Your commercial property in Northeast Ohio can’t just look good in spring, summer, and fall and then fall apart during winter. It doesn’t have that luxury.
Whether you manage an office park, hospital, educational institution, industrial site, retail space, or homeowners’ association, these places are busy all year long. They don’t get a chance to take breaks or get a season off.
That’s why commercial property winterization is so important. When temperatures are dropping, deciduous plants may not be growing, but your property still has to look good. And you still need to focus on maintenance that will ensure your commercial facility bounces back with vigor come springtime.
In fact, winter’s colder climate, snow buildup, and ice accumulations can wreak havoc on your commercial landscape. Winter’s wind and freezing temperatures can lead to property damage, utility interruptions, or even temporary business closures. No facility manager wants to deal with those headaches. And you certainly don’t want to waste your budget on repairing all this damage versus making your property better and better each year.
That’s why it’s important to take steps now focusing on how you can get a winterized property that can stand strong against any issues and deliver your employees, visitors, shoppers, customers, residents, and guests a safe, secure, comfortable, and beautiful commercial space.
7 Key Commercial Property Winterization Tasks That Make Your Facility Better
Your Northeast Ohio commercial facility can deal with quite a lot during the winter months. There’s the heavy weight of snow and ice on your tree limbs and other plants. There's ice buildup that can cause slippery surfaces. There can even be flooding when tons of snow and ice melts quickly.
How bad can it get? When tons of snow and ice accumulate on weak tree branches, those limbs can fall on cars, buildings, or even people. The constant freeze-and-thaw cycle can cause damage to walkways, driveways, sidewalks, hardscapes, and entryways. And your turf can collect snow mold or suffer snow plow damage.
To prevent these woes, you want a winterized property. Not only can this help you avoid costly damages, but it can also ensure a clean, professional look through this tough season and give you a better-looking property when spring returns.
Try out these 7 strategies for proper commercial property winterization in Northeast Ohio.
1. Embrace Some Holiday Color
While winter means snow and ice, it also means the holiday season is coming.
And while your commercial property may have work to do, ignoring the holiday season can be a bit too Grinch-like for many of the people that come and go on your site on a daily basis.
Embrace property winterization and add some holiday cheer with plants. Similar to your spring, summer, and fall container arrangements, you can create a festive pot full of evergreens and colorful branches from red-twig dogwoods, as well as other seasonal boughs and branches.
This creates some positive energy and gets people in the mood for decking the halls.
2. Take Advantage of Budget Dollars and Get Some Planting Done
Though winter is fast approaching, fall is actually a great time to get planting done on your site as part of commercial property winterization. In fact, from September through November, you can still get planting done and those plants will establish their plant roots before the ground freezes. These plants get a head start to the next growing season and can better handle summer’s extreme heat and drought as a result. Being planted in fall also helps them better stand up to pests or diseases.
If you have been looking to renovate a space or add plants to an area, this may be the best time of year to do it. And it helps improve your commercial property value and curb appeal, too.
3. Give Your Commercial Lawn a Boost
Commercial property winterization includes doing those lawn maintenance tasks that can prime it for better growth the next year. It may also mean doing the necessary turf renovation tasks that can improve your overall lawn’s look and health.
Aeration and overseeding your commercial lawn are great tasks to perform before winter to improve its health and vitality. Aeration, as the removal of small plugs of soil using a machine called an aerator, can give your tired, worn, compacted lawn a chance to breathe and more easily receive oxygen, nutrients, and water at the root level where it’s needed most.
After aeration, overseeding is a great service to embrace. Why? Those holes left by aeration are perfect for new turf seeds to settle into, maximizing seed-to-soil contact and germination. As a result, overseeding is more successful, and your bare spots or thin areas will disappear, resulting in stronger, thicker commercial turf.
4. Don’t Neglect Those Last-Minute Fall Cleanup Tasks
A properly winterized property is one that has also received great fall care.
This means getting in good fall cleanup before winter arrives. This includes raking or blowing leaves into piles and disposing of them. Not only can this make your lawn look fresh in fall and winter, but it also prevents disease from developing on your lawn when snow and ice cover the leaves and smother the turf.
Once leaves are cleaned up, the last mow of the season should be done on your turf. This mow cuts your lawn just a bit shorter than usual at 2.5 inches to further prevent snow mold and other lawn-harming winter accumulation. This also helps your lawn look neat and tidy going into the season.
Finally, you must manage the perennials on your commercial landscape. They have done a good job all year adding color and texture to your site, but now they need some proper care so they can look appealing and healthy again next year. To ensure they perform their best, deadheading perennials or cutting back ornamental grasses can get them ready to grow again in spring.
5. Properly Shut Down Your Commercial Irrigation System
In spring, summer, and even fall, your commercial property’s plants need water, and your commercial irrigation system did the job, keeping your plants nourished and well-hydrated.
As the year comes to an end, though, your plants need less and less water. At the same time, the weather is changing and temperatures are getting colder.
That’s why commercial property winterization in Northeast Ohio has to include an irrigation system cleanout and shutdown to avoid system damage during those winter months when freeze-and-thaw cycles can be extreme. This task, which should be done before November 1 each year, includes blowing out any leftover water, conducting a final test of the system components, blowing out any leftover water from all the irrigation lines, and shutting down the control box properly, so you don't face any severe damages or costly repairs come springtime.
6. Get Your Plants Ready For Dormancy
Commercial property winterization also naturally includes helping your plants gently ease into this dormant season.
If you have young trees on your commercial facility or those that have thin bark, wrapping them could help protect them from winter’s frigid temperatures. This winter protection is important because winter sun warms tree bark and then temperatures drop very quickly once the sun disappears, which can crack and dry bark or lead to sunscald. This can also impact evergreen needles, turning them brown.
Wrapping sensitive trees with burlap can provide winter protection to those trees that are weak, newly planted, dehydrated, or exposed to heavy wind on a regular basis.
Additionally evergreen plants can benefit from protection against wind burn or salt-spray damage with an anti-desiccant application. This helps keep these plants from drying out too much during winter.
In sensitive areas, you can also construct temporary burlap or silt fencing to break the flow of cold winds and limit salt spray.
7. Tend to Dead Trees or Branches
The weight of snow and ice can cause even healthy trees and branches to topple when the snow and ice piles on. This is particularly dangerous when you are faced with weak, dead, and dying tree branches. The result can be property damage to buildings, cars, or pedestrians.
Check for dead and dying tree branches as part of your commercial property winterization and prune them before the season hits and they become more dangerous liabilities.
8. Remember To Sign Your Snow Contract Early
You are busy as a property manager, so it’s easy to understand why you may not have put signing your commercial snow removal contract on your commercial property winterization checklist. But this task is incredibly important.
Why? The earlier you sign a snow and ice management contract, the more your service professional can plan to efficiently take care of your commercial property. This also better prepares you in case Northeast Ohio gets an early, aggressive snowstorm, which we have received in the past.
Signing your contract in fall allows your snow and ice removal professional to strategically develop an efficient route for your commercial property. This makes you a priority on their list versus an afterthought. It also ensures your provider has time to properly prepare a plan for where to pile snow on your property and develop strategies for different types of snow events -- from strong ice storms to heavy snowstorms to slushy mixes of the two extremes.
Your commercial facility may also require some extra precautions to best protect it from snow and ice, such as the installation of plow stakes to protect areas from snow plow damage or the addition of snow fencing to limit large snow drifts.
A snowplow operator may also want to have time to walk through your site before winter so he or she can note your preferences and priorities. This professional will assess your property for potholes, broken curb lines, and drainage issues, so you can fix them now so they don’t impede movement on your site. Every property is unique, and your commercial snow and ice removal professional will want to provide you with unique solutions to adequately address your needs.
Signing your snow and ice management contract early is one of the most important steps to property winterization since we never know what Mother Nature is going to bring during the winter months – despite what the forecasts predict. It can also ease your stress as a property manager, reducing your sleepless nights.
Your No. 1 Goal: A Winterized Property in Northeast Ohio
We know it’s easy to stop thinking about your landscape once the weather cools down and winter is approaching. With everything on your plate, the last thing on your mind is fall cleanup and winter prep work outside. We get it. It’s not easy to remember all these little details that can mean quite a lot when it comes to your commercial landscape’s health and good aesthetics.
Focusing on commercial property winterization now can save you an incredible amount of time, money, and headaches. No one wants to waste budget dollars on unnecessary repairs after all.
Don’t want to wait until the last minute. If you need help, Turfscape can help you with your property winterization so you can put your facility in the best light possible for a smooth winter and all around amazing year.
Want to learn more about Turfscape’s commercial property winter preparation services in Northeast Ohio? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can feel confident and make a great choice.