This year’s storms have been strong and heavy, so understanding how to clean up your landscape after a storm is more important than ever. There are many ways to clean up your landscape after a storm, but following these steps makes the processes more manageable and ensures a better-looking landscape when good weather arrives. Of course, these will only work for some situations, but these provide a good start for most.
- Safety First
Take a good look around before stepping outside. There may have been damage in the neighborhood impacting your property. Look for downed power lines or trees on power lines. Also, determine if any trees have shifted and may fall after the storm. If there is a power problem, call the power company. Most leaning tree or downed tree issues require the help of a professional.
- Prioritize and Separate
Starting with a plan will save time in the future. If there is lots of debris in the yard, start by organizing it into piles. Make a pile for compostable vegetation, another for garbage, and another for construction waste. Storm cleanup usually happens across large areas. Recycling or reuse of material makes a significant difference for landfills. Here is an excellent video on how to compost: https://jainsusa.com/training/how-to-compost-the-right-way/. If construction waste from a fence comes down or damage to a structure, most of the material can be reused.
Also, carefully consider where piles are placed and eliminate the need to move items twice. Place them for easy access. It may not be a place that is pleasing to the eye but placing it for easy access will get the landscape back to normal more quickly in the long run.
- Check Drainage
This is one of the most critical steps that is easily forgotten after the cleanup. These once-in-a-lifetime storm events are tuning into once-a-year events. Making good notes and taking photos of areas where water pooled is critical to battle damage during the next storm. Pooling water is one of the most dangerous problems for your landscape and buildings.
It damages grass, attracts insects, and contributes to mold and moss. In addition, pooling water next to a building can create damage inside the structure. Most people want to believe these rain events were unusual and won’t happen again and forget about fixing drainage because they don’t see the issue anymore. Use the photos as a reminder and make those changes needed to improve drainage.
Water damage is bad and leads to all kinds of related consequences. The first issue is the water damage itself, which damages building materials, appliances, fixtures, and furniture as it sits and pools, with electronics being especially susceptible to damage. Next is mold issues with water damage which is a concern when the moisture hides behind walls and in other difficult-to-reach areas.
Also, take time to inspect, clean, and repair rain gutters, leaves, or mud-blocking drainage areas, check the storm drains in the area, and report any issues to your city.
- Inspect Trees
After storms, trees may pose a safety risk–especially if you see large fallen branches, a split tree trunk, or a broken treetop. A careful visual inspection takes a little time and may expose a potential issue that can be solved before any significant damage is done.
- Trim Plants with Leaf Damage
Check the stems of your plants for any damage. If the stems are intact, chances are the plant will survive. Remove the damaged leaf. Be careful not to remove more than 1/3 of the total amount of leaves so the plants can recover from the damage.
- Get Your Trees Ready For The Next Storm
Paying attention to trees all year long helps them weather the storms. A healthy tree will do much better than an unhealthy tree during a storm. Taking steps like mulching, watering, and fertilizing when needed during the year helps. Also, place your trees on a separate valve to water them properly. Here is an excellent article on how to water trees in turf, https://jainsusa.com/blog/5-tips-for-watering-trees-in-turf/
Storms are a part of life. Properly preparing your landscape helps reduce the damage, but the damage is sometimes unavoidable. These steps to clean up and repair your landscape will help sustainably ensure timely clean up.