For Gardeners Needing A Roof, Timing is Everything

Each year I get customers who want to be assured that their plants won’t get damaged when they put on their new roof.  I’m faced with a dilemma — how do I quickly strip off thousands of pounds of shingles off of their roof, all while guaranteeing that their plants will be fine?

The short answer is that a roofer can’t, but here are a few tips to minimize potential problems:

  • Schedule your roofer early so that you’re one of the first in the installation queue.  Remember, that spring backlogs can grow swiftly and without notice.
  • Request your roof to be installed prior to spring budding.
  • Have your roof installed after the coldest part of the winter when there is no snow on the roof.  (But not when it’s below freezing, which can cause other problems.)
  • Cover any trellis or gentle plants with buckets and upside down garbage cans.
  • Inform your roofer about the more delicate plants so they know what your concerns are.  Communication is key to assuring a smooth project.
  • Watch the weather — an early spring means your plants may bud and bloom faster.  The faster they bud, the more seasonal damage that will happen to them.  If they are damaged, you won’t get the enjoy them as much in the upcoming season.
  • If you missed the window for an early install, consider having your roof done in the fall — after the growing season.

Tarps can help protect siding, windows and plants.

Your roofer can take a few precautions that help reduce problems.  Precautions take additional time and materials so don’t be upset if they cost a bit more.

  1. Additional plywood, leaned against the house can help make debris hit the plywood instead of your plants.
  2. Be realistic.  Those 4’x8′ sheets still have to be able to have a ladder go over them.
  3. Tarps can be draped from the gutter to the ground to reduce some of the impact and weight.

Beware of over-promising contractors

Common sense needs to come into play.  Your roofer will be stripping off up to 10,000 pounds of shingles off of your roof.  It gets pushed off of the roof and hits the ground.  Can they do their due diligence?  Of course.  Can they guarantee that nothing will be damaged?

Trust your instincts.  If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.


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