Five Snow Shoveling Tips to Help You Ditch the Snow!

There’s still a bit of snow on the ground from our last dusting and more is surely on the way. Before you grab your shovel and head out to clear the driveway, check out these snow shoveling tips to make sure you’re not one of the thousands of people who suffer an injury from shoveling snow and ice this winter. 

Before You Go Out

Your preparation for shoveling should begin before you even get outside. Get your body ready for the work ahead by stretching and warming up for at least 5 minutes before going outside. Try squats, walking, or stretching to get your heart going. When you’re warmed up grab a bottle of water to bring outside with you. It’s important to stay hydrated while working. 

Layers Are Key

It’s very important to stay warm while shoveling. Layers will help to keep you warm while you shovel. Don’t forget to wear a hat as you lose much of your body’s heat through your head. 

Prep Your Tools

Whether you have a plastic shovel or a metal one before you start shoveling spray down the shovel blade with a liberal amount of cooking spray. This will keep snow from sticking and help the blade glide through the snow.

Don’t Wait

Shoveling a few inches of snow is easier than shoveling a foot of snow that’s been packed down. If the forecast calls for all-day snow it’s usually a good idea to shovel a few times throughout the day rather than all at once at the end. If you know the snow is coming spread ice melt on your drive and walkways to make them less slippery. 

How to Shovel

Before you start shoveling, plan to take frequent breaks. Sudden bursts of vigorous exercise in cold temperatures can cause heart attacks. Snow removal is a hard job; respect that and you’ll have a better time of it. 

The American Heart Association recommends shoveling on a mostly empty stomach and using a smaller shovel or snow blower for snow removal as both put less strain on your heart. 

Back injuries are extremely common when people get out the snow shovel, but they don’t have to happen to you. Remember to lift with your legs and bend your knees when shoveling, but don’t twist. Throw snow forward, not to the side. Remember to hold the snow shovel close to your body. Overreaching causes strain on your arms, shoulders, and back. Alternately you can try pushing the snow away from you, which is often easier than shoveling. 

Consider the Alternative

Before you bundle up and head out to shovel consider hiring someone else to do the snow clearing for you. The cost is generally minimal and may be well worth it to avoid an injury.

Trees and Snow: The Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Tree Care

We’ve already had a tiny bit of snow here on the Island. The light kind of snow that melts as soon as it hits the ground and is prettier to look at than worrisome. However, with winter just around the corner—and an abundance of storms predicted—it pays to go over what to do about your trees and shrubs after a heavy snowfall. 

Heavy wet snow can cause damage to delicate young trees and shrubs. The weight of snow can break branches or split them, and some may even be uprooted if the snow is heavy enough. 

During most snow and ice storms, you won’t have to do anything to your trees and shrubs. Nature is pretty good at taking care of itself, but once in a while, it can use a helping hand. While a light covering of snow won’t do any damage, if you see branches—or in the case of some shrubs like arborvitae, the whole plant—being pulled to the ground by the weight of the snow you may want to get some of the snow off before the branches or trunk snap under the weight. If a plant tips you’ll have to wait until spring to right it, and once you do you should stake it with supports for at least a year or two so that it can regrow a strong root base. 

It is best to remove the snow before it freezes over as removing the snow which has frozen to the plant can cause more damage than you’ll save by getting it off. Branches can be more delicate than they look and when already weakened by the weight of ice and snow they can snap off easily. 

If branches have already broken, there isn’t much you can do to save them. It’s best to just leave them until spring to prune. However, if the branch is a safety hazard you should trim it right away or call a professional like Organically Green Horticultural Services to come and take a look at the damage, assess it, and find the best solution for the health of the plant.