Fall Colors Mean Messy Gutters! If you’re like most homeowners, cleaning the gutters is at the top of your “things to procrastinate doing” list. Saturdays are meant for scaling mountains, not awnings, and then there’s that horrible goop that you need to scoop out with your (hopefully gloved) hands! Still, those lovely deciduous shade trees mean leaves and twigs lodging in your roof’s drainage system – and a bunch of trouble if they haven’t been cleared for fall rains or the first heavy snow-melt.
Clogged gutters can damage the edges of your roof by forcing tannin-enriched “leaf tea” up under the shingles to begin a decay process. If run-off can’t get down the well-planned pipe system, water will also spill over in torrents to erode lawns or garden soil and stress the roots of over-wintering plants or create wet areas in the landscape.
Here are some tips to make your gutter-cleaning easier:
- To preempt the chore next year, cover your gutters with a wide caliber, heavy-duty mesh wire. Larger leaves can then be brushed off and the smaller ones that fall through the mesh can be rinsed out with the garden hose.
- This year, however, get a good ladder, a pair of gloves and a bucket that can hang on the ladder and start scooping!
- Use a free standing ladder rather than leaning your extension ladder against the gutter, which can break or damage it.
- If your roof has a gentle pitch, you can clean from the roof. The best way is to sit or kneel and scoot along the gutter, either collecting the leaves in a bucket as you go or tossing them down to be picked up later.
- Finish the job by running water from your hose into the gutter and down the drain pipe to assure that it is clear.