Gardening and Lawn Care During COVID-19

First and foremost, Timbers Property Maintenance and Snow Removal wishes you and your family health and happiness during this difficult time. The safety and comfort of our community is very much in our hearts and minds, as always. We must all do our part to eradicate this virus as quickly as possible and get back to our normal lives.

UPDATED NEWS: As of May 4th, 2020 both the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have realized the importance of property maintenance and lawn care and have allowed our industry to get back to work! Hurrah!

UPDATED NEWS: As of April 9th, 2020 during an interview on CP24, where we heard directly out of Mayor John Tory’s mouth, it seems they do not deem property maintenance an essential service and wish to shut down all lawn and yard care companies down during COVID-19. This is a massive mistake, all our industry colleagues are up in arms over this and we will all be petitioning Mayor Tory and Premier Ford to add us to the list of essential services.

Is property maintenance (lawn care & gardening) safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine?

Short answer YES, but here’s why.

The Job: Gardening and lawn care is often a solo post. Even if a property maintenance company has a team of employees, the tasks and scope of work in mowing, line trimming, planting, pruning etc naturally requires distance. You can’t have two people mowing the same patch of lawn because the lines won’t match up. Line trimmers and leaf blowers require distance for safety. As for planting, all plants need to be spaced a good distance apart in a garden because a plant will only grow as much as the space allows for. Gardening itself is an awkward, bent over, on the knees position. You simply can’t have a team crowding a garden bed, it’s physically impossible.

The Tools: A gardening or property maintenance company will come fully equipped with all their own tools required to do the job. The only items of yours a property maintenance company may need to use is the hose to water the gardens or grass seed after installation.

The Work Space: Gardening and property maintenance is an outdoor sport! We spend all day outdoors, away from any crowds, and the only items of yours we may touch is the gate to get into the yard and the watering hose. Otherwise, if instructions are required, we’re fully content in having a chat with you while we work on your lawn at a fair distance while you relax on your porch or talk to us through the kitchen window!

Is it important to maintain your lawn and gardens during the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine?

Again, the short answer is YES, and here is why.

1.Weeds and Bugs: We have all seen those horrible zombie movies where all maintenance has ceased and nature has taken over. Overgrown grasses, bushes, never ending weeds, wild animals and insects running the world.

Though zombies are fiction, overgrowth and animal/insect infestations are reality. You know that one neighbour who never mows his lawn or trims his bushes. We all walk by that one house, frown and say there goes the neighbourhood! His weeds and bugs always spread, contaminating nearby yards and causing the other home owners endless seasonal grief and expenses. You must keep up with the gardening and yard work, otherwise when this is all over you will be looking at a shockingly large bill to bring your property back to a manicured, tidy and beautiful life.

2.Property Values: Beyond the suffering from the illness itself, another great source of fear and suffering these days is job loss due to quarantine while bill payment requirements continue. It’s uncomfortable to think about, and you may wonder if hiring a property maintenance service to keep up your yard is a luxury. But, if you dig down, you’ll realize it’s an important investment.

The average household debt in Ontario as of 2019 was $25K. This means that during a tough time the home is the only real asset one has that can be sold at a potential profit to pay off pressing debts and begin to dig out of misfortune. For such situations, property values and the maintenance of such is imperative. You don’t want to give anyone any reason to devalue your house. You don’t want the sale of your house to be delayed because potential buyers are hesitant over the yards health, appearance and damage that may cost a new buyer thousands to fix.

3.Vulnerable Community Members & Mental Health: Many members of our community are the retired and elderly, and we know that this virus hurts them profoundly. It’s vital for them to self-isolate, stay home and not do strenuous activities that may expose them to the virus or further weaken their immune systems. Likewise, this applies to other vulnerable community members with preexisting health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. We want to protect these neighbours and at the same time make sure that they are able to maintain their property values. Furthermore, to ensure that weeds and insect infestations don’t overflow onto our own properties due to lack of maintenance at someone else’s. However, on a more personal note, we have to remember that when self-isolating, often times your back yard is all you have to get outside the four walls of your house and take a deep breath of fresh air. It’s healthy for both mind and body. Everyone should have that opportunity to do so in a healthy and safe yard.

A good property maintenance company will offer packages, many of which are cheaper than the luxury of cable TV. Often starting at $100 per month for weekly general service. This can be quite affordable, even during the toughest of times, but priceless in the peace of mind you will have knowing that if things get really rough, you can comfortably and confidently ask top dollar for your property – or knowing that if you become unwell, someone is there to take care of it in your place and make sure your yard remains the envy of the street!

What is COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization

Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. It is often referred to as the ‘novel’ coronavirus exactly because it is so new. We have never experienced it, have not immunity to it as well as no known treatments for it.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover will eventually recover without requiring special treatment.  However, those over 40 years of age and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop more severe problems like pneumonia.

How does COVID-19 Spread?

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. What is important to remember, is that even if a person has no visible symptoms they may be carriers of the virus, unknowingly.

A not-so Fun Fact is that when you speak, you spray approx. 2.5 microscopic saliva droplets per word. Therefore, a person does not have to cough or sneeze on you (or near you) to spread the infection. Simple everyday socialization can put you at risk.

How to Protect Yourself and Loved-Ones from COVID-19

We must be realistic about this microscopic enemy. A person does not have to cough, sneeze, spit or speak directly in your face to infect you. An infected person, symptomatic or asymptomatic, may be near you when they cough or speak, a few droplets may land on your hand or sleeve – A little later, without thinking, you may go to scratch your nose, or rub your eye, and now that droplet of saliva or mucus is inside you. Therefore, the following are the MOST IMPORTANT ways to protect yourself and loved-ones:

1. SOCIAL DISTANCING – The average saliva droplets can travel 2-5 meters with coughs, sneezes and speech. This is why it is desperately requested, and now enforced by Government bodies, that distances at a minimum of 2 meters be kept between people at all times when outside the home of your immediate, live-in, family. You do not want to stand too close to, or walk too closely by, a carrier of COVID-19, you are putting your own health at risk, but more importantly, you may bring it home to your family.

Unfortunately, many people seem confused by what social distancing is. It seems common to think that if they are working from home, avoiding going out shopping or other outdoor/public activities that they are clear of the disease. They seem to think if they are taking their own precautions and feeling well, it is fine to bring socialization and entertainment home instead of going out, by hosting dinner parties and maybe going out for an occasional visit to the extended family etc.

THAT IS NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING!

The only people who are exempt from social distancing are those with whom you share a roof – your immediate family only. Mainly because you have no choice there, you already share absolutely everything with the people you live with. Everyone else however, as painful as it is for the time being, should be kept in touch with via phone or email, OR as many neighbours have been doing – chats from the sidewalk are fine to fill our natural need for socialization. The point is, please keep a good distance from everyone. Do not touch anyone – no hugs or kisses for now. We must stop this menace from spreading while a cure is in the works.

2.WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY – It seems obvious but you’d be surprised. Beyond all the articles on the statistics of people not washing their hands after using the bathroom, it’s more so the day to day people don’t seem to consider.

How many people, come home from work or shopping, take their shoes and coat off and go wash their hands right away? Few I imagine.

How many people, just flop down on the sofa in the clothes they were wearing outside all day without changing into an indoor-only set of clothing like sweats and a t-shirt that you would never wear outside the home? Few I assume.

How many people think to wipe down their keys, wallet, purse, phone and groceries with disinfectant frequently and particularly after coming home everyday? Few I propose.

We must understand ALL the many things we touch on a daily basis.

Here’s an example

[ Fueling Up Your Car ] You pull up to the gas station, get out of your car, grab hold of the pump, touch the button to select your preferred fuel type, touch more buttons if you pre-pay or it lets you pay directly at the pump. Otherwise, you walk over to the shop with the attendant, pull the handle to open the door and enter, you slip your credit card or debit card into the machine (if it doesn’t accept Tap), press all the buttons to confirm the transaction and enter your pin, grab the receipt from the attendant, then ready to leave, you go back to the door, pull on the handle and exit.

Now think, how many other people, before you, did that exact same thing? How many of those strangers wash their hands thoroughly? How many strangers with questionable hygiene touched the same pump, buttons, door handles, keypad etc? Now all those strangers’ germs are all over your hands and so…

You go back to your car, grab hold of the door handle to open it and get in, take out your keys to start the car, grab hold of the shifter to get it out of park, wrap your hands around the steering wheel and off you go.

When you get home, all those germs are transferred to your door knob, your hallway table, your closet door and anything and everything else you may touch before you finally get around to washing your hands.

Oh, and blessings if you didn’t have a tickle on the nose half way home and decided to give it a rub. Because if you did … now those germs are inside you.

You see how many things go on without us even noticing?

The purpose of this is not to frighten people or be the doomsday type. The purpose in providing this example is for everyone to really look at how we live day to day and to begin incorporating new good hygiene habits and practices into everyday life.

An Example of Our Own Household Hygiene Practices: When my son comes home from walking the dog, he knows to take off is shoes and coat in the hallway, then immediately go wash his hands and his face with soap.

Yes his face!

You see, I know that getting in and out of the building he would have had to touch multiple door handles and elevator buttons. Elevators are small spaces, and it’s hard to control how many people decide to get on at one time. It’s really quite a simple practice to do when you arrive home. Refreshing too.

3.DISINFECT FREQUENTLY USED SURFACES OFTEN – These surfaces include:

  • Home door handles, both inside the door and outside the door
  • Bathroom door, toilet handle, faucet knobs
  • Light switches
  • TV remotes
  • Keyboards
  • Cell phones and tablets
  • Hand rails
  • Keys
  • Wallets and purses
  • Mail box
  • Grocery bags and products

I would do this daily especially if you are in and out of the house often.

If you understand and implement the 3 steps discussed above, then you will remain safe, you will keep your family safe, as well as the community. The most important thing during this difficult time is to remain calm and collected. Humanity has been dealing with matters of viral and bacterial enemies for eons. We will succeed in this battle as we have with others. All that is being asked right now is that the public come together in this fight to alleviate the strain on hospitals and clinics, by doing their part in social distancing, hand washing and disinfecting so that the medical teams and scientists can do their work to beat COVID-19.

Hip Hip Hurray for all Doctors and Nurses – We appreciate you!

Timbers Property Maintenance & Snow Removal offers lawn care, gardening, general property maintenance and snow removal services. We are an authentically family owned-and-operated business local to the North York and Northern Toronto area with over 15 years experience in the industry. Our qualified, specialist yet familial approach to yard maintenance and snow removal, serving only our local community, ensures a personalized and affordable experience for both large and small residences, as well as commercial properties.

If you prefer your property maintenance professionals to take on a local and compassionate approach to the needs of your home, please contact us at your convenience by emailing info@timbersblog.com, calling (416) 827 – 8730 or filling out our online contact form. We’re always here for you.

Published by Timbers Property Maintenance and Snow Removal

A locally owned and operated property maintenance company specializing in outdoor projects and yard renovations. (Toronto,ON.)

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: