Protection from the cold…
Because we reduce our watering to one day per week during the winter, most people don’t think about routine maintenance. Once the daytime highs drop below 60 degrees, we need to think about insulating any exposed piping. You may have been lucky and made it through several winters without a problem, but the first break you have can be a costly one. As many of us learned last winter, it only takes one extremely cold night to cause a big headache.
Here are a few simple tasks you can follow to protect your irrigation system and landscape:
- First, you should protect your backflow preventer or PVB. The easiest way to do this is with a great product by Frostbite – PVB Protector. It slips over the top of your PVB and can be secured at the bottom with a small padlock or even a simple zip-tie. This product comes in 3 different sizes and configurations to fit every application.
* If weather forecast foresees temperatures in the teens, you should shut off and drain your PVB. This can be done by shutting off the bottom valve, which is the incoming water, manually opening one of your automatic valves and to open one of the small test valves on the PVB. Doing this will allow air to vent in and drain the water out into the system. With no water in the system, there is no chance of rupture from water expansion.
- Next, check out your pipes that are still exposed to the elements. The best solution for protecting these pipes is to utilize foam tube pipe insulation. This insulation has a simple application. There is a slit located on one side of the tube and easily slips over the pipe. It can then be secured with adhesive pipe wrap or duct tape. This is also a great way to reduce heat loss on exposed hot water and water softener pipes.
- Now, the next step would be to look at your hose bibs (aka: hose faucet). These can also be covered by a hose faucet protector. These covers are quite simple and have Velcro straps to secure them tightly. Another product made by Frostbite and of course available through your neighborhood Star Nursery.
By simply following these easy steps, you can avoid spending hundreds of dollars calling a plumber or landscaper for any repairs. Even if you are able to do repairs yourself, no one wants to play in the water when it’s freezing outdoors.
Proper watering is just as important during the colder months. This will determine how well your plants will fare through a severe cold snap. Just like the rest of the year, deep watering is the key. If your plants have a healthy deep root system they will retain moisture much longer in the leaves. When the roots are shallow and dry they tend to go dormant easier. Dormant roots do not supply water and nutrients to the plant which causes cold weather stress.
If you have any frost tender plants in your landscape such as Queen or Pygmy Palms, burlap is an effective and inexpensive way to protect them. The most important portion of the palm to wrap is the “heart” or upper portion of the trunk. The fronds should be tied up together with a stretch tie or twine prior to wrapping with burlap. Make sure to secure these tightly. Other tender shrubs or plants in your landscape can be protected by draping burlap over the entire shrub or covering with Plant Protector Bags.
By taking the proactive approach to your landscape, you can protect your investment and avoid costly repairs or replacements later. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Visit your local Star Nursery and inquire about winterizing your irrigation and landscape today.