As winter continues to pummel the state of New Jersey, residents are bracing for the worst part of this season: snow removal. Whether it’s clearing a path on your driveway for your car or making it easier to get to and from your front door, plowing and shoveling snow is a chore that most of us can do without.
However, snow removal is necessary if you want to stay safe this winter, but that doesn’t mean that you can shovel with impunity. There are a few things that you want to keep in mind to ensure that you don’t damage your plant life and hardscapes in the process.
Working in the bitter cold is stressful on your body. Even though you will be warming up as you move and exert yourself, sweat can cause you to lose a lot of heat in the process. As such, be sure to bundle up before you head out. Also, keep your layers on while you’re working (even as you start to roast) so that you don’t risk hypothermia.
The other thing to remember about safety is that you want to avoid slips and falls. The most common injury during the winter season is falling from slippery conditions, so make sure that you have stable footing at all times.
Protecting Your Lawn
Even though you can’t see your grass when it’s covered in snow, that doesn’t mean that it should be out of your thought process. Grass can get stressed and die during the winter, so you want to try and avoid that as much as possible. Here are some ways to minimize the damage caused by snow and snow removal.
- Clear it out quickly. Don’t wait for the snow to settle and compact itself before you try to remove it. The sooner you act, the easier and better it will be for both you and the grass.
- Avoid piles on your lawn. Sometimes, this result is inevitable, but try to minimize it as much as possible. Large piles of snow will not only take longer to thaw, but they will make the grass more susceptible to infection.
- Don’t use salt. Save the de-icer for your hardscapes (more on that later). Salting your grass will effectively kill it and prevent anything else from growing.
- Avoid damaging with a shovel. As you clear snow, it’s easy to dig a little too deep and come up with a chunk of sod. If that does happen, try to replace it immediately.
- Mark the edges. Before the snow gets too thick, place markers around the rim of your lawn and other plant life. This will make it easier to avoid if you use a motorized plow.
Protecting Your Plants
If you want your trees, shrubs, and flowers to survive both the winter and your snow removal efforts, then follow these tips.
- Don’t pile snow next to plants. As with your grass, large mounds of powder are going to stress and kill any flora nearby.
- Plant shrubs and trees away from the lawn and hardscapes. Doing this will make it easier to avoid them when trying to remove snow.
- Don’t prune frozen branches. Wait until everything has thawed before you break out the pruning shears. This will ensure that the plant doesn’t get too stressed in the process.
- Avoid de-icer. Same as with your lawn, salt and other chemicals can devastate your plants.
Protecting Your Hardscapes
Whether it’s your driveway, a walkway, or a rock formation, you can do a lot of damage when trying to remove snow from your property. Follow these steps, and you’ll minimize the amount of destruction you incur.
- Use a broom when possible. Rather than scraping the pavement with a shovel, a brush works well when the powder is still fresh.
- Use rubber protectors on plows. Motorized snow removers can do a lot of damage to hardscapes, so try to cover the edges with rubber to minimize any scrapes or gouges.
- Use less potent salts. Although de-icers will work well on pavement and hardscapes, alternatives to sodium chloride (such as potassium chloride or calcium chloride) are less destructive towards plants while yielding the same effects.
- Use a snow blower. To avoid damaging your hardscapes (and lawn) altogether, feel free to use a blower instead. However, try to prevent buildups on your plants.
- Use de-icers sparingly. Try to remove most of the snow first. This will enable you to use less (save money) and do less damage to the environment.
Why Snow Removal is Crucial
If you don’t clear the snow from your property, then you will likely wind up with a dead or dying landscape in the spring. This process not only allows you to walk around without slipping and falling, but it ensures that your plants and hardscapes make it through the winter (relatively) unscathed.
If doing all of this seems like too much work, then feel free to contact us today, and we’ll come out and take care of it for you. Thanks for reading our blog!