Despite a mild start to the season, winter has officially arrived and with that comes snow removal. While it may seem straight forward, here are 5 tips to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your driveway, sidewalk, and landscape.
- Most importantly, your safety and health should be your first priority. Shoveling can be an extensive workout for those who are not typically active. Be sure to bend from the legs to avoid back strain and take regular breaks to rest. If possible, remove snow in smaller quantities, rather than waiting for a large snowfall to exert less energy at once.
- Avoid using ice picks on driveways and sidewalks. While it is good to remove ice from walking surfaces, ice picks can be detrimental to the integrity of the surface and will likely require repairs come the spring.
- Maintain your snow removal equipment. Use the correct fuel for your snow blowers and specifically don’t use fuel containing more than 10% ethanol. As winter comes to an end, drain your gas tank if you won’t be using the equipment for at least 30 days. If you go the manual route, you can spray your shovel with cooking spray to prevent snow from sticking to it, making shoveling easier.
- Be careful of deicing products. While the idea of melting ice is appealing, consider the products you use, as it will likely end up in your lawn upon shoveling. The most common product is rock salt, which is cheapest but most toxic. The more plant and environmentally friendly option is calcium magnesium acetate, though it is 10 times more expensive.
- Don’t suffocate your shrubs. When you remove snow from your driveway, it will end up on your lawn. While it does help to insulate them with a layer of snow, piling too much on will kill them.
Of course, you can always hire a snow removal company, but be proactive as they can book up quickly this time of year. Stay safe and warm this winter. And hey, there’s only 2 more months of the cold!