Winter is officially here, which means that if you live where it snows, you have to start preparing for blizzards. While winter snowstorms can create a winter wonderland outside, they can also be dangerous. Snowstorms make the roads difficult to drive on, sidewalks slippery to walk on, and your porch needing to be shoveled. One of the things that can get damaged the most during the winter is your yard. During the winter, the grass on your lawn has to go through a lot. The heavy snow and frost on your lawn can prevent your grass from growing beautifully in the spring again. Fortunately, there are many brilliant ways you can prepare your yard for a snowstorm. Today, I’ll go over the top tips for getting ready for a blizzard.
How to Prepare Your Yard for a Snowstorm
Have All Your Equipment Ready
Make sure you have all your winter tools ready before a snowstorm hits. If your snowblower is back in the garage, make sure you pull it out so that you can easily get it outside. For places where your snowblower won’t reach, make sure you have shovels ready. Also, make sure you have chosen the right shovel. A sturdy shovel that is lightweight is recommended. A small plastic blade works better than a large metal one. Try coating the blade with cooking spray so the snow doesn’t stick. Make sure the shovel handle is an appropriate length. If it’s too short, you’ll have to bend over while you shovel snow, which can lead to back pain. If possible, buy a shovel with an adjustable handle length. The blade should touch the ground with just a slight bend in your knees and without you having to lean too far forward. The handle should come up to your chest if you stand the shovel on end.
In addition to having snow shovels and snowblowers ready, make sure you have rock salt on hand. Rock salt helps melt the ice on porches, sidewalks, driveways, and even roads. With rock salt on the ground, you shouldn’t have to worry about ice forming. If you have pets or children, you may want to go with ice melt instead. Ice melt is considered safer, and it will not harm your lawn.
Know How to Shovel Snow Correctly
Thousands of people get hurt each year because they don’t know how to correctly shovel snow. It is important that you don’t use your back to lift the shovel, but instead use your legs. If possible, avoid lifting the snow. Instead, push the snow off to the side. Plan out where you want the snow to go ahead of time so that you can easily push it off to the side. If you must lift the snow, make sure you squat down when you lift it. Basically, you want to lift the shovel the same way as you would lift a heavy object. Instead of bending over, use your legs to lift the snow.
Remember to keep your back straight when you lift the snow. Keep good posture and avoid bending at the waist. If you must turn around, make sure you turn your entire body and don’t just twist your waist. Never throw snow over your shoulder. Depending on how dense the snow is, sometimes it can weigh 25 pounds or more when on your shovel.
Before you go outside to shovel, make sure you are dressed warmly. Dress in layers so that you can easily add and take off clothes. Before heading outdoors, it is recommended to warm up by doing some arm and back stretches. This is especially important if you are older or don’t exercise regularly. By warming up, you will be reducing the chance of you getting an injury while shoveling snow. If you will be shoveling a lot of snow, such as a large driveway, make sure you take breaks. When you become tired, your body is prone to get hurt. During your breaks, head inside to get warm and hydrate. For more tips on shoveling your snow, check out our article here.
Make Sure All Your Leaves Are Raked
You may have already done this step during the fall, but now is a great time to make sure all your leaves are raked up. Too much leaf litter on your lawn can damage the grass, especially if it freezes. A little leaf litter is okay for the soil, as it helps provide some protection for your grass. But avoid letting the leaves on your yard become too compact. If you decide to leave a small number of leaves on your lawn, it may be a good idea to mow them. A small amount of well-chopped leaves can serve as a compost layer, which will give nutrients to your lawn during the winter.
Prune Your Bushes and Trees
Once again, you may have already done this right before winter. Although pruning your trees and bushes may not seem necessary, it is actually very important for both your trees/bushes and the lawn. Too many branches cannot only block sunlight from the tree/bush, but it also blocks sunlight from reaching the grass. By pruning your plants, you’ll also be preparing them for a good growing season in the spring.
Clean Your Gutters
While this doesn’t have to do with your lawn, this is definitely something that should be on your snowstorm preparation checklist. Remove any leaves or debris that is clogging your gutters. If there is already ice on the ground, make sure your ladder is on a sturdy surface as you check your gutters. Once you have finished cleaning your gutters, you may want to flush them by spraying water onto them using a hose. If the weather is very cold out, you may not want to do this, as the water might freeze. By cleaning your gutters, you’ll be eliminating the chance of icicles forming on your roof.
Improve the Traction on Your Sidewalk and Driveway
While you probably won’t be driving during a snowstorm, it is still a good idea to have your driveway and sidewalk ready for ice. Improve the traction on your sidewalk and driveway by scattering some cat litter, gravel, sand, or ashes. Of course, if you are expecting to get a lot of snow, it may be best to wait until after the snowstorm to add it to your walkways. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead by having your sand, ashes, or kitty litter ready. Purchase enough so that it will cover your entire driveway and walkways. If you have a wood stove, you may be able to use your ashes as a form of traction. Whatever you choose to use, improving your traction will help prevent ice from building up on sidewalks and driveways.
Clean up Your Yard
Another important tip for preparing for a snowstorm is to clean up your yard. Furniture, kiddie pools, swing sets, and other objects on your lawn should be moved inside. Otherwise, they will freeze onto the ground, which can end up harming your grass. Make sure you store all your items somewhere safe, such as in your garage.
Protect Your Garden Furniture from the Weather
Speaking of cleaning up your lawn, now is the time to start cleaning up the furniture in your garden. If you have a shed or garage, consider storing your outdoor furniture there. If not, you’ll want to cover your furniture with a waterproof cover. Before it snows, wash the furniture with a mild soap so that it is ready to be used next year. Remove the cushions from your outdoor furniture and store them somewhere safe. By protecting your garden furniture from the winter weather, your furniture may last for a long time.
Disconnect Your Hoses
Disconnect all your hoses outdoors and put them somewhere out of the weather. Leaving your hoses connected to outdoor faucets can cause frozen pipes or even a water leak. Remember to put your hoses somewhere safe so that you can reuse them for years to come. Don’t leave your hoses out in the snow, because this can damage them.
Wrap All Your Young Trees in Tree Wrap
If you are growing thin-barked trees such as maple, honeylocust, or crabapples, it is important that you wrap them with tree wrap. Tree wrap prevents sunscald injury which usually occurs during winter and early spring. Intense sunlight warms the surface of the trees to the point of stimulating cell activity in the bark. A sudden drop in temperature at night can cause damage to the tree, which results in a condition known as sunscald. Tree wrap reflects the light, which decreases the amount of heat the tree will feel. It is especially important to wrap your trees with tree wrap if you are expecting a snowstorm.
Be Prepared Indoors Too
Not only should you prepare your yard for a snowstorm, but you should prepare your house for the cold weather too. Make sure your house is insulated to prevent it from becoming cold and causing frozen pipes. Have an emergency kit ready in case you run out of electric. Blankets, flashlights, snacks, water, and warm clothes should be kept in your emergency kit. If you have a wood stove, have it ready to use in case your heating system stops working. Keep your phone charged and have some emergency phone numbers ready in case an emergency happened. You should keep an emergency kit inside your vehicle too in case you are out on the roads when the snowstorm hits.
Preparing your yard for a snowstorm is not as hard as you may think. By preparing for a snowstorm, you won’t have to worry as much when the snowstorm hits. Remember that safety is always first, so don’t go outside unless necessary while there is a snowstorm. In addition to protecting your yard from the weather, make sure you have emergency kits ready inside and in your vehicle. I hope today’s article has answered all your questions about preparing your yard for a snowstorm. Stay warm!