North America experiences a variety of weather patterns during the winter months. However, most of the continent will undergo cold enough temperatures that freeze the upper layers of ground soil.
This can be highly problematic for those needing to dig into the ground during the winter. Projects that normally take a few hours worth of digging now takes days to unthaw and break through the frozen topsoil.
Powerblanket’s Ground Thawing Blankets were essential in saving the Hailey Cemetery time and money during the Idaho Winter of 2017. Wayne Burke, maintenance supervisor for the cemetery, said that winter was colder and less wet than years previous, causing the soil to freeze much deeper than normal.
“There’s usually six inches of snow on the ground,” Burke said, adding that the snow acts as a layer of insulation, preventing the ground from freezing as much. “It always worked out great. But last year it got really cold and there was no snow.”
Burke knew he needed solutions fast to meet the demand of the cemetery’s burial service schedule. He reached out to Powerblanket, and within two days of ordering, received his Ground Thawing Blanket.
“You guys sent it just in time. I used it the first day, and only had it on for 12 hours. It still worked,” he said. “A few weeks later, I needed it again. We also loaned it to another cemetery and they were really happy with how it worked too.”
In years prior Burke said he used propane torches to thaw the soil before digging. In addition, the cemetery landscaping had to be torn up and replaced after each dig.
“It worked perfect,” he said. “It thawed about 14 inches down into the ground. The grass greened up and I was able to cut it up into strips and roll it up. The sod was in good shape and I stored it in our garage. After the burial we put the dirt back in a rolled the sod back out. Normally we tear the sod up and throw it away and replant it in the springtime.”
Burke said the Ground Thawing Blanket was exactly what he needed to break through the tough winter soil, saving him hours of manual labor and nearly $100 in landscaping.
“I was really happy with it, and we’ll be using it again this year,” he said.