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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Landscape Care In Frigid Weather

Written by Anne Vazquez. Posted in Exteriors, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Safety, Web Exclusives

Tagged: , , ,

Published on January 09, 2014 with No Comments

This Web Exclusive is contributed by PLANET, a national association of commercial landscape professionals based in Herndon, VA.

For commercial facility managers, the safety concerns for employees, buildings, and outdoor landscaping begin to pile up as soon as wintry weather begins.  Here are a list of tips on keeping people safe and protecting landscape investments during frigid weather conditions. web exclusive

Providing safe access for employees and guests by way of slip-free walkways is of prime concern. It is important to time surface treatments correctly, with the appropriate chemicals for each type of pavement, especially in freeze thaw cycles. Having a plan for surface treatment is critical for preventing slip-and-fall accidents.

Don’t forget the roof. Rooftops and gutters can bear a lot of weight from heavy snow. Professionals trained on the safe and effective removal of snow from rooftops should be consulted if a facility manager has any cause for concern.

winter maintenance

Photo courtesy of PLANET member, Belknap Landscape Company Snow & Ice Management

Protect plants with a physical barrier. No matter the amount of shrubs and trees on a property, in frigid weather it’s worth taking some precautions to protect these investments. Facility managers can employ the use of anti-transpirants, which are applied to plants and trees to help reduce water loss from plant leaves (similar to sweating). Burlap wrapping also may be used to shield valuable evergreens from salt spray and winter winds. Tree branches that may be susceptible to snow loads should be tied together; staff should be sure to remove the cover as soon as it begins to warm up again.

Use care when shoveling, plowing, or blowing snow. Staff should install posts with reflectors next to plants, so they are well marked; then snow won’t be shoveled on top of the plants. Snow piles left on plants will starve them of oxygen.

Create a plan for snow removal. PLANET members recommend facility managers develop a contract with a landscape professional that defines the number of inches of snow that needs to fall before services are delivered. And, most snow contracts require action within 24 hours.

Use chemicals wisely. Snow removal contractors who aren’t landscape professionals may not give much thought to the types of chemicals they are using. Facility managers should ask if the company uses staff that is trained in snow removal.  Salt and melting agents for snow and ice can potentially damage plant material along walkways and driveways. Professionals will know how much to use, when to use them, and use strategies, such as protective fencing, to keep the salt from severely damaging evergreen plant material as well as groundcovers.

About Anne Vazquez

Anne Vazquez

Vazquez has been writing about facility management since 1996 when she began working at Today's Facility Manager (TFM) as the magazine's Editorial Assistant. From 2000 to 2005, she continued to work in publishing in another subject field until rejoining TFM's editorial team as Managing Editor in February 2005. In September 2012, she was promoted to Editor of TFM, where she continues to seek out solutions and trends for the magazine's facility management audience. Vazquez can be reached at

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