When your driveway isn’t concrete, it can make plowing a little more complicated. Nobody wants to damage the plow or the driveway, so it is important that you know what steps to take, to efficiently and correctly plow a gravel or dirt driveway. Although it is a little more challenging than the traditional surface, there are simple ways to make your driveway and roadway safe for walking and driving.
Some risks come with plowing a gravel or dirt driveway. The biggest risk is the plow picking up some of the dirt or gravel and depositing it in a different location. This can cause many issues for your landscaping in the spring season. It is important to find ways around this so that you can safely remove snow and keep your driveway or roadway intact. With dirt driveways or parking lots, you also cannot use salt, as it would create a muddy hole on the surface.
How to Snow Plow a Gravel Driveway
Can you snow plow a gravel driveway? Absolutely! But it's more than just pushing snow around. There are a few steps to properly plow a gravel surface.
Before starting, be sure to install plow shoes on your plows and adjust them properly — about a half-inch above the ground. This will ensure it does not dig deep into the gravel surface or the surrounding lawn during the process, which will ruin the surface and leave driveway gravel everywhere.
When you start plowing, first plow a line through the middle of the driveway. Roll the snow outward using an angled blade, or use a V-blade plow to push the snow to both sides. Having this line in the middle will make it easier to push snow to the sides.
Go up and down the gravel drive, clearing snow by making multiple passes with the blade angled out. This process will serve to increase the cleared middle section methodically, minimizing the amount of remaining snow. To make this more effective, be sure that you don’t plow more than ½-⅔ of a plow width. Otherwise, you will end up spreading more snow everywhere as it spills over the side.
The next step is to ensure you are not pushing the snow into areas that will make your life difficult later. There is more to plowing than just pushing it off of the road. You will most likely need to plow more than once, so it is important to leave enough room to push snow banks back for future snowfalls. Eventually, the snow will be in the way during a heavy winter, and restriction points will develop. If it does accumulate too much, a front-end loader may be necessary to allow for further plowing.
Make sure that at least a couple of inches of snowfall sits before you begin plowing. This will allow a layer of buffer to form that will protect the gravel from the cutting edge of the plow while maintaining a clean and safe drive.
Tips for Plowing Gravel Driveways
Take the following tips into account before starting plowing gravel driveways, to make sure your drive and yard stay safe throughout the process.
- Take it Slow: To truly take care of the packed snow without ruining gravel drives, go slowly. The more slowly and carefully you work, the more likely the gravel stays in place.
- Blade Height: To protect your gravel surfaces, keep the blade approximately half an inch from the surface so it doesn't pull up gravel from the ground or leave marks.
- Tilt the Blade Edge: When plowing snow, it's a great idea to keep the front blade at a 40º-45º angle from the rear blade.
- Wait for Enough Snow: There should be at least a couple of inches from the first snowfall that winter before you break out the snow plows, or else risk messing up your gravel surface.
- Listen While You Plow: If your equipment is touching the surface while plowing a gravel driveway, you will be able to hear it. It will make a very unpleasant noise- so listen carefully!
- Start in the Middle: As we have mentioned, the best solution is to pull snow from the center. Start with a line in the middle and work from there.
- Try Multiple Passes: To handle problem areas and clear snow fully, go over the surface multiple times.
Should You Use Salt When Plowing a Gravel Driveway?
Salt is an excellent way to melt snow and ice on a road or in a parking lot. And though you can and should use salt before plowing gravel driveways, unlike with a paved surface, applying too much salt can have a negative impact on a gravel driveway. Instead, most contractors choose to use both salt and sand to create any necessary traction. However, even a little bit of salt can go a long way, and for the best results, use rock salt as a spot treatment where ice has formed.
Overall, there is an art to plowing driveways. Following the aforementioned tips, as well as safety instructions, will ensure your gravel driveway and yard survive the process.
Though plowing is an effective solution for many applications, salt can be better. Ninja De-Icer will help you find high-quality rock salt for sale, we have what you are looking for! If you still have questions, you can get a quote!