Mother Natures seems to be regularly confusing our winter transition to spring this year in Wisconsin, with downright schizophrenic temperature swings. Multiple heavy snowfalls in April have not only presented driving and wardrobe challenges; they have compromised spring maintenance schedules. April is the critical spring clean-up month, readying properties and homes for the warmer months ahead, making inspections and any necessary repairs in advance of new shifts in weather conditions.
While waiting for the latest snowfall to melt, the following are a few items to consider and potential issues to be prepared for:
While Wisconsinites should always expect the unexpected weather-wise, most homeowners don’t expect to perform the same laborious tasks/inspections twice in the spring. If a thorough inspection of foundation, roofs, eaves, joints, seals, pipes, etc. was already performed to check for any cracks and leaks, it should be performed again after a few more freeze/thaw cycles. Additionally, check the septic system and make sure the drainfield area has not been too oversaturated; multiple spring thaws can wreak havoc on septic. Along those lines…
If lawns were already aerated this spring, it might help the ground absorb the excess water from the latest snowfall, minimizing flooding from the already saturated ground (from the last snowmelt). If the last 2 storms have created new snowpiles near the home, try to keep it from within 10 feet of the home’s foundation. An inch of snow over an acre of ground is the equivalent of 10,000 liters of water, which is a lot for an overly saturated lawn to absorb, and puts more pressure on any compromised areas of the home’s foundation.
An initial spring clean up was likely begun once the snow melted a month ago. The latest round of snowstorms have likely created new debris deposits which should immediately be cleaned out of gutters, downspouts and drains, which will ensure snowmelt is properly expelled away from the foundation. Additional debris removal will likely be needed around the property as well to promote healthy lawns and spring growth.
Protecting the Garden:
Believe it or not, spring snowfall can have an insulating effect on plants that have begun to emerge when the temperatures drop dramatically. Since the weather has been generally cool since the early March snow melt, most plantings in Southeastern Wisconsin have not been prompted to start growing. However, it is good to pay attention to evergreens and arborvitae, as this heavy wet snow can damage branches as they bend under the weight and potentially uproot. The biggest impact to our gardens is the resulting delay for working in them. It is best to let soil dry out before removing last year’s leaves and cutting out perennials.
While waiting for the blue ribbon days ahead, don the rose-colored glasses and take the necessary steps to keep your custom built home a fortress during any weather Wisconsin has in store.