Friday, 03 March 2017 14:44

Early Spring Weather: Too Much, Too Soon?

By Megin Potter | Your Home
Spring seems to be doing its thing earlier this year. Last week, the region saw temperatures rise from the low 40s to the mid-60s. This caused the recent snow cover to melt. Immediately followed by a moderate rainstorm, some area residents were left wondering; was it too much, too soon? Each spring, the influx of water can cause chaos for drivers and homeowners. This week was no exception. Water puddled up and ran across on the roadways, eroding its edges, and overflowing drainage capacity in some spots. Area experts are saying that just because spring is popping up an estimated four weeks ahead of schedule this year, advantages have outweighed the challenges, so far. Spring Fever Sunny days entice drivers to go for a cruise. Spring’s rainy days too, can prove to be advantageous when it comes to caring for your car. “Believe it or not, the best way to clean the undercarriage of your car is driving in a rainstorm,” said Eric Mohr, manager of Mohr’s Service Center in Saratoga Springs. In his more than 20 years of experience, he’s seen the havoc that the dangerous mixture of leftover road salt, mud, and trapped moisture can inflict on all kinds of cars. “My car was absolutely caked, but driving in Sunday’s rainstorm took 99 percent of that off,” he said. A trip to the car wash, using a power sprayer, or even a garden hose are all it takes to defend against rust, he said. Out & About Driving on spring’s wet roads mean using caution and taking extra care as road crews are already out working. “The biggest thing we promote is safety,” said Keith Manz, Saratoga County’s Public Works Commissioner. He urges the traveling public to be patient, heed traffic signs, look out for flagmen, and go slowly. The early spring means his crews are clearing broken branches from winter’s heavy wind storms, filling potholes, and fixing roadway erosion from water runoff. This clean-up is not more than usual, and the timing is advantageous, he said. “It helps us a lot. It means we use less salt, have less overtime, and use less fuel. Every week that is mild with no precipitation is a week closer to having an early spring. The good thing is, not only are we ahead of schedule, but we’re saving money,” said Manz. With plans to rebuild 20 miles of roadways in the towns of Edinburg, Hadley, and Halfmoon, crews are out clearing. “It’s great to get that jump on it. Out doing that work earlier, that means we’re ahead of the game. Then, beginning in April, we can work on the road itself,” he said. What You Can Do Homeowners can help, too. “We’ll be coming by, jetting out drainage pipes, but it’s nice if they get out and help to clean away debris. I’ve seen a lot of people raking early, keeping the drainage pipes under their driveways clear,” said Manz. “It’s kinda a team thing,” he added. If clogged culverts are a regular occurrence, it may be time to consider additional landscaping, advises James O’Keefe, owner of Pure Perfection Landscaping. He’s experienced people calling earlier to set up appointments this year, eager to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather. “Where’s the water going?” is what he asks homeowners when evaluating their property, he said. Depending on their specific conditions, it may be necessary to change the ground grade or elevation. Can the water be directed toward a drywell? Persistent problems may require a larger size drainage pipe to handle the flow. Grades can also cause landscaping pavers to settle, creating an uneven walking surface. He can assess whether the soil needs to be regraded and the stones reset, or if downspout gutters should be installed. “With the lack of snow cover, they should be doing a good mechanical thatching or heavy raking, and spreading a high nitrogen fertilizer,” said O’Keefe. Low-growing, densely-spreading, compact groundcover, such as evergreen varieties, can help with soil retention, as well. When it comes to plant care, it’s all about the frost, he said. “Trees are attempting to bloom out with the warmer temperatures, then it cools off, and it kills them off. That’s what happened to the apple trees last year. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it,” said O’Keefe. From tree trimming, to soil preparation, however, it’s not too soon to start. “The warmer temperatures can push the schedule up dramatically,” said O’Keefe. For more information go to or call 518-792-3600.
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