A couple of weeks ago, we devoted this space to winterizing your home so you could enjoy all a Northeast Tennessee autumn has to offer. There’s one more item that needs to be worked into the mix before old man winter settles in – your yard.

Autumn isn’t a time for owners to ignore their lawns. That is even more true for anyone thinking about the 2021 prime spring buying and selling season. It is only four months away, and a great lawn is a significant point in that all-important curb view.

The National Association of REALTORS® HouseLogic offers four necessary steps for a great lawn because the grass you start growing now is what will be there in the spring.

· Aeration — This 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. It is 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, you should aerate twice a year. You aerate with a hand tool intended for plugging small sections or a motorized aerating machine offered at most equipment rental companies. If you do not have the time, equipment, or desire, this service is available from most landscaping companies.

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

· Fertilizing — One of the best ways to help next year’s grass survive the winter is late fall fertilization. It should happen before the first frost. Use a fertilizer that at least 10 to 15% phosphorus for the best results.

· Mulching — Instead of raking all the falling leaves, make several passes some over them with the lawnmower. By grinding them into mulch, you protect the grass from the winter elements. As they decompose into organic matter, they also feed the roots.

If you’re super serious about it, mulching blades are available for many mowers. It will chop and grind the leaves into a finer texture.

Continued mowing until the first hard frost. Check with a local home center for the ideal length for your type of grass. Rake excess leaves. If you want to prune, wait until the trees drop their leaves and are dormant. These few tasks will make your neighbors as green with envy as your spring yard will be!

HouseLogic gives homeowners tools and tips for smart and timely assessments about your home and how to take care of it. A wide array of topics include home improvement, maintenance, taxes, finance, insurance, and communities. Check out houselogic.com for more tips and ideas.

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It’s the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,300 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.