There are many properties that require more than one form of snow removal to achieve the best results. As many of us know, snow can be mechanically plowed, pushed, lifted, blown, hauled away or even instantly melted as conditions dictate. It is very important to understand that each of these snow removal methods requires a degree of site specific knowledge and operational expertise to be effective at just the right time.
Here are just a few factors that help us determine the best method to clear snow at your residential, commercial or industrial property.
- What is your tolerance for snow accumulation before clearing must begin? Will snow need to be cleared instantly as it falls or only after a predetermined amount of snow accumulation has occurred (1”+)? Is speed of snow clearing paramount to all other service factors?
- Is there enough physical space on your property to retain cleared snow until natural melting has occurred? If not, plans will have to be in place to relocate or elevate cleared snow higher to further maximize any space that remains.
- Do you have a special paved surface that will be damaged if a standard steel edged snow removal machine is used? It is very common that brick paved, stamped concrete, epoxy coated concrete or even regular asphalt paved surfaces will become scratched due to repeated passes from steel edged snow removal equipment. One should strongly consider using a specialized piece of snow removal equipment(plow, blower, bucket, pusher, etc.) that has a rubber or polyurethane cutting edge to avoid this problem.
- Is your site open for business 24 hours a day/7 days a week or only during select times during the week? This site specific detail along with your tolerance for fallen snow accumulation will further determine the necessary equipment and snow clearing approach needed to meet or exceed your expectations.
- Will snow piles have to be placed or relocated near existing storm sewers or drainage retention areas to safely carry away excess water as snow melting begins? Often times specialized machines will be needed (loaders, skid steers, blowers, etc.) to relocate existing piles of snow to alternate on-site or off-site areas best suited for the excess drainage water that melting snow creates.
- Will it be a problem if snow piles become just too large in size on your property? Some of the reasons that existing piles of snow may need to be reduced in size are that they block the safe view of an adjacent road way, block the sight path of a critical sign, ongoing melting of snow may cause a reoccurring refreeze/ice situation atop adjacent pavement, take up needed parking spaces, etc. Again, specialized snow relocation equipment may be needed to handle this task.
Please be sure to keep Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. in mind when evaluating your present and future snow and ice management needs.
Many of us carefully travel atop slippery icy surfaces every winter with great care and awareness. We do our very best to lower the possibility of a slip and fall or vehicle accident by applying various forms of ice melters to our roads, sidewalks and bridges to convert dangerous ice to manageable surface water. However, we need to really consider the power of ice and the damage it can cause when water is allowed to freeze when becoming trapped or simply left to stagnate in non-temperature controlled areas like exterior sump drains, foundation mounted water supply lines, roof gutters, non-drained buried lawn irrigation lines, buried down spout drain lines, garden hoses left outside, rain barrels, etc.
What happens to water if it’s not allowed to expand when frozen?
Here are a few simple steps to avoid ice related property damage and it’s corresponding repair.
- Clean out all leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts often to allow for proper draining.
- Be sure to properly pitch exterior sump pump drain lines to allow water to flow out and not remain stagnate in pipe.
- Blow out or vacuum all debris that may have become trapped in buried down spout extension drain lines.
- Prepare your lawn’s sprinkler system for winter by removing all the water from the irrigation system and equipment by using pressurized air.
- Drain water from all portable/stationary pumps and water holding tanks before freezing temperatures move in.
By taking these few simple winter related precautions will allow our drainage and water control systems to function as they were intended and with minimal additional expense.
A seasonal spring cleanup is a one-time property visit to prepare your lawn and landscape for the up and coming growing season.
Normally our spring cleanup service includes the removal and off-site disposal of any landscape related surface debris, windblown trash, fallen twigs, etc. that may have accumulated over winter in plant beds, atop paved surfaces and across all lawn areas. We will also cultivate the soil or wood mulch covering within specified plant beds, cut back various perennial plants, perform initial lawn mowing, all pavement will be mechanically edged and blown clean to complete. It is also very common to perform mechanical lawn dethatching, core aeration and lawn fertilization in addition to a spring cleanup.
Lawn renovation is the process of rebuilding your lawn’s density by mechanical and manual means. To begin we normally core aerate all lawn areas to relieve soil compaction and allow for improved air-water-nutrient flow to the existing lawn’s root system. After all lawn areas have been aerated, we will mechanically slit-seed across all existing thin/stressed lawn areas. Mechanical slit-seeding is the process of planting site specific premium grass seed directly into the soil by slicing through a weakened stand of turf grass. This service ensures great seed to soil contact which translates into excellent germination rates. After all existing lawn areas have been mechanically slit-seeded, we will apply a granular seed starter fertilizer that is especially high in phosphorus to all lawn areas to further enhance the seed germination process. Next we will repair all remaining completely bare (little or no grass) areas by delivering and installing additional top soil (1/2”- 1”), plant premium grass seed and install seed germination blanket or peat moss covering to complete the bare area repairs. The absolute best time (in my opinion) to perform these services will be from mid-August through September. Actually, it is only during this time of the growing season that we have optimum seed growing conditions (warm soil temperatures, less weed competition, little chance of frost or freezing temperatures, adequate natural rainfall and cooling temperatures). The spring season will be the next best time of the year to renovate a lawn, especially for lawns partially covered by shade tree canopies. It is only in the spring season that trees have not yet fully grown their leaves and greater seed germination/plant vigor can be derived from this short term abundant sun light. Lawn renovation services in addition to properly scheduled mechanical maintenance, lawn fertilization, weed control and insect management will greatly enhance any failing stand of turf grass over a short period of time.
My professional opinion on the use of sod is that I will recommend it only when absolutely necessary. The reason we like growing a lawn from seed over sod is that we can choose the best blend of turf grass seed for the specific site/conditions at hand. Please keep in mind that most commercially grown Kentucky Bluegrass blend sod is meant to be installed in areas that have 70% + sun exposure throughout a given day. One important factor rarely exposed by most sod resellers. When the choice is made to grow a new lawn by seed you will need to intentionally “over prepare” the soil and nurture the seed for optimum germination and deep root establishment to ensure great long term results. Sod on the other hand can be simply laid on a “sub-par” soil surface and kept alive as long as there is adequate and routine irrigation available. Other factors that can easily stress poorly rooted sod are everyday foot traffic, pet waste, intense heat, insect activity, minimal watering, excessive watering, fungus, sub-par mechanical maintenance, etc. Even though seed will take a growing season or two to fully establish and reach the density levels you are looking for, you will have great long term results with lower maintenance costs thereafter. Sod on the other hand will look great instantly and usually require a greater initial financial investment, but will also continue to cost more over time to maintain (rebuild fading sod density due to limited initial grass variety selection, avoiding constant fungal related threats, continual need to break through dense thatch layer, etc.). The average sodded lawn retains a non-native soil layer that routinely causes poor air/water/nutrient flow to the lawn’s root zone below. In many cases we are forced to break down this “soil barrier” by performing multiple core aerations, mechanical slit-seeding, power raking/dethatching, etc. each and every growing season to maintain acceptable turf density.
Thank you for taking the time to review my lawn, landscape and snow management related writings. My promise is to share relevant experiences, observations and practices used to produce the very best lawn, landscape and snow related service outcome possible. My name is Joe Pacocha and I began Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. in 1993. We perform professional seasonal property maintenance, renovation and installation services across the north side of Chicago and surrounding northwest suburbs. We continually strive to earn the respect and trust of our customers by exceeding their expectations. It is in our client’s complete satisfaction that we derive our passion to continue learning and generate increased value within all services that we perform. How may I help you?