Walking into Safeway yesterday, I noticed snow shovels and snowmelt on display in front of the store. “Not going to need that anytime soon,” I bemoaned. Moderate Maryland has really been at play this winter (I don’t think my kids have worn a winter coat more than a few days this season.). BUT…because it is Maryland weather you can never discount snow as a possibility even as late as April. With nothing but time and nice weather on our hands, we can plan ahead for the time when the snow or ice does arrive. First, check and make sure you are ready for the cold. Then gather your gear against the snow and ice.
What tools are really needed to handle the snow and ice of Maryland?
Generally, Marylanders can survive the winter with a few simple tools: a shovel, deicer, car scraper, and car kit. But what shovel is the best? What shovel can both handle heavy wet snow and ice buried in the snow? Which ice melt is the safest for your driveway concrete, pets, and the environment? Which ice scraper is going to help you reach the hard-to-reach spots and keep snow out of your gloves and off your clothes? Read on to see what gear will outfit you best for wintery Maryland weather.
Scraaaaape! Is this what it sounds like when you shovel your walkway? If so, then you are using the wrong shovel. Metal shovels can cause a lot of damage to your sidewalk and driveway, pockmarking it and making it easy for ice to further split its surface. A rubber bladed shovel is a safer option when shoveling snow.
The Home Depot
The true temper 18-inch ergonomic mountain mover is a great option (Mahoney). It has a nylon leading edge so it won’t gouge your deck or sidewalk and it is built to last. You can find them at Home Depot and Amazon.
Deicing the sidewalk and steps keeps you safe during an ice event and is a kind thing to do for people coming and going from your home. Deicers, however, can cause a lot of damage. They can be harsh on the things they touch, pets’ paws, and the environment. Finding a deicer that works and mitigates the damage it can cause is important.
Unfortunately, the perfect solution doesn’t exist. The best thing you can do is to make sure to use the appropriate amount of deicer, no more no less than what is needed. In that vein, this spot spreader is helpful in spreading an even and specific amount of deicer to a particular area. It is also great for spreading fertilizer on your lawn in the Spring and Fall.
However, not all deicers are created equal. Though all can be harmful in large quantities some are less so in appropriate amounts. Safe Step 8300 Magnesium Chloride ice melt and Play safe ice blocker are both less corrosive than rock salt. If your main concern is the safety of your pet’s paws then, Play Safe Ice Blocker is a pet safe ice melt that has a low environmental impact. Greengobblers is also another good pet safe ice melt available.
Clearing snow and ice off my car in the early mornings and staying dry is always a challenge. My go to ice scraper is about 6 inches long. It works really well for the 6 inches it can reach but I always get snow on my clothes and only clear a peep hole size of ice from my view. The Snow Joe Broom and Ice Scraperis a much more effective tool. It has an extendable reach up to 52 inches, a foam broom head on one end and a scraper on the other. You can push snow off your roof and off the windshield without having to lean into the snow itself. In addition, you can also scrape the entire surface of the windshield giving you full vision when you drive.
A car kit is just a little survival kit if you get stuck on the side of the road during bad weather. The items in it will keep you comfortable and maybe even help get you off the side of the road. I know my car kit has come in handy in all the seasons. A car kit includes:
• Jumper cables
• Kitty litter or tire grip mat ( Snow Joe Track Assist is my recommendation)
Armed with your arsenal of winter gear, snow and ice, should it come to Maryland this season, will be no match for you.
Birdwell Branson, Jennifer and Noonan, Jennifer. 16 Ways Winter Weather Damages Your Home. Accessed 24 January 2023. Bobvil.com
Mahoney, Doug. The Best Snow Shovel. 15 November 2022. NYtimes.com
Maryland Department of Transportation, Drive to Survive Winter Weather, Accessed 24 Jaunary 2023.Roads.Maryland.gov
Rennie, Alex. The 5 Best Ice Melts and Snow Salt for Driveways, Concrete, and Pets. 22 December 2022. Insider.com