News release

Be Ready for Fall with These Simple Clean-up Tips

Environment | September 16, 2022

It’s hard to believe, but the fall season will soon be here. To help make sure you’re ready to enjoy the bursting autumn colours, follow these simple clean-up tips:

Emptying Rain Bins/Barrels – protect your rain bins/barrels from the cold winter weather and extend its life.

  • Drain all the water and leave the spout/spigot open. Rinse with the hose to remove debris
  • Remove the lid and any anything that is attached such as hoses and spouts.
  • Detach your bin/barrel from the your downspout and replace the extending downspout to ensure water flows at least six feet or two metres away from your home during any of the winter thaws and in the spring
  • Store your bin/barrel upside down in a shed or garage or if it’s staying outside, out of direct sunlight and where the wind won’t be able to blow it around

Cleaning Eaves troughs and Downspouts – protect your home from potential leaks and water damage by ensuring your eaves troughs are clear and there are no blockages and water drains away from your foundation.

  • Clear out all leaves, pine needles, sticks and other items that may have fallen into your eaves troughs throughout the summer months
  • Using gloves to protect your hands, scrape out any debris that may be stuck
  • For an extra rinse, gently spray water into the eavestroughs to ensure the water flows easily and remove any blockages
  • When dry, seal any seams or joints that may be leaking
  • Ensure that pipes from basement sump pumps are free of blockages and that sump pumps are maintained

Winterize Your Pool – to make sure you can enjoy the warm, lazy days of summer poolside, be sure to protect your pool and the environment through proper care and draining.

  • Dispose of pool water in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Many pool and spa chemicals can be harmful to the environment if emptied into the City’s stormwater system, which connects to local freshwater creeks and to Lake Ontario
  • Carry out inspections and needed repairs to all pool components.
  • Remove all debris from the water, skimmer, pump basket and filter and if you have a cartridge filter, it can be disposed of with your garbage
  • Sand filters that require backwashing should be drained to the sanitary sewer
  • Stop adding chemicals 10 days before closing your pool. Keep the pool surface uncovered to allow sunlight to break down chlorine and bromine  Balance the water to neutralize pH around 7 and remove phosphates
  • Discharge chlorine pools by a hose long enough to reach to the curb
    Important: Saltwater pools should be very slowly and carefully discharged to a drain that is connected to the sanitary sewer system like a basement sink or floor drain using only a ½ inch hose to avoid flooding. Never discharge pool water into a ravine

Yard Clean-up – take some time to ensure your yard is free from weeds and that your lawns and gardens are ready for the winter storms and to flourish when the spring weather hits next year.

  • Survey your property, including the boulevard if you have one, and give your lawn a final mow cutting down any tall grass; to help the soil dry quickly in the spring consider dropping your mower to a lower setting, this will help generate a lusher lawn
  • Wearing protective clothing, carefully cut down and remove any weeds that have cropped up in your gardens
  • As trees shed their leaves, consider using them as a layer of compost in your gardens and around your plants to nurture the soil and ready it for planting in the spring
  • Cut back any overgrown perennials you may have and transplant them to a new location within your garden or consider giving a clipping to family or friends
  • Move potted plants indoors and wrap up sensitive plants with cloth barriers to help them withstand the cold and freezing conditions of winter
  • Trim up any tree branches and limbs that are safe to reach to avoid them breaking and falling during the winter months (branches and limbs that are higher up may need the expertise of a professional arborist)
  • Let some garden areas remain in their natural state to provide habitat for overwintering insects including native bees and butterflies

With these items crossed off your ‘to do’ list, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your favourite pumpkin spiced latte, coffee or treat.

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