Every season, your Greater Chicago commercial property needs special maintenance. This is even true during the winter when temperatures are dropping.

Winter’s colder climate, snow buildup, and ice accumulations can wreak havoc on your commercial facility and landscape in which you’ve invested time and money. 

Winter’s wind and freezing temperatures can lead to property damage, utility interruptions, or even temporary business closures. No property manager wants to deal with those headaches.

That’s why it’s important to take steps before the weather cools to get your property ready for commercial snow removal so you have everything in place in case Old Man Winter delivers crazy storms.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare For Professional Snow Removal

Flooding, slippery surfaces, snow piles, and ice accumulation can all add up on different areas of your Greater Chicago commercial facility.

Commercial Snow Removal skidsteer plow truck equipment

Heavy snow and ice can build up on weak tree branches, risking falls on cars, buildings, or even people. Swift ice melt can cause flooding. And the constant freeze and thaw cycle can damage hardscapes, sidewalks, walkways, or entryways. Even not preparing your vast expanses of turf for winter can cause snow mold or other problems that can be visible come springtime.

The way to avoid these issues is to properly prepare your commercial facility for snow removal services to ensure a clean, professional look through this rough season, and have a better result come spring when your landscape wakes up again. Follow these ten snow removal tips to get the job done right.

1. Get Last Minute Planting Done

Before winter, as Greater Chicago temperatures cool off, this is actually the prime time of year to plant any new trees, shrubs, and perennials you want to add to your commercial landscape.

Planting in September through November allows plant roots to become established before the ground freezes and winter sets in. Those plants then are also better prepared to handle summer’s extreme heat and drought, as well as fight off any pests or diseases.

If you have been looking to freshen up a space or add a landscape bed, preparing your commercial landscape beds now before snow removal services are necessary can help you plan ahead for a great spring when the growing season returns.

2. Wrap Sensitive Plants

While you’re boosting the aesthetics of your landscape beds with some new material, you should also plan to protect sensitive plant material from winter’s worst.

For instance, if you have new trees on your commercial property or those with thinner bark, wrapping them could help protect them from winter’s frigid temperatures.

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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 is a snow removal tip that can provide winter protection to those trees that are weak, newly planted, dehydrated, or exposed to heavy wind on a regular basis.

3. Conduct Proper Pruning Throughout the Year

Proper pruning of the trees on your commercial property in Greater Chicago means removing dead, diseased, dying, or damaged branches on a regular basis.

commercial maintenance technician shearing pruning hedge

These are the branches and limbs that are most susceptible to falling and causing further damage to your property or the people that navigate your site on a regular basis. Add heavy snow buildup and ice accumulation, and you’re basically asking for those already weak branches to fall.

By keeping up with tree pruning, you are one step ahead of winter; it’s a snow removal tip that can save you a lot of hassle.

4. Shut Down Your Commercial Irrigation System

During the growing season, your commercial facility’s trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lawn require regular irrigation. But as the year comes to an end, your property needs less and less water.

Commercial snow removal preparation includes cleaning out and shutting down your irrigation system to avoid system damage during those winter months when freeze and thaw cycles are extreme. This task includes blowing out any leftover water and shutting the system down properly so you don't face any severe damage or costly repairs come springtime.

5. Clean Up Trip or Plow Hazards

Before snow covers the ground, you want to walk the areas of your site that snowplows will go across regularly – you can also ask your snow and ice professional to help you with this task.

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As you look over these hardscape areas like parking lots and sidewalks, you want to look for debris, chunks of concrete or stone that are heaving or missing. Why? Because if these items get buried under snow or ice and then your snowplow comes through and hits it, you could have further hardscape damage. Or if you have people on your property moving about and they trip on these areas, you could face liability concerns. Basically, any damage to curbs, concrete, or asphalt can pose a danger once it’s hidden under the snow.

Cleaning up your site and removing any obstacles or hazards before the snow falls and ice builds up is a snow removal tip that can cut down damage and eliminate excess costs and repairs for you.

6. Mark the Edges of Your Parking Lots and Driveways

Make sure you talk with your snow removal services team about making a plan to prepare for winter. Your property may require some extra precautions to best protect it from snow and ice. This can include the installation of plow stakes to protect areas from snow plow damage or snow fencing to limit large drifts.

These markers can be set up along curbs, driveway edges, decorative areas and parking lot islands. This helps snow plow operators avoid these obstacles.

Plow stakes and markers are great ways to prevent costly damages. A good snow removal company will even provide and install these markers for you before the season begins.

7. Ensure Your Snow Removal Services Provider Stocks Up on the Necessities

You want to ensure your commercial snow removal professional is ready for the season with enough salt and deicing products to handle whatever ice accumulation the season brings.

Commercial Snow Removal loading salt equipment 4

These products prevent ice build-up on walkways, paths, entryways, and sidewalks, which ensures your customers, employees, visitors, and guests can safely access your building.

If you have a large site, you might even have an agreement with your professional grounds management firm that enables you to store salt and deicing products on your property so it’s right there when needed. This little bit of preparation goes a long way in ensuring a smooth snow season.

8. Plan For Snow Equipment Storage if Needed

If you operate or manage a large commercial site in Greater Chicago, then you likely need larger equipment to handle massive amounts of snow and ice. This means skid-steers, loaders, and sidewalk snow removal units. You also need larger amounts of salt, calcium, and deicing agents.

You want to find a commercial snow removal service company that has enough equipment and resources to service a property of your scope and size. They also must have the experience and knowledge using that type of equipment.

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On top of that, in the middle of extreme storms or massive snow and ice events, if one of their pieces of equipment shuts down, you want to make sure the company you hires has enough backups or mechanics on hand to maintain and replace equipment swiftly to minimize downtime and keep your property open and operating.

If your site is large enough, you may even include provisions in your contract to keep some larger equipment on site to streamline snow and ice management services even further. In your contract, this can be called a monthly “ready fee” that ensures equipment is ready to use when needed.

9. Don’t Forget Fall Cleanup

Before winter arrives, you want to make sure you have done a good leaf cleanup from the fall. Raking up the leaves or blowing them into piles and disposing of them or removing them keeps your lawn looking fresh, while also preparing your commercial property for snow removal services.

commercial maintenance technician blowing cleanup 2

This is so important because leaves that are left on your lawn can become wet from snow and ice and smother your turf during the winter, causing disease to develop.

You also want to make sure your commercial grounds management professional conducts the last mow of the season properly. This means cutting the grass a bit shorter going into winter to prevent snow mold from accumulating where it can harm your lawn or cause it to look unattractive next spring.

Another part of cleanup includes cleaning up perennials and ornamental grasses by deadheading or cutting them back to keep them neat and prime them for spring growth.

10. Make Sure You Sign Your Snow Contract Early

Have you signed your professional snow removal and ice management contract yet? We get it; you’re busy. In fact, a lot of commercial property managers wait until the last minute to make a final decision on the right snow removal contract.

But the earlier you sign a snow and ice management contract, the more your service professional can plan to efficiently take care of your property, and the better prepared you’ll be in case of early snow and ice storms in Greater Chicago.

Signing your contract in fall allows your snow and ice removal services professional to strategically develop an efficient route for your commercial property, so you are prioritized on their list. It also ensures they have time to properly prepare a plan for where to pile snow on your site and develop strategies for different types of snow events. You know we get all kinds of storms in Greater Chicago – from strong ice storms to heavy snow and even slushy mixes of the two.

A snowplow operator may also want to have time to walk through your site before winter so he or she knows what your preferences and priorities are. Every property is unique, and your service professional will want to provide you with unique solutions to adequately address your needs and requirements.

This is one of the most important snow removal tips since we never know what Mother Nature is going to bring during the winter months, despite the forecasts. For the winter of 2023-2024 in Greater Chicago, for instance, the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold, snowy outlook. Snowfall amounts are predicted to meet or slightly exceed normal numbers.

Don’t Neglect Snow Removal Services Preparations on Your Commercial Property

We know it’s easy to stop thinking about your commercial landscape once the weather cools down. With everything on your plate, the last thing you want to add to your list is to go out there and start cleaning things up and preparing for winter. We completely understand.

But being diligent now can save you so much time, money, and headaches through winter and into spring. Don’t want to wait until the last minute. KD Landscape can help you with commercial property winter preparation so you can put your facility in the best position possible for a tidy winter and gorgeous spring.

Want to learn more about our winter commercial property preparation service in Greater Chicago? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can feel confident and make a great choice.

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