The National Weather Service considers the El Nino effect in their predictions for the upcoming winter. The warm Pacific waters can spawn storms clean across the country. Forecasters are predicting above-normal storms and precipitation from New York down the East Coast for the winter of 2015-16.The Farmer’s Almanac agrees. You are probably pondering what you need to stock up on in order to keep the sidewalks and parking lot clear for your customers or clientele. The news and Internet are full of stories and articles regarding the dangers of salt to the rivers, streams and the wildlife that both live in them and drink from them. Your concern about the welfare of the flora and fauna means that you have precious little choice in snow removal and salting. What are your options?
Before the Storm
Experts agree that salts and de-icers are detrimental to just about everything. However, before a storm hits, it is wise to sprinkle a bit on the sidewalks and parking lot. Keep in mind the job of de-icer is to loosen the snow and ice from surfaces, not melt it. A light sprinkle of the substance will mean snow and ice can be scraped away much easier.
After the Storm
Believe it or not, a broom is a useful tool after a snow storm. If the snowfall wasn’t too bad and before the snow is compacted, a simple broom will brush most of it away. The snow shovel will then have little to do. Scrape or push the snow away instead of shoveling it. That will save your back some pain as well as getting down to the concrete. Most experts recommend a wide snow shovel with a metal strip for chipping and scraping away the ice. Experts also agree that shoveling the snow onto the grounds is not a good idea, just in case some ice-melt got into the mix.
There would be little need for much salt or de-icer if the walks and parking lot were shoveled or scraped as soon after the snow stops. Shovel frequently following the end of the storm. Snow will blow off the top of the building in addition to being shoved aside by cars and snow plows plowing the parking lot. Keep at it in order to use less salt and de-icer.
Some experts advise using a snow blower in order to save time and back pain. Electric models are recommended, because gas models are noisy. Snow throwers are also equipped with a scraper for clearing sidewalks down to the concrete. Beware, though, because these can sometimes pick up stones and get hung up in cracks in the sidewalk and damage the blade.
The Nitty-Gritty about Salt
Most calcium salts are only good down to 15 degrees. With lower temps, you’ll need a formula especially made for below freezing temperatures. These are the salts we are warned about on TV and the Internet. Most people coat surfaces with salt. This is not necessary. It only takes a little to melt ice from an area no bigger than a parking space. One coffee cup piled with salt is good for two parking spaces. Some folks use rock salt in order not to pollute the water with calcium salts. Whatever kind of salt you use, make sure to sweep up and reuse what is left on bare pavement. If the pavement is bare, the salt has done its job. Leaving it there runs the risk of polluting the land and water.
While you’re pondering how to remove the snow and ice from your walks and parking lot, don’t forget the furry ones. Many people take their pets wherever they go, and some take along therapy animals or service animals. These little guys get salt in their paws. It damages the pads and makes them sick when they lick their paws clean. Spare a thought for their health, too, while you’re thinking of snow removal.
Now is the time to contact us for landscape design, protecting your landscaping before winter and snow removal. For almost 50 years, we’ve taken exceptional care of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D. C. landscapes, and we’ll do the same with yours.