Tips to protect your yard against freeze damage

5:11 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Friday is the first serious cold snap of the season and temps will be dipping close to freezing.  This is a wake-up call that we need to protect vulnerable parts of the sprinkler system against costly freeze damage as well as tender flowers and veggies we want to enjoy when warmer days return. 

Start with the sprinkler system

Sprinkler winterizations are just getting underway, so most people's systems are still vulnerable to freeze damage.  The most vulnerable part of the sprinkler system is the backflow prevention device.  It keeps sprinkler water from getting into the domestic water you use inside the home.  It's usually near the foundation outside the home.

If your system hasn't yet been winterized, you should open up the device if you know how to do this and then protect the device by wrapping it with a thick towel or blanket.  Next, put a plastic garbage bag over the blanket to keep moisture out and tape it all in place with duct tape.  This provides insulation to help protect against freezing and keeps moisture out.

Schedule to have the system winterized

A sprinkler system can not only result in a damaged backflow device, but pipes and valves are also at risk.  Blowing out the lines with compressed air removes water that can freeze, expand and cause expensive damage to the entire system.  This is one job where it's best to call in a pro who has the right-sized compressor to do the job effectively and the know-how to make sure it's done properly.  Because of safety concerns related to working with an air compressor, this is not a recommended DIY project. 

Protect tender flowers and veggies against frost

After the first frost, we often have Indian summer with nice warm days.  So if you still have tomatoes and peppers you want to harvest later, you can protect them from frost damage by covering them with insulating material.  Pansies can survive a frost without protection - but our traditional fall mums won't.  Here are tips for protecting plants:

  • Avoid using plastic as it is inadequate insulation
  • Good household items to use are large towels - they work well over draped over container plants.
  • Sheets are not too heavy - but still give good protection for annual and veggie beds.  Drape them over tomato cages and other veggies and try to cover plants well in the process.  
  • Remember to remove covering in the morning when it warms up so plants can get the sunlight.
  • Make sure the garden hose is disconnected from the faucet.  In a hard freeze this can create freeze damage inside the walls of your house.

Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, sponsors of the 9NEWS Water Wise Garden and the 9NEWS Kitchen Garden.

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