Gardening: Snow season is on the way |

Gardening: Snow season is on the way

Even though we’re still waiting for the glorious fall colors, October is almost here and that means snow season is around the corner.

If you’re tired of the back strain of hoisting the snow shovel, you might be ready to upgrade to a snow-throwing machine.

As with any type of equipment, selecting the right snow thrower for your needs is the No. 1 priority. Here are some guidelines based on your property size and how much snow you normally deal with in a season.

Three major factors should play into your choice of a snow thrower:

• The size of the area you need to clear.

• The type of surface you’ll be clearing. Is it all concrete and asphalt or do you have a gravel drive, too?

• In your area, what’s the typical snow depth you need to clear?

Like most things, snow throwers come in small, medium and large — and the size of machine you select will depend on those three factors above.


You will probably need a small, single-stage thrower if your home has a one- or two-car garage, driveway and small walk area to clear.

• This size will be adequate for most storms.

• It operates best from ½ to 9 inches of snow.

• It moves about 1,100 pounds of snow per minute.


Consider a medium, single-stage snow thrower if your home has a two-car garage, large driveway and some walks to clear.

• This bigger size will be better for your needs than the smaller thrower.

• It can handle ½ to 12 inches of snow.

• It moves about 1,800 pounds of snow per minute


If your home has a three-car garage, larger driveway and/or large expanses of walks to clear, you will need the added power of a two-stage snow thrower.

• The extra power will be welcome if you have a lot of area to clear and if you live where there are deep snowfalls.

• Especially if your property faces north or is on a snowplow route, this more powerful thrower will do better moving through drifts or wind rows left by snowplows as well as crusted snow.

• It performs best at snow depths of 5 inches and higher.

• It moves up to 2,200 pounds of snow per minute!

Single-stage vs. two-stage thrower

• Small and medium single-stage throwers are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Rubber paddles inside the machine self-propel it and throw snow out a shoot. They work best in newly fallen, non-compacted snow.

• Large two-stage throwers are heavy duty, are on larger frames and have more power and multiple speeds. The steel auger inside the machine has the power to cut through compacted snow. This machine is well suited to mountain properties where there is more frequent and often deeper snowfall and/or properties where there is a lot of area to clear.

Upgrades to basic machines

As with vehicles, many snow-moving machines have options that make them more user friendly. Here are some of the upgrades:

• An option similar to power steering that makes machines more maneuverable

• A three-sided cab option is available on some large machines to keep the operator out of the weather

• Headlights and hand warmers are also options for some models.

Or, hire a professional to take care of the snow for you.

Story courtesy of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, (970) 468-0340, a member landscaping company based in Silverthorne.

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