Cleaning up after a storm

    cleaning up after stormIt’s pretty apparent that Mother Nature doesn’t like us much. She’s acting like a scorned ex, if your scorned ex has the power to create chaos through weather. And she’s taking her aggression out on your yard.

    Cleaning up after a storm can be an ordeal for any property owner or tenant. Most of the time, it requires a lot more effort than picking up some broken branches. Storms that heavily damage trees and other large pieces of the landscape can be a potential hazard for the lessor and lessee.

    Before you jump into clean-up, you should step back and formulate a plan. Also, communicating with tenants to discourage them from tackling a potentially dangerous situation during cleanup is prudent.

    This may not be a case of “DIY.”

    Depending on the extent of the damage, you may want to call in a landscaping expert. A storm-damaged landscape can produce a number of hazards.  Trees may appear stable but if they have been damaged, they can fall.

    Utility providers should be contacted when dealing with downed power lines or lines tangled in trees.

    A few tips:

    Identify Potential Hazards Before Cleanup

    Prioritize by taking care of anything obstructing access to a home, car, garage, etc. Those need to be taken care of first. Also, identify potential dangers, like trees that are unstable and limbs hanging in tree canopies. Wait until the storm is long gone before beginning.

    Use Caution when Cutting or Removing Trees

    It may seem obvious, but trees are extremely heavy (insert “duh” here). The problem is that they don’t always look as heavy as they are. Their weight can shift quickly while you’re trying to cut or move, rolling onto you and causing injury.

    Inspect Standing Trees

    A tree that looks like it fully survived the storm may actually be damaged. Closely inspect, or have a professional come in, to determine if it’s actually damaged.

    Prune Smaller Trees and Shrubs Affected By Damage

    Determine whether the damaged plant can be salvaged or if it needs to be removed. Each plant heals in its own way and some may not be able to overcome the damage.

    Inspect Landscape for Drainage Issues

    Storms produce heavy rains that can wash away a landscape. In addition, the drainage system could be altered. Soil erosion may have also occurred. Note whether or not mulch has washed out.

    Handle Standing Water With Care

    Standing water resulting from heavy rains and flooding can be a health hazard, especially in extreme circumstances when the home has been flooded. Water from a flooded structure can contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems as well as agricultural and industrial waste.

    The CDC recommends wearing protective clothing and gloves, and keeping open cuts or sores exposed to floodwater as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection during cleanup.

    Before going near standing water, you need to note whether or not there are ANY down wires in the vicinity.

    Although it may seem like a daunting task, a well-organized plan will help you get your yard back to its previous glory in no time. And don’t forget — we have a list of certified vendors. We’ve personally worked with these companies and feel confident recommending them to our Raving Fans. Email us or ask us on Facebook!

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