't think it is a pretty tree? They did plant different trees next to me, so it isn't like there are a ton of the same trees all along the street.

Oh I love the species of tree. I cannot tell if that is a pin oak or a shummard, etc, but I love the tree. I would want it to match the other one. I would think it would take years to recover to match the other tree. I would just replace that one w/ the exact same tree w/ the central leader still intact. It should be a cheap tree... looks like 1.5" caliper... should be $100 at your nursery. I just installed 2 4" caliper pin oaks in my yard and I absolutely love them.

Lawnworks
07-10-2008, 09:57 PM
Whats the reasoning behind this? I think Oaks are a very desirable species around the home and street side. They take a lot of abuse, adapt well to different soils, and clean the air pretty well. The list goes on and on!

I actually think the placement and type of tree will work great. In savannah, they have 100 year old live oak trees b/t the sidewalk and street and they are magnificent. I just would not want a damaged tree to be the first thing you saw when you looked at my house... especially when you are landscaper and can replace it for $100 and move the existing tree to a place not as noticeable.

redmax fan
07-10-2008, 10:14 PM
if it were me every tree in the pic would go ,
theyre dirty / a hassle to trim around /
roots do damage / and they kill off grass .

my customers with best looking homes have
zero trees which adds up to clean / plush /
beautiful / easy to maintain GREEN LAWNS !!!

the only plants these best looking homes
feature are small / dwarf evergreens spaced
around 2" apart at closest for a nice simple / clean
look in easily trimmed / contained (bordered) beds .

Grass Happens
07-10-2008, 10:36 PM
I love oaks, and I love them even more when they are in the middle of a yard, shading a house so it used less energy for the A/C. Its easy to have a nice lawn when there is nothing else in it, the challenge is to have an appealing landscape with different features for variety and seasonal interest. In January, a brown lawn isn't very interesting, but the right combination of conifers and deciduous trees etc, is easy on the eyes.
I personally would leave that tree, as its unique, and will probably straighten out somewhat. However, considering how close it is to its neighbor, and most people don't want t be unique, I would re plant it somewhere else, but dont trash it.

1simple
07-11-2008, 12:40 AM
You need to remove the stakes and let the trees roots learn to compensate for wind, and grow compression wood in the trunk and limbs where needed. 12 months with stakes is a long time especially in TX.

You never know what the tree is going to do. It may straighten out, it may keep growing that way, it may "even" out some. More than likely it will grow a few more limbs that would be much better candidates to reduce back to than what is there now.

IF you were to move one I would suggest the one closest to the drive. it will start to inhibit the drive and the look of the home. These get large canopies, some 80' wide! Although not for 20-30 years.

Yes these trees, and ANY tree for that matter, will do sidewalk damage. Taking them out because of this is ludicrous! These are perfectly good trees, that look very healthy. They will do fine. Oaks have tap roots which grow straight down for strength and support. And they also grow fibrous roots which take up nutrients, water and oxygen. These roots are further out, by the tips of the branches. They will grow under the sidewalk and into your front yard, like they always do in these situation.

Mulch it, water it 2 times a week, deeply, and keep an eye on it. And remove those stakes! :) But don't trash it!

Thanks for all the input!! So you would leave both trees? I wonder what would happen 10 years from now when they are both much bigger, will they just become one big tree at the top?

1simple
07-11-2008, 12:41 AM
So would everyone agree that if I were to remove one tree, the crocked one near the mail box should not be the one that is removed? The one closer to the drive way, when it gets matured in 20 years, will probably cover up a lot of the front of the house. Is this ok?

Would you vote for removing one or leave them both? I'm not sure how that will look when they both get really big, so close to each other.

cpel2004
07-11-2008, 03:02 AM
The homeowner will have continued problems with both trees planted in the yard.
The root system can fully develop itself due to the supporting concrete that is around it. Your tap root should be fine but your other runners will eventually break through the concrete, causing drive way and sidewalk damage.

Here in FL the second tree would be considered a cull, and would have failed inspection. If that tree ever failed, the landscaper or builder would be responsible for the liability. The tree requires aggressive structural pruning and even then its a long process and a 50/50 chance of correcting the issue. I would inform the cust and give them a recommendation (make sure you put in writing) of what you think. At best that tree will require alot of attention and may not have a healthy full canopy.

BostonBull
07-11-2008, 05:48 AM
The homeowner will have continued problems with both trees planted in the yard.
The root system can fully develop itself due to the supporting concrete that is around it. Your tap root should be fine but your other runners will eventually break through the concrete, causing drive way and sidewalk damage.

Here in FL the second tree would be considered a cull, and would have failed inspection. If that tree ever failed, the landscaper or builder would be responsible for the liability. The tree requires aggressive structural pruning and even then its a long process and a 50/50 chance of correcting the issue. I would inform the cust and give them a recommendation (make sure you put in writing) of what you think. At best that tree will require alot of attention and may not have a healthy full canopy.

You did read the whole thread and understand the Homeowner is the one asking the questions and is the OP, right?

BostonBull
07-11-2008, 05:51 AM
if it were me every tree in the pic would go ,
theyre dirty / a hassle to trim around /
roots do damage / and they kill off grass .

my customers with best looking homes have
zero trees which adds up to clean / plush /
beautiful / easy to maintain GREEN LAWNS !!!

the only plants these best looking homes
feature are small / dwarf evergreens spaced
around 2" apart at closest for a nice simple / clean
look in easily trimmed / contained (bordered) beds .

A GREEN LAWN isn't worth a 10th of what a home with beautiful shade trees around it is! Oaks aren't known for surface roots, don't give off toxins like Norway Maples, Butternut, Hickory, etc etc to kill lawns, and could greatly reduce the wind damage to paint, sun scald on paint and wood, and help with energy costs.

If you mowed, and trimmed a tree around my house and you made some form of mechanical damage you would be buying me a new tree, no matter the size! A good landscaper would suggest some mulch to help avoid competition, and mechanical damage.

A nice tree is SO much more valuable to a home than a green lawn!

BostonBull
07-11-2008, 05:54 AM
Thanks for all the input!! So you would leave both trees? I wonder what would happen 10 years from now when they are both much bigger, will they just become one big tree at the top?

Personally, no. I would remove the one closest to the drive, extend the mulch bed, and see what it does. Oaks will get funky canopies and thats whats grat about them. Leave the one Oak and see what it does in a year or two.

You should never reduction prune a tree that much in the first 1-2 years after its been planted. You will cause dieback in the roots, which will in turn cause crown dieback later on down the road, well after the hack who did the work is long gone.

1simple
07-11-2008, 11:32 AM
Personally, no. I would remove the one closest to the drive, extend the mulch bed, and see what it does. Oaks will get funky canopies and thats whats grat about them. Leave the one Oak and see what it does in a year or two.

You should never reduction prune a tree that much in the first 1-2 years after its been planted. You will cause dieback in the roots, which will in turn cause crown dieback later on down the road, well after the hack who did the work is long gone.

I wasn't really wanting to hear this! That one is the best tree, straight as a board! Having a tree smack in the middle of the house isn't good in terms of resell value when it gets big? So if it was your house, you would remove the good tree and leave the crocked one for its location?

White Gardens
07-11-2008, 04:26 PM
I think it's a good tree. I agree though with some that there isn't enough room between the sidewalk and road for the root-ball. Even though it will be 50 years from now, it will eventually need to come out.

I think the crook is too extreme. Even if you try to prune it, it doesn't look like there is another branch there to make a new central leader out of it.

I would move it and get a new one.

I'm surprised on how bad it is, generally oaks don't get that out of shape.

If It were my yard, I would trash the crooked one, dig up the strait one and center it in that little island and only have one tree. Even if you replaced the crooked one, they are going to compete with each other in the next five years, then you might have two trees that are crooked and bending away from each other.

BostonBull
07-11-2008, 06:01 PM
I wasn't really wanting to hear this! That one is the best tree, straight as a board! Having a tree smack in the middle of the house isn't good in terms of resell value when it gets big? So if it was your house, you would remove the good tree and leave the crocked one for its location?

For its location and its appeal to ME. I think its a cool little tree and would like to see what it does in 1-2 years of growing. It could straighten out somewhat and have an awesome shape to it, thats really all its own.

The decision is yours, you have been given lots of advice to go on in this thread. Keep us posted!

treegal1
07-11-2008, 08:58 PM
transplant it to a better location????? then replant more plants and bushes in the larger bed that you can make.

allinearth
07-12-2008, 09:34 AM
I would do some selective pruning over time to establish a central leader. Definately get rid of the grass in that area and make it a planting bed.

1simple
07-14-2008, 04:12 PM
Here is a picture from the front. I think I should keep the one closest to the drive way, that's the straight one and looks to be the best spot to me. Any other opinions?

Thanks!!
Curtis

treegal1
07-14-2008, 05:18 PM
transplant both of those trees to a better place in the yard!!
don't kill them or place them in harms way, or make it so they damage your street. lf they asses for repairs because of a tree..........that would make me feel bad!

the front yard is a good place to plant a tree, maybe just inside the side walk.here is a cool site, its kindergarten for tree people, but we love it and support there efforts

http://www.arborday.org/trees/ninethings.cfm

look at the tree to the right of your house

BostonBull
07-14-2008, 07:00 PM
You have many options presented to you here. You need to decide where the tree will give you the most joy. Fom this angle the crooked one looks pretty good!

Adjust your cameras settings for shooting outdoors!

1simple
07-15-2008, 12:21 PM
Chances are I wont be living here in 15 or 20 years or maybe I will. Will a tree like this cause sidewalk / drive way damage by then, assuming I take care of it to make it grow as fast as possible? I also want to make the best choice now in terms of resell value.

Thanks!

treegal1
07-15-2008, 12:49 PM
trees that are growen fast tend to be weak! resale value, the perspective owner will want a uncracked drive and a neat sidewalk! just move the trees and be happy:)

1simple
07-15-2008, 04:57 PM
Never moved a tree before, any web sites they are good at giving tips for moving existing trees? I can see planting a new one would be a lot easier? If I moved it, would it really be necessary I put mulch around it? I really don't like the look and would use weed killer around it so I don't have to weed eat around the tree.

treegal1
07-15-2008, 06:04 PM
I posted the arbor day web site in this tread already, and after the suggestions about the weed killer and whacker, just cut them down and live with you turf, it seems like that's what you want from the start.

Or you can take some care of you trees and have something that is a value to your home and makes air

http://www.arborday.org/

http://www.arborday.org/trees/NineNum4.cfm

1simple
07-15-2008, 06:18 PM
You see a lot of nice trees without mulch around them. Is it really that crucial if you water your trees regularly and give them fertilizer stakes?

treegal1
07-15-2008, 06:41 PM
this is where i get off, good bye

White Gardens
07-15-2008, 07:17 PM
You don't need mulch around them, but it does help hold moisture in so your not watering nearly as much. In my annual beds I can water every three days with mulch and twice a day without.

Fertilizer stakes don't do much from what I'm told. A deep root feeding is always the best. and I can't remember if fall or spring is the best time for that.

I think you need to get rid of them if your thinking of re-sale value. I noticed in your pics that it seems that you have 1 or 2 other trees in your yard, so your not going to lose out too bad. If anything move the better one to bigger part of the yard on the other side of the sidewalk, about 15-20 feet from the sidewalk if you have the room.

If I'm correct I think you said that you planted them earlier this year, so moving them shouldn't be too bad. All you need is a spade and go around the tree and cut a rootball out of it. If the tree had burlap on it, it should pop right out of the ground fairly easily if the roots haven't popped out of the burlap yet.

1simple
07-15-2008, 08:49 PM
You don't need mulch around them, but it does help hold moisture in so your not watering nearly as much. In my annual beds I can water every three days with mulch and twice a day without.

Fertilizer stakes don't do much from what I'm told. A deep root feeding is always the best. and I can't remember if fall or spring is the best time for that.

I think you need to get rid of them if your thinking of re-sale value. I noticed in your pics that it seems that you have 1 or 2 other trees in your yard, so your not going to lose out too bad. If anything move the better one to bigger part of the yard on the other side of the sidewalk, about 15-20 feet from the sidewalk if you have the room.

If I'm correct I think you said that you planted them earlier this year, so moving them shouldn't be too bad. All you need is a spade and go around the tree and cut a rootball out of it. If the tree had burlap on it, it should pop right out of the ground fairly easily if the roots haven't popped out of the burlap yet.

The two trees in the pic is all I have. My yard is that small, as the pic shows. I didn't plant the trees, Centex aka Fox & Jacobs did, the builder....

White Gardens
07-15-2008, 08:55 PM
Ya, I looked and seen one tree that was in your neigbors yard.

If a builder did it, than 85% of the time they will have a burlap root-ball. So, you might have a fairly easy time digging them up.

Like I stated, I would save the good one and re-plant it in the front yard. Seeing it is an Oak, it should grow strait up and cause minimal issues with the house. You might have to do some pruning in about 10 years to keep any major limbs from interfering with the house, but, if you get them early and young, it will save a major tree trimming bill in 30 years.

Good luck, hope we've been some help.

redmax fan
07-15-2008, 09:10 PM
ide make a sign reading ' THESE TWO TREES FOR SALE " , with arrows pointing at trees . and whatever the cost and tree variety also included on sign . then let the buyer dig them up .

those lots in that neighboorhood arent big enough for trees .

and ide also remove the flower beds from front of house and plant grass or pour a little concrete patio / slab that you could maybe put decorative touches to . maybe concrete statues , maybe hanging flower pots . but reasons are = flower beds = maintenance - also insect dwellings - kick dirt up on house - as the plants grow make it harder to get at and maintain building exterior . and i would never put a tree within a hundred feet of a building , and i would never put a flower bed next to a building . if flower or shrub beds are wanted theyd be bordered with concrete decorative block , and be away from the building in my designs because building maintenance is my first priority and WAY ahead of looks . WAY AHEAD !!!

White Gardens
07-15-2008, 10:39 PM
[QUOTE=redmax fan;2420111]ide make a sign reading ' THESE TWO TREES FOR SALE " , with arrows pointing at trees . and whatever the cost and tree variety also included on sign . then let the buyer dig them up .




Hey, That's a good Idea, never thought of something like that before.

1simple
07-16-2008, 11:14 AM
I thought about putting the crooked tree up on Craigslist and have them dig it up. I didn't think though that I would be able to get it anything, but list it for free. Would you say that the tree has any value, or them having to drive and dig it up eliminates any possible value?

treegal1
07-16-2008, 11:16 AM
:cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry:

1simple
07-16-2008, 11:21 AM
:cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry:

??????????????

treegal1
07-16-2008, 11:23 AM
that poor tree, he needs a good home in your yard, sniff sniff:cry::cry::cry:

treegal1
07-16-2008, 11:25 AM
and some little flower friends to keep him company...:cry::cry:

treegal1
07-16-2008, 01:15 PM
If prospective buyers looked at your house today, what would they see outside? A giant evergreen that looks as if it might swallow the station wagon, perhaps, scraggly old foundation plants or maybe a kitchen-table view of the neighbors' kids' trampoline?

If so, you have a truly inexpensive opportunity to boost your home's curb appeal.By spending $500 to $3,000 on plants and materials and a few hours of time, you can achieve a well-landscaped look without shelling out for professional help.

Besides the personal enjoyment you'll get from a prettier yard, landscaping adds more value than almost any other home renovation.

A recent Michigan State University study found that depending on where the house is located, high-quality landscaping adds 5 percent to 11 percent to its price.

If you have no immediate plans to move, all the better: Landscaping is the one home improvement that actually appreciates over time.

So how do you decide which projects to tackle? That depends on how long you think you'll be around to enjoy the results.

If you're selling in a year or less
Edge the beds Cutting fresh edges where grass meets mulch makes the lawn look well kept. A move as simple as curving the edge of your flower beds could increase the value of your home by 1 percent, says horticulture professor Bridget Behe, the lead researcher on the MSU study.

Also, if your foundation plants are overgrown, widening the beds by two feet will make the shrubs seem smaller.

Nourish the grass For truly lush turf, ideally you should start regular fertilizer treatments a year before listing the house. But you can green up the lawn with just a single application.

Spend $45 on a broadcast spreader, which quickly distributes fertilizer over a lawn, enabling you to nourish a quarter-acre lot in about 10 minutes.

For a yard that size, expect each monthly application to cost about $20 (for straight organic fertilizer)

Scatter color throughout For about $1 a plant, you can blanket your yard with petunias, impatiens and other small annuals that will flower throughout the current growing season.

Also invest a few hundred dollars in some larger perennials and in shrubs that stand at least four feet high.

"A few good-size plants have more sex appeal than 20 little ones," says Chicago landscape architect Douglas Hoerr.

If you're improving for the long-term
Cut back the jungle Many everyday yard plants, such as azaleas, forsythia, hollies and rhododendrons, will fill out with new growth after a season or so even if you hack them down to stumps, says Christopher Valenti, a landscape contractor in Lewes, Del.

Be careful, though, of yews and junipers, which won't grow new leaves on old wood and may need to be removed altogether if they're severely overgrown.

Add drama with foliage A distinctive yard will make your home more appealing to buyers, says Los Angeles realtor Dana Frank. So replace plants that don't flower, or provide interesting foliage with eye-catching alternatives, like a patch of blackeyed Susans, a flowering crabapple or a cutleaf Japanese maple.

If you're planning to stay put, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars for big plants. You'll save 50 percent or more by buying small ones and waiting a few seasons to get the full visual impact (when planting, make sure to space them based on the mature size listed on the label, not how they look now).

Consider new angles Most yards have almost all the plants along the foundation and the property lines. But if you place yours throughout different parts of the property, you'll create a depth of field that makes your home look farther away from the road, says architect Hoerr.

Try putting some near the house's corners to accentuate its shape, others near the street to define the yard, and some in between, where they can block unfortunate views and be admired from indoors. Many nurseries offer free design help to buyers.

Cover your rear It's nice to wave hello to your neighbors out front, but the backyard should be a private space. If yours feels overexposed, fencing can offer a quick fix.

For each eight-foot section, you'll pay about $100 (for a plain cedar stockade fence) to $300 (for an elaborate Victorian model), plus another $50 to $150 a section for installation.

You can also achieve the same effect at a much lower cost by planting small evergreen shrubs, although you'll have to wait a few seasons for full coverage.

Or, rather than pruning those hulking foundation plants, hire a landscaper to transplant them along the property line. As long as they're healthy and evergreen, it's a great way to maximize the value of the plants you already own.

BostonBull
07-19-2008, 09:59 AM
If prospective buyers looked at your house today, what would they see outside? A giant evergreen that looks as if it might swallow the station wagon, perhaps, scraggly old foundation plants or maybe a kitchen-table view of the neighbors' kids' trampoline?

If so, you have a truly inexpensive opportunity to boost your home's curb appeal.By spending $500 to $3,000 on plants and materials and a few hours of time, you can achieve a well-landscaped look without shelling out for professional help.

Besides the personal enjoyment you'll get from a prettier yard, landscaping adds more value than almost any other home renovation.

A recent Michigan State University study found that depending on where the house is located, high-quality landscaping adds 5 percent to 11 percent to its price.

If you have no immediate plans to move, all the better: Landscaping is the one home improvement that actually appreciates over time.

So how do you decide which projects to tackle? That depends on how long you think you'll be around to enjoy the results.

If you're selling in a year or less
Edge the beds Cutting fresh edges where grass meets mulch makes the lawn look well kept. A move as simple as curving the edge of your flower beds could increase the value of your home by 1 percent, says horticulture professor Bridget Behe, the lead researcher on the MSU study.

Also, if your foundation plants are overgrown, widening the beds by two feet will make the shrubs seem smaller.

Nourish the grass For truly lush turf, ideally you should start regular fertilizer treatments a year before listing the house. But you can green up the lawn with just a single application.

Spend $45 on a broadcast spreader, which quickly distributes fertilizer over a lawn, enabling you to nourish a quarter-acre lot in about 10 minutes.

For a yard that size, expect each monthly application to cost about $20 (for straight organic fertilizer)

Scatter color throughout For about $1 a plant, you can blanket your yard with petunias, impatiens and other small annuals that will flower throughout the current growing season.

Also invest a few hundred dollars in some larger perennials and in shrubs that stand at least four feet high.

"A few good-size plants have more sex appeal than 20 little ones," says Chicago landscape architect Douglas Hoerr.

If you're improving for the long-term
Cut back the jungle Many everyday yard plants, such as azaleas, forsythia, hollies and rhododendrons, will fill out with new growth after a season or so even if you hack them down to stumps, says Christopher Valenti, a landscape contractor in Lewes, Del.

Be careful, though, of yews and junipers, which won't grow new leaves on old wood and may need to be removed altogether if they're severely overgrown.

Add drama with foliage A distinctive yard will make your home more appealing to buyers, says Los Angeles realtor Dana Frank. So replace plants that don't flower, or provide interesting foliage with eye-catching alternatives, like a patch of blackeyed Susans, a flowering crabapple or a cutleaf Japanese maple.

If you're planning to stay put, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars for big plants. You'll save 50 percent or more by buying small ones and waiting a few seasons to get the full visual impact (when planting, make sure to space them based on the mature size listed on the label, not how they look now).

Consider new angles Most yards have almost all the plants along the foundation and the property lines. But if you place yours throughout different parts of the property, you'll create a depth of field that makes your home look farther away from the road, says architect Hoerr.

Try putting some near the house's corners to accentuate its shape, others near the street to define the yard, and some in between, where they can block unfortunate views and be admired from indoors. Many nurseries offer free design help to buyers.

Cover your rear It's nice to wave hello to your neighbors out front, but the backyard should be a private space. If yours feels overexposed, fencing can offer a quick fix.

For each eight-foot section, you'll pay about $100 (for a plain cedar stockade fence) to $300 (for an elaborate Victorian model), plus another $50 to $150 a section for installation.

You can also achieve the same effect at a much lower cost by planting small evergreen shrubs, although you'll have to wait a few seasons for full coverage.

Or, rather than pruning those hulking foundation plants, hire a landscaper to transplant them along the property line. As long as they're healthy and evergreen, it's a great way to maximize the value of the plants you already own.



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