As a full-service lawn management and landscaping company, Dream Greener understands that landscaping doesn’t just end in the fall. That’s why we provide Bethel Park and surrounding cities with efficient and professional residential snow plowing and shoveling services to keep your driveways, sidewalks, and pathways clear, safe, and accessible all winter long.
If you’re wondering how we partner with you to make it happen, here’s the scoop!
Preparing for a Snow Storm
As the boy scout motto says, “be prepared”; we believe that our winter snow removal success depends on our preparation.
In preparation for a snow or ice storm Dream Greener performs preventative maintenance on all of our trucks, we install plows and commercial grade salt spreaders, we go over safety with the entire team and we watch the weather for you!
For a residential home owner, consider these tips to prepare your home for winter storms:
- Check the forecast before heading out: In the busy day to day life, sometimes we can forget to look at the forecast for what is coming. Awareness can be a life saver.
- Position your vehicle appropriately in the street: Keeping your car away from plow lanes is important not only for saving yourself digging through 3 feet of snow to find your car, it also prevents damage from debris.
- Maintain your wipers and tires: Don’t forget to put your wipers up when there is going to be a snow or ice event! Have tires on your vehicle that will keep you safe.
- Stake your property in advance: Plows need a frame of reference so that they do not strike the grass or any landscape features invisible beneath the snow. Make them visible, durable, tall enough, and uniform so they are clearly snow stakes. We recommend fiberglass for durability and longevity.
Choose the Right Ice Melt for Your Home
“Which ice melt do I choose for my driveway?” you may ask. There are 3 base salts used, each with their own benefits.
- Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt): The same as your table salt, this is going to be very effective down to –5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the cheapest ice melt by weight. It releases the highest amount of chloride when it dissolves, which can damage concrete and metal. Unfortunately, it can pollute streams, rivers and lakes if overused heavily.
- Magnesium Chloride: This salt is effective down to –25 degrees Fahrenheit. In Pittsburgh, this would still be effective for the very coldest winter nights. It releases 40% less chlorine into your local environment than rock salt or Calcium Chloride, causing less damage to lawn and water sources nearby.
- Calcium Chloride: This salt is effective down to –65 degrees Fahrenheit. It melts ice faster than Sodium Chloride and melts more ice by weight, nearly twice as effective in that respect. Be warned though, that Calcium Chloride chemically attacks concrete (not asphalt) and can cause some corrosion.
Relatively new on the market is a Beet Juice mixture. The sugars in the beet juice lower the freezing point of water—making salts even more effective. It will leave less residue and offer an organic ingredient to lessen harshness on nearby vegetation. Keep this in mind if you have tender new plantings near your driveway.
Choose the Best Equipment for Your Home
What do you need to take care of the snow on your property effectively? Depending on the length and size of your driveway, you may decide to take care of your own property. DIY can be a big up front cost depending on the equipment you choose. The following tools may help:
- Shovel: Clear as much snow, the old-fashioned way, as you please. A major upside of shoveling is that you can recruit some neighborhood kids (or your own) to help out for a few bucks. Be realistic about the manpower and time involved so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside, especially in the middle of the night.
- Snow Blower: Electric or gas-powered, these can give your driveway that ‘clean’ look after one pass, much faster than shoveling. Major drawbacks are that it is loud, needs fuel and maintenance, takes up space, and requires an initial investment.
- ATV Plow: This might be for driveways and sidewalks that are more extensive than realistic for a shoveling team or snow blower alone. Some drawbacks are the maintenance and storage of the equipment, fuel, and initial investment. They’re also pretty noisy.
- Snow Plow: Rigging up a snow plow could make the most sense for reliability on long and winding driveways, or difficult terrain. A heated driving compartment is a major advantage. Disadvantages include acquiring an appropriate vehicle/truck, installing the plow, fuel usage, and wear and tear on your personal vehicle.
Be Selective About Your Residential Snow Removal Provider
Whether you are doing it yourself, hiring neighborhood kids, or hiring professionals, be realistic about what will get the job done when you need it done. If you decide that hiring out the job is best for you, do your homework!
If you have decided that you need to hire professionals, there are some things you want to make sure you do:
- Call them early! Everyone is looking for help with the snow, so don’t wait. They will book up.
- Have them come by to get a visual of your property before the snow. Again, putting in snow stakes can be a worthy investment.
- Ask them these questions:
- Do you have appropriate insurance?
- How do we communicate?
- What are your plowing and salting thresholds? (i.e. how much snow or ice there needs to be for them to come)
- What time of day will you plow/salt at the earliest and latest?
Here at Dream Greener, we offer winter snow and ice services for the Pittsburgh area. Check out our infographic here!