Get Your Garden Ready for El Nino

In some parts of the United States, El Niño leads to less snow and more rain.

It’s wet, wet, and even more wet on top of that. This year is an El Niño year. What does El Niño mean for your home and garden? Here’s how to get ready for a winter washout.

What is El Niño?

El Niño literally refers to baby Jesus, since it’s an ocean and weather phenomenon that occurs around Christmas time. During an El Niño year, the Pacific Ocean’s sea surface temperatures are warmer than usual. This leads to somewhat different winter weather patterns. In the Northwest, northern Midwest, and upper Northeast, winters tend to be milder in an El Nino year, with less significant snowpack. The Southwest and Southeast tend to have cooler and wetter winters during an El Nino year.

What Does El Nino Mean for Your Home?

If you’re living in an area that’s prone to wetter winters during El Nino years, be forewarned. This is a year that you need to get ready for rain, not snow. While you can still stock up on ice melters and make sure that your snow shovel is at the ready, prepare your home and garden for a wet winter.

Get Your Roof Ready

As you move into the winter season, take a hard look at your home’s exterior. If you can, examine your roof for dislodged shingles and cracks. Even if it’s not very snowy, wet weather can cause rain to seep into these cracks, freeze, and then cause leaks. Place a particular focus on drainage. Is water pooling on the roof? Are your gutters clean and free of leaves? What happens to the water after it moves to the ground? If it’s going to be a wetter winter, make sure that your roof can handle the weather.

Look for Leaks

Is your attic smelling damp? Is your foundation showing cracks and small leaks that could indicate a larger problem? If there’s a small crack seeping water near your foundation or a musty smell in the attic, take some time during the fall to determine the source of the problem. During a heavy rainfall event, a small leak could become a large problem.

Redirect Your Water

Where oh where does your water go? If you’re struggling to find a place for all of the water from your roof during the rainy season, consider creating new drainage systems before your old ones get overwhelmed. Make sure that your water does not land at your home’s foundation. Instead, direct it into a garden, a pond, or a rain garden. If you can’t use it, send it into an underground drainage system that moves away from your foundation.

Get your landscape plantings ready for the rain.

Prepare Your Landscape Plantings

If the ground is not yet frozen where you are, consider transplanting perennials that are in danger of being waterlogged this winter. If you’ve noticed serious drainage issues in your garden, try to redirect the water or capture it in a small trench above or around garden plantings. This will prevent water from pooling right at the base of your plants.

As you prepare for the winter months, you may think of ice and snow. While it’s always important to be prepared for a chilly and snowy day, you also need to be ready for the rain. In a year that could be substantially wetter for certain parts of the country, get ready with roof repairs, gutter covers, and renewed siding and drainage. Thinking of improving your gutters to accommodate the winter storms? Contact Harry Helmet today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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