Now is the time to be buying your snow shovel, if you don’t have one.  Vancouver has unpredictable snow patterns and as a result most retailers do not stock a large number of shovels.  There are two basic kinds of shovels one that is actually for shoveling and one that is for pushing.  Home Depot and Rona will have both shovels and they will cost around 20 dollars, they will be made of plastic and will last a few seasons.  If you want to buy a once a lifetime shovel buy an aluminum push or snow shovel, they are some times sold in the larger stores but are most often sold at stores that landscapers frequent.  They will cost $50 to $60.  You will have to make the choice on the value that a more expensive shovel will make to you and for most homeowners it is not the investment they where thinking of.   Having both shovels is a benefit, the pusher shovel is great for small snow falls one to two inches high or dry snow, not something we usually get.  If you are going to have move large amounts of snow the shovel design is more useful.  Something new to stores is a sleigh style shovel; this is a new shovel that is easier on your back.  If you are a homeowner that does not have anyone to help you and you hate heavy lifting this could be your snow shovel.  The design is a bit like a pusher and shovel mixed except that you can slide over the snow once you have pushed some onto the blade, a lot easier in all conditions.  So now you want to use your shovel and you are thinking about getting out there and getting it done, well here are 4 tips that will make your work go better and help your garden in the spring.

1)    Listen to the weather forecast and plan where you are going to leave your snow pile.  Even though our weather is mild a snow pile can last along time.  Many people will clear a driveway side to side rather than length wise.

2)    Avoid placing your pile on the grass, if you can avoid it.  While a lawn can survive snow, salt and debris in the snow can damage your lawn.  Snow piles also tend to be more compact than a regular snow fall and the result can be lawn damage.

3)    When choosing an ice melter we recommend ones that are lawn safe.  Salt is good at melting the snow but can cause soil to become infertile so if you have a pathway by a garden or lawn, choose wisely.

4)    Snow build up on trees should especially hedges should be removed to prevent damage.  It is recommended to sweep the snow off rather than shaking.  Shaking trees can result in breakage and damage.