North Dakota is used to its winters, long and notoriously frigid. But is so much snow on the ground in mid-April so out of the ordinary?
A sampling of various landscaping and yardwork firms in the area suggests not so much. However, everyone is keen for the season to start back up.
Ardis Aasen of Aasen Landscaping Inc., says they have been moving some snow here and there since the late snowfall that started a couple of weeks ago. "The boys are just lazing around, waiting for spring to come," she said.
Aasen Landscaping was founded by Ardis' husband, Tom Aasen, in 1959, and she has run the family business for the past dozen years. "Usually we have the golf course," she explained, referring to the Apple Grove Golf Course which is currently closed. Tom Aasen had designed the course when it opened in 1974, with the company servicing it since.
For the time being, "the snow has put them behind in their work," said Aasen. "You never know what the weather will bring," though she adds that the delayed start isn't much of a worry.
Levi Bjertness of Birdy's Hydromulching is also keeping an eye to the thermometer. "Last year we were putting yards in by the middle of April," he recalled. Even after the thaw, "it'll be about one or two weeks before the ground dries enough." Even so, Birdy's has other little projects to do during the interval, such as dirtwork and landscaping. But "hydroseeding in the summer is really our specialty," said Bjertness.
Bruce Wolf of Central Dakota Sprinkler agrees that "it'll be a late spring," adding it is "gonna be damp and muddy" for a while. But the weather so far is not unusual for them either. "We don't like to get started until May anyway," said Wolf, explaining that until then "the nights get too cold" and pipes can sometimes still freeze to bursting. Additionally, they have to wait for yards to evenly thaw; swaths shadowed over by fences and houses will stay frozen longer than those generally exposed to sunlight.
Until then, there's "usually a bit of odds and ends to do," Wolf adds. No worries.
Bill Ziegler of Premier Landscaping says that the season has already started for his company, between snow removal projects and work beginning in the western part of the state. The firm has a 125-mile wide radius that it services, so "overall we've been fairly busy; steady."
As far as Minot's grass and hedges, Ziegler thinks "we're probably looking like May 6, that week," sensibly adding an "if we're lucky."
"The reality is in previous years, except for last year, this is normal," said Dan Pausig Jr. of Back to Basics/Dakota Yard & Home. "The season normally starts in the mid-part of April." Normal or not, he is looking forward to getting back into the swing of the season. "I'm hoping to be in people's yards soon here," said Pausig with a chuckle.