Spring Yard Inspections Prevent Big Problems

whitko_0414For many of us, the ice has taken care of a lot of the pruning. However, we still need to inspect our trees for hanging limbs that have broken but have not completely fallen or have possibly become temporarily wedged by other branches. If the limbs are big, they can severely injure anyone walking by underneath when they do finally fall. They can also cause damage to understory shrubs. If you see large limbs hanging, you should call a tree surgeon to take care of these hazards.

Next, inspect your shrubs for damage caused by fallen trees and limbs. Some of them may need to be pruned back severely so that they can grow back in a more pleasing shape. Scarred bark and jagged breaks invite borers and other pests to invade and cause damage to the shrub. For azaleas and other spring bloomers, you may want to wait until after they bloom to make the call on the amount of pruning. As hard as it is to cut them back, clean cuts are better than jagged breaks.

As you walk around the yard, you should pay attention walkways and garden edgings. Tree roots and alternating freezing and thawing can cause pavers and bricks to heave out of their normal places.  Uneven walkways are invitations for trips and falls. Cracks in concrete walks and driveways should be repaired to prevent further damage from water seepage into narrow spaces.

Fences also need inspection. Wooden fences should be checked for loose or warped boards. Also, a painted or stained fence may need painting or more stain. Rotted boards should be replaced. Stone or brick fences should be checked for loose mortar. Any loose mortar should be removed and replaced with fresh for a tight seal to insure the stones or bricks stay in place and to prevent water damage. Metal fences may have suffered damage from falling limbs. Bent or damaged sections should be replaced, and the entire fence should be inspected for rust or other damage.

While you’re walking around your yard, be observant. Notice any signs of drainage problems. If left unattended, standing water will become mosquito-breeding pools in the coming warmer months. Also, inspect the foundation of your home. Standing water near the foundation needs draining. Look for evidence of run-off that comes near the foundation. Run-off that comes too near your home during the upcoming heavy spring and summer thunderstorms can erode the foundation and threaten the stability of your home.

Homeowners themselves can do many of these spring repair projects. However, some projects like tree trimming can be extremely dangerous. Chainsaws cause many accidents every year. Also if drainage or water run-off is a problem, homeowners should consult professionals to study the slope of the lot and devise an exit strategy for the excess water. Regardless of the project, homeowners should only attempt repairs they feel confident in their abilities to perform.


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