Winter storms can wreak havoc on trees and plants in your yard. Due to strong winds that accompany many storms during the winter months, debris can end up clogging gutters and cluttering the roof. Leaves, sticks, and branches generally make up most of the debris you’ll find around your home.
Cleaning out your gutters and clearing off the roof after a winter storm has a number of benefits. Whatever method you use for debris removal, make sure you do it safely and get a professional to help if necessary.
Wear gloves when dealing with debris of any sort. I like thick leather gloves when moving branches off the roof. I’ll even wear a pair of rubber gloves inside a thin pair of leather gloves when scooping leaves and twigs out of the gutters – You never know what else has been blown into your gutters!
While rubber gloves are great for keeping your hands dry as you pull out an endless number of soggy leaves after a storm, a pair of leather gloves will protect you from sharp twigs or branches with thorns on them. I have a buckthorn tree that is notorious for dropping prickly twigs in the gutters after a day of strong winds.
Save Yourself from Unwanted Repairs
Leaving gutters plugged with debris can cause them to overflow and cause leaks in places you’d least expect them. Gutters have also been known to come loose, due to heavy amounts of soggy debris, and slam into a window. I’ve seen them come loose and bang the wooden shingles off the side of a house as well. It’s also much easier to clean the gutters out before the leaves pile up and start to decompose.
Prevent Unnecessary Wear and Tear on your Home
Branches left on the roof have a tendency to rub on the roofing, which can cause holes to form. Asphalt shingles can also be torn by large branches that have fallen on the roof. If the tear is slight, then branches can create a larger hole if left on the roof for a long period of time. Discoloration can also occur as branches and leaves begin to decompose on the rooftop.
Keep the House Looking Nice
It’s amazing at how much more pleasant your home will look after you clear all the debris away. If you live in town, I’m sure the neighbors will appreciate your debris-removal efforts too. You and your neighbors might even be able to work together to clean up after a winter storm: Sharing ladders and other equipment can make cleanup go much smoother.
Now, What to do with the Debris?
A wood chipper is an excellent machine to have on hand, if you have access to one. You can chop up small branches and twigs to use as mulch in the flower garden. Leaves can be composted as well and make a wonderful addition to other organic compost used in the veggie garden. Most cities have a certain day when branches and other natural debris will be picked up. Check to see if your town has something like this, or what the regulations are for getting rid of large amounts of unwanted leaves and branches.
Do you have any additional debris removal tips others could benefit from?