It seems like cold weather starts creeping in earlier every year here in Indiana, and this year is no exception. With temperatures plummeting quickly, now’s the time to put together a plan for snow and ice removal at your business.
If you think snow and ice removal is no big deal, think again. Wintery weather causescountless injuries and accidents each year, so you have to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings. Making a reasonable effort to clean up after a winter storm—and taking steps to prepare for adverse weather—can go a long way toward keeping the people on your property safe. Cleaning up snow and ice is also practical because it makes it easier for your staff and customers to access your building,
and it’s an important part of any landscape maintenance plan.
To keep you and your property safe this winter, we’ve put together a few tips to help melt away any concerns you might have about snow and ice.
Pay attention to the weather—and temperature in particular. While knowing how much precipitation to expect is important, the real thing you need to look at is temperature. This will help you figure out how quickly ice will form, the kind of snow you can anticipate (wet and heavy vs. fluffy and light), and how long you can expect wet conditions to last. Extremely cold temperatures make ice more persistent, while wet and heavy snow is less dangerous. If you’re expecting wet and heavy snow, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the temperature for a few days following precipitation, as rapidly decreasing temperatures can refreeze wet snow, making it perilous to walk or drive on.
Don’t neglect walkways. Sidewalks—and steps in particular—are your biggest trouble spots for ice. Walking surfaces that are dark in color like asphalt or bricks can be especially dangerous because ice can be almost impossible to see. Also keep in mind that ice can persist on these surfaces even when temperatures are above 32°F, because the ground is often colder than the air. You can keep these areas safer by making sure they are thoroughly shoveled—and by following the next tip.
Use salt, sand—or even kitty litter. The great thing about using salt, sand, and/or kitty litter to help melt ice or snow and add traction to surfaces is that you can use them both before and after winter weather comes through. Rock salt is excellent for melting snow and works in just minutes. Please keep in mind that rock salt can be harmful to our environment, so use it sparingly. However, for especially dangerous surfaces like steps, it’s your best bet. Add sand and/or kitty litter after salting to assist with traction, which can help with both walking and driving.
Invest in a snow blower. Shoveling snow is hard work, and especially if you have a large property, you might struggle to do it all yourself. A snow blower can help solve that problem. A couple things to look out for when using a snow blower: Make sure you’re not blowing snow against foundational walls of your building as this can cause damage when snow melts, and don’t blow snow out into the street where it can make roads more dangerous.
Protect your plants. Your flowers, trees, and shrubs need protection from winter weather, too. A great way to protect your plants is by adding a layer of mulch in late fall, which won’t just help keep your plant roots warm, but will also add much-needed nutrients to the soil. We also recommend placing a few tall stakes in the ground around plant beds, so you’ll know where they’re located and won’t damage them when snow is being removed.
Work with the pros. While you might save money handling snow and ice removal on your own, the best way to protect your property from dangerous weather conditions is to leave it up to the professionals. This approach will also save you significant time and effort. When working with a contractor, you’ll typically have the option of hiring them on a case-by-case basis or signing a seasonal contract. We recommend a seasonal contract for several reasons:
- You won’t need to worry about your contractor’s availability when a storm hits—they will be ready to get to work and you won’t need to remind them to come out.
- You can establish a long-term relationship, and you’ll know what to expect from your snow and ice removal partner.
- After several visits, your contractor will have a great sense of your property and the potential trouble areas that might need extra attention.
- You’ll probably save money in the long run as one-off requests for snow and ice removal can get expensive.
Our team at Engledow has been helping our clients with snow and ice removal services for decades. In addition to helping you clean up after winter weather, we can also assist you with winterizing your landscape so you’re ready to handle whatever the season brings. Contact us today to learn more.