Homebuyers love these trees and shrubs

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This well- known saying is certainly true when it applies to your home. Those few seconds, when a visitor first sees your house, are crucial in creating a positive, neutral or negative impression. This becomes a vitally important consideration when you are selling your home, particularly in a soft real estate market.
This is the third of a three-part series of columns about improving your home's curb-appeal with some basic landscaping upgrades. That all-important first impression can make the difference between buyers wanting to come inside or simply drive on to the next listing. Even if you are not intending to sell right now, one or two affordable tweaks can put a fresh, attractive face on the home you love.
Last time in this column, I described my number one choice for spicing up a landscape: ornamental grasses. If you missed that or the previous column, drop me an e-mail at snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and I'll send you a link where you can read them online.
Today, let's talk about some trees and shrubs that will be like planting money in you front yard when it comes to appealing to potential buyers.
Japanese Red Maple (Acer palmatum atropurpureum) It's hard to go wrong here for several reasons, the most important being their extreme beauty.
They work equally well as a specimen multi-stemmed shrub or as a relatively small tree with a mature height somewhere between ten and twenty feet. If you have a bit more room, try two or three in plant groupings.
Another advantage: they are hardy and quite easy to grow. They do just fine in full sun and in various degrees of shade so that if other trees are planted close by, they suffer no adverse effects from the crowding. Landscapers often use Japanese Red Maples in urban settings where large buildings can limit the amount of sun to which they are exposed. They leaf out early in spring & drop their leaves late in autumn.
Holly bushes. Essentially, holly is any tree or shrub of the genus Ilex having red berries and shiny evergreen leaves with prickly edges. Within that wide definition, you can find everything from tiny six-inch dwarves to towering seventy-foot giants.
Hollies come in male and female "genders" and you will need at least one of each if you want the female to bear those traditional holly berries. It's not easy to tell males from females, but most good nurseries will tag them to indicate which is which. There are some holly varieties that are self fertile so you'd need only one plant in order to have berries.
For fast landscape enhancement, plan on holly bushes that are two to three feet tall that you can use as specimens or foundation plants.
Knockout Roses. I strongly recommend that you consider these beauties as they induce "Oooh's" and "Ahh's" from visitors and homebuyers. There are three varieties you could plant to ramp up the curb appeal of your home. Look for Red, Pink or Rainbow Knockout roses.
The blooms of the Rainbow open orange from coral-pink buds and then quickly turn soft coral-pink shading to gold at the base, surrounding a yellow center. All three varieties form compact 3 foot by 3 foot shapes and are quite fast growing.
Nikishi Willow. This fast-grower is spectacular in all seasons. The show begins in spring with yellow catkins in followed by new growth foliage appearing green and creamy white with pink overtones that turns salmon pink by going into fall with leaves turning yellow and winter branches turning a brilliant red.
The Nikishi would be an excellent choice to enhance an entryway or an elegant way to line a walk.
If you'd like to receive a list of seven useful Web sites about enhancing curb appeal, or if you'd like some specific plant suggestions drop me an e-mail at snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org with some details and I'll reply personally.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org
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