April showers may bring May flowers, but the snow and ice storms of December and January are certain to bring a busy work schedule to Chicagoland condominium properties.
Whether the region experiences a typical winter—with its average 38 inches of snow—or an unusually mild one, condo and co-op buildings and landscapes will suffer effects of the season. “If we do get a lot of snow, as we have in the past, we try to be proactive and get to the (condo) sites as soon as the weather breaks,” says Sherm Fields of Acres Group, a landscape company based in Plainfield. Property managers and landscape contractors will be out looking for problems ranging from plow damage to snow mold on lawns as soon as the snow melts away.
Do an Inspection
“You want to walk the property and address every concern. Turf is the thing that gets damaged the most, especially if the weather is warmer. It’s hard to plow without doing some damage to the turf,” he says, noting that ground that hasn’t frozen hard is particularly susceptible to plow damage. “And with snow cover, you can get snow mold,” he explains. “You rake it out during the spring clean-up. It’s unsightly and it hurts the vitality of the turf grass.”
On the other side of the coin, deeper snow over the winter can be beneficial to landscapes. “A lot of snow means a lot of water. That’s generally a good thing. And snow acts as a blanket, protecting the roots” of landscape plantings, Fields said. “In a year like this, with light snow and warm weather, we’re going to have different problems.” The Chicago area is already in a drought situation, leading to damage to trees in particular, he adds. “If we don’t have a lot of snow this year, and a good amount of moisture in the spring, it’s going to be an issue.”
The National Weather Service, he says, has figured that it would take more than 90 inches of snow this winter to get the region back on track from the current drought conditions. “It’s a significant problem,” he says.