You’ve been watching and hearing about it! Most communities around the Bay Area are enduring a week of freezing overnight temperatures. And there will be more freezing nights to come this winter. Here is how we’ve addressed the Three P’s of our yard’s survival – Pipes, Plants and the Pool…
Pipes: The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation and thermostats set too low.
- Make sure all exposed pipes are insulated including those in attics or crawl spaces that aren’t usually heated. Remember, the more insulation you use the better protected your pipes will be.
- Disconnect all hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and exposed sprinkler systems if possible.
- Does your irrigation control system have a freeze setting? This will prevent it from operating if temperatures get too low. Otherwise we’ve set our’s to manual so we can control when it runs. If you have to leave for an extended period have it run in the middle of the day when it’s likely to be warmest.
- Don’t turn your thermostat off or set too low at night or when leaving the house. This will prevent you from being caught off guard when temps suddenly drop.
Plants: Nothing is more disheartening than losing favorite, hard-cared-for plants than forgetting to prepare them for a freeze.
- Research online to find out which of your plants are susceptible to freezing damage and be proactive in preparing them. The two things that work best for us are:
- Covering is one of the most effective ways of protecting most plants. Place three or four stakes around the plants being covered and drape cloth material over the stakes being careful that it doesn’t touch and freeze the leaves. Don’t use plastic – the plants won’t be able to breathe.
- Mulching is the other important step to make sure plant roots don’t freeze as well. Place at least 2″ of mulch (even grass clippings work). Keep the mulch an inch away from the main stem or trunk of the plant.
- Don’t forget to keep watering! Freezing temperatures suck the moisture out of plants and the ground.
Pool: Pool equipment is expensive; it only makes sense that you will want to make sure your pool handles the freeze too.
- Do not wrap your pool pipes! The pump(s) will get hot and could catch whatever you use to wrap on fire.
- If you have Freeze Protect on your system, make sure it is turned on and functioning properly. The system will turn on automatically and cycle on and off throughout the freeze period to protect your pool and equipment.
- No Freeze Protect? Run your pool equipment during the freeze. Change the timers so it runs during expected freezing periods – you are the freeze protection!
The most important thing to do is to assess your yard and take whatever steps are necessary based on what you have. Hopefully these tips will help you make sure your yard survives this freeze and any others!