Imagine it’s spring, and you’re happily strolling through your front yard to check out the cheerful daffodils and get a peek at the fresh green grass after a long snowy winter. Life is good, right?
Wait, what the heck?
There are big gouges in your nice lawn, and it looks like your prized hydrangea shrub by the driveway is dead! Ugh!
$@#%% snow plows!
The only thing worse than ugly damage from your HOA snow removal company is battling them over who should pay to replace it.
Make sure your snow management company cares.
“We realize what a big part landscaping plays in how you feel about where you live,” says David Keffer, a branch manager at Level Green Landscaping. “The HOA garden committee spends so much time on how things look. We don’t want to tear it up.”
Most snow removal damage can be prevented with a few key preventive steps, Keffer says.
Here’s a look:
Preventing Broken Curbs with Snow Stakes
“Snow plows can break curbs,” Keffer says. “We advise HOAs to let us install snow stakes to mark driveways and parking lanes. We put them in at the beginning of the season and remove them in the spring.”
Then plow drivers know exactly where the curbs are for safer plowing.
Snow stakes also help plow drivers know where pavement ends and lawn begins.
Without them, snow plow blades can dig in along the edges of the lawn, causing it to lift, rip, and tear.
Some HOAs balk at paying extra for the stakes, Keffer says, but it’s an investment in preventing snow removal damage.
Level Green’s HOA snow removal contracts state the landscaping company isn’t responsible for snow removal damage if the HOA doesn’t agree to install snow stakes, he says.
Too Much Salt
Excess salt and ice melt materials can cause snow removal damage to lawns and landscape plants.
Level Green crews work to keep it on hard surfaces so the chemicals don’t damage your turf and plants.
“We use the required amounts of these materials, and no more,” Keffer says. “We measure all sidewalks and lanes and calculate the exact amount needed.
“We use materials that are safe for turf and plants, but too much will damage it,” he says. “We’ve all seen people out there tossing ice melt like they’re feeding chickens. Then at the end of the storm all you see is this white coating of ice melt.”
Too much of these products will burn the lawn, leaving unsightly brown patches of dead grass.
“Beyond killing grass and plants, excess salt and ice melt products run off into rivers and streams and end up in the Chesapeake Bay,” Keffer says. Careful use of snow melt products is crucial to help the environment.
Protecting Shrubs from Snow Removal Damage
That snow looks light and fluffy coming down, but once it’s piled up, the weight can cause winter damage to shrubs.
Level Green crews pile snow away from bushes that could break from the weight of the snow.
Planning Ahead to Prevent HOA Snow Removal Damage
Preventing snow removal damage takes advance planning and communication, Keffer says.
“We meet with the HOA property manager on site, we walk their site with them so we know exactly where to put the snow, and so we know all their expectations,” he says. “We make sure our crew supervisor knows where all the curbs are, to help prevent any damage.
“If we’re using a subcontractor for the property they go to the property with us, too,” Keffer says. “Many times the subcontractor has been doing the same property for years, which is very helpful.”
This crucial communication to prevent snow removal damage happens long before the snow flies.
Keeping Snow Crews Rested
“Snow management is a challenge,” Keffer says. Snow crews often work long shifts to clear snow as quickly as possible.
“The equipment operators running the trucks and the guys and gals out there clearing the sidewalks are working hard,” Keffer says. “We insist they take breaks every four hours to recharge and have some coffee. After they work an 8-hour shift they go home and get some rest for a few hours.”
“If We Damage It, We Fix It”
“If we damage something, whether it’s a curb or turf or a plant, we take responsibility for that,” Keffer says. “Level Green has always been a “do the right thing” company. If we break a curb or damage turf or a plant, we’ll fix it.”
Avoid Snow Removal Damage With Level Green
If you’ve ever experienced snow removal damage by a landscaping company, then received a bill from the company to pay for the repair, you know how frustrating that can be.
Partner with a snow management company that does the right thing.
“We care for these HOA properties as if they were our own properties,” Keffer says. “Anything we do is in the best interest of the community.”
Level Green Landscaping provides customized snow and ice management services to our clients that we already service throughout the year.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968.
You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you — before the snow piles up.
Image Source: Ice Melter on Stairs