The winter season can be harsh on your home, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. Moss becomes one with your roof, the exterior of your home has gone from white to green, and the dog gets lost in the grass. But there’s no denying that it takes a lot of work to clean up the yard after the grey skies have resided. Even though our winter was more of an extended fall, the exterior maintenance is still needed. Here are a few ideas to give your exterior a fresh look for spring.
Walkways and driveways: Many homeowners around the country have to deal with cracked or damaged walkways, driveways and porches due to heavy ice in the snow. In the Pacific Northwest we have a different culprit. Moss. And lots of it. The moss may have discolored your walkways or it could have grown in around the edge or in between the cracks. How do you defeat Mr. Moss?
Well, there are a few strategies you can use to get rid of the moss.
One solution is pressure washing. The pressure washer uses a powerful stream of water to remove just about anything stuck to the surface. Another option is Washing Soda or Soda Carbonate. Not to be confused with soda bicarbonate (baking soda), washing soda (otherwise known as washing crystals or soda carbonate) is a naturally occurring and highly alkaline chemical. Its high alkaline nature will kill existing moss. Simply sprinkle the soda carbonate on the moss, sprinkle water on top of it and leave it to sit for several days until the moss turns brown. Once this is complete you can scrub or scrape the moss. Obviously this process is time consuming and you’ll want to wear protective gloves (the alkaline properties can harm your skin) and keep out of the reach of children and pets.Vinegar, another option, contains acetic acid, weak enough for humans to consume but strong enough to kill moss. To use, simply pour white vinegar directly on the moss and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse or scrape the moss away. Lastly, homemade moss killer is an inexpensive way to remove moss. Combine water, vinegar, salt and soap with the following ratios: 1 gallon of warm water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 pound of salt and as much soap as you want as long (as it’s not more than 20% of the mixture). Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly on to the moss. Once the moss has turned brown it’s time to scrape it off the surface and discard.
Roofs: It is important to have your roof examined after winter for any cracked, missing, or deformed shingles that can allow water to enter a home and damage its interior. Moss also attacks the roof during the fall and winter and it is important to have it removed. You can physically remove moss from your roof with a long handled scrub brush if you’re careful not to overdo it. While a pressure washer can be used, the powerful jet of water could damage asphalt shingles. With either method, work down the roof to keep from lifting and breaking shingles. You can also opt to use any of the above chemicals and sprays to remove moss from the roof.
Landscaping: Bring your lawn back to life and sprinkle fertilizer around on your grass for added nutrients. Check your sprinkler system to ensure it’s functioning efficiently so grass remains hydrated and green through July and August. It’s important to get an early start on the lawn. The flower beds also need some extra love after winter. Weeding, pruning and trimming are all necessary for summer worthy landscaping. Also, take a walk around your property to inspect for tree damage, removing any fallen limbs or cutting down any limbs that appear dead or that might eventually prove a safety hazard.
Although it may not be warm enough to bask in the sun quite yet, get started now so you’re prepped for breezy, open-air living all summer long.