Preparing Your Lawn for Spring: 5 Simple Steps

Jump-start your lawn resuscitation as soon as the ground defrosts, and you’ll avoid a muddy disaster zone later — not to mention ignite your neighbors’ envy.

Here’s how to prepare your lawn for spring:

#1 Assess the Mess

Case your property for thrown branches, dead leaves, and other debris. Clear it away so you’re able to do a general inspection of your soil, lawn, trees, shrubs, and garden structures. See what grass is coming back — or not. Get rid of broken tree limbs; call an arborist if they look dangerous. Now’s the time to take stock and make a plan.

#2 Rake and Wake Your Grass

Just as you like to hunker down on those dark winter days, so, too, do your grass and trees. “As soon as the snow fades, vigorously rake that grass to wake it up and begin to get it to grow”, says Walt Nelson, horticulture program leader for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Monroe County, N.Y.

Rake out areas of thatch — dried, dead grass that can be thick and deep. If you don’t, thatch will keep oxygen and sunlight from other plants and grass. Check for fungus and mold growth. Don’t worry if you run across “snow mold” — a pinkish or gray web over matted blades of grass, or possibly just a slimy brown mess. Despite its name, it’s rarely serious. Gently rake it out and it will dry.

The grass may be a bit brown, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. There are two types of grasses. “Cool season grasses green up in early spring. Warm season grasses green up really slowly in spring,” Koski says.

#3 Weed Out Weeds

Finding a lot of crabgrass out there? It’s decision time. Will you avenge the scourge? If your crabgrass is out of control or you’re just hell-bent on getting rid of it, here’s what you need to know: Preventing crabgrass is all about timing. You want to nix the nasties before they start germinating. You need to use a pre-emergent crabgrass control before the soil temperature hits about 55 degrees and the crabgrass begins growing.

“But most people aren’t walking around with thermometers to measure their soil’s temperature,” Koski says. “Blooming forsythia is a good indicator you should put out your crabgrass preventer. That will be a different time in Michigan than in Virginia.”

You can choose a toxic or an organic preemergent such as corn gluten meal, but understand that with the organic, Nelson says, it will take two to three years of applications to be effective.

Oh, and if you’re eager to get seeding, note that you can’t put out grass seed until at least eight weeks have passed since you applied crabgrass control.

#4 Trim the Trees (and Shrubs!)

Move on to trees and shrubs as the world defrosts, but the garden is not yet growing. “Trim out the dead, and it’s off to the races on another growing season,” Nelson says. “You can do the shrubs on your own, but if you’re concerned about trees, hire a professional.”

The important thing about trimming is to “be careful about trimming growth,” Henriksen says. “You want new growth to get healthy enough to sustain itself in case of a second cold snap.” For flowering shrubs, wait until flowers bloom so you don’t cut off limbs that will be producing flowers or fruit.

#5 Don’t Forget the Mower and What-Nots

Winter is hard on other garden elements. Make sure your irrigation system works properly, and checking to see if there’s damage to any outdoor lighting. Fix broken or damaged patio furniture and any wooden structures. Even clean off and refresh your deck once it’s warm enough that power-washing won’t create a deck ice rink.

Don’t forget to tune up the lawn mower and string trimmer. Clean, sharpen, and oil your pruning shears so they’ll be ready when the temperatures start to rise.

Prepping the yard won’t be just a single weekend event, but if you get the heavy lifting out of the way early, it won’t be long before you’re leaving your socks and boots behind, and feeling the warm, soft grass between your toes.

Article adapted from Stacey Freed of House Logic


Spring has sprung in the Greenbrier Valley and it’s beautiful. Blooming trees, spring flowers popping up and showing their bright faces! It’s a great season, and a great season for real estate. If you’re looking for a dedicated team to help you with any real estate needs, we’re that team! Give us a call 304-645-2255 Greenbrier Real Estate Service

Chocolate Festival THIS WEEKEND! Will you be joining the many others that attend this festival yearly? If so, be sure to stop by and grab a chocolate house from our office on Washington Street!

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How Much Snow is Too Much Snow on Your Roof?

But if you’re really worried you might have too much snow on your roof, here’s how to figure out if your roof is at risk — and how to remove that risk.

Weight of the Snow (Not ‘How Much’) Is What Matters

The critical factor in determining excessive snow loads on your roof isn’t the depth of the snow, it’s the weight, says home improvement expert Jon Eakes.

That’s because wet snow is a whole lot heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, six inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow. That’s a huge difference!

The good news is that your roof is required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for your part of the country.

“Theoretically, if your roof is built to code, it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice,” says Eakes.

How to know if you’ve got wet or dry snow?  You back will let you know. Simply heft a few shovelfuls — you should be able to quickly tell. Plus, local weather forecasts should alert you if snow loads are becoming excessive.

Your Doors Will Tell You If There’s Too Much Snow

Your interior doors are a really good clue. If they begin to stick, that signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame (yikes!).

Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attics in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.

Homes that are most susceptible to roof cave-ins are those that underwent sloppy renovations. Improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for catastrophic roof collapses from snow.

If You Decide the Snow Must Be Removed

Don’t do it yourself if it means getting on the roof.

“People die every year just climbing ladders,” Eakes points out. “Add ice and snow and you’re really asking for trouble.”

Instead, call a professional snow removal contractor to safely do the job.

Check to make sure they are licensed and insured — that immediately sets them apart from inexperienced competitors.

Expect to pay $250 to $500 for most jobs. That’s because they need special gear, including sturdy extension ladders, properly anchored safety harnesses, and specialized snow and ice-removal tools.

Don’t expect (or demand) a bone-dry roof at job’s end. The goal is to remove “excessive” weight as opposed to all weight. Plus, any attempt to completely remove the bottom layer of ice will almost always result in irreparable damage to your roofing.

Tips for Getting Snow Off Your Roof From the Ground

If you have a small, one-story bungalow where the roof is just off the ground, taking matters into one’s own hands may be safe — if you can work entirely from the ground and have the right tools.

Long-handled snow rakes work great on freshly fallen snow, and at $45 they are relatively affordable. Look for models with sturdy telescoping handles and built-in rollers, which keep the blade safely above the shingles.

Other versions work by releasing the snow from underneath. These models slide between the roof and snow, allowing gravity and the snow’s own weight to do most of the work. These are more pricey, rising well above $100. But it’s a good idea to rethink their use. Eakes points out, “They tend to work their best on light, fluffy snow — the kind that probably doesn’t need to be removed in the first place.”

A couple of tips if you’re going to remove snow from the roof yourself:

1. You’ll need to anticipate where the snow and ice will fall as you pull it off your roof — you won’t want to pull a load of heavy, wet snow down on top of yourself or any helpers.

2. Remember, the goal isn’t to remove all visible snow and ice, but rather just enough to relieve the excessive load on the roof.

Article by Douglas Trattnor of HouseLogic.com

 

Hurricane Florence Approaches: How West Virginians Can Prepare

Though the path of Hurricane Florence seems ever-changing and it’s intensity fluctuating (actually decreasing greatly overnight), it’s best to always be prepared for how our area of the Greenbrier Valley could be impacted. For West Virginians and those that may be traveling to or through West Virginia the following information and tips could be very helpful.

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Information from WV Tourism:

Lodging

West Virginia State Parks is offering a 55% discount on available lodge parks, cabins and campsites for those fleeing Hurricane Florence. The offer is available through Tuesday, Sept. 18. Leashed pets are allowed in campgrounds. Pet-friendly cabins and lodge rooms available, but are subject to availability. Book online at wvstateparks.com or call 1-833-WV-PARKS.

If you need additional help finding lodging, please feel free to call 1-800-CALL-WVA for assistance. Click here to see more lodging options, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and more across the state.

Welcome Centers across the state are staffed to accommodate travel questions and needs.

Traffic

WV Department of Transportation 

Website (live map)
Phone: Dial 511 from any mobile phone or landline
Toll-Free Phone: 1-855-699-8511
Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/WV511

Incident List: here.

Road Conditions: here.

National Alerts: here.

I-77 Construction
Governor Jim Justice and the WV Department of Transportation has suspended road work on I-77 NB. However, traffic may persist so drivers are urged to explore alternate routes.

Alternate Route 1: US 460 E /US 219 N to I-64 W
Take Exit 9 in Princeton; follow US 460 East to US 219 North. Take US 219 North to I-64 West. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.

Alternate Route 2: I-81 N / US 460 E / US 219 N / I-64 W
In Wytheville, VA, take I-81 North to exit 118 B in Christiansburg. Take US 460 West toward West Virginia. Take US 219 North to I-64 West. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.

Alternate Route 3: I-81 N / I-64 W
In Wytheville, VA, take I-81 North to Lexington. In Lexington, take I-64 West into West Virginia. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.


Prepare yourself and your home:

  1. Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.  Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  2. Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that take flight in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  3. Charge your cell phones and other devices now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

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West Virginia State Fair Grounds has announced availability as an evacuation site for a limited number of horses and campers in its path! Please call 304-645-1090.


Stay up to date with local news: WVNS TV FOX59 and WVVA