Cold Weather Tips
Protect Pipes and Hoses
There are several steps you can take to protect the pipes and hoses in your home and landscape from cold weather:
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses when they are not being used.
- Insulate your irrigation backflow device by draping a towel over it and covering it with a bucket or other protective cover that touches the ground. Never obstruct or seal the ports of a backflow protection device.
- Wrap exposed irrigation pipes with pipe insulation, insulated “faucet socks,” an old towel or duct tape.
- Don’t leave interior or exterior pipes dripping. Temperatures generally don’t drop low enough for a long enough period of time to warrant it.
- Locate your water shut-off valve and learn how to turn off water at its source, so you can ward off damage from leaks or burst lines. Know how to turn off your irrigation backflow device as well.
Reduce the risk of damage to your pool due to freezing conditions by following these tips:
- During freezing temperatures run the filtration and jet pumps continuously.
- Maintain proper pool water level at all times.
- Adjust pool and spa jets upwards to reduce surface freezing.
- Have all air and water leaks repaired.
- Remove and store all pool accessories in a clean, dry area.
- Consult with your pool maintenance company about winterizing your pool.
Just like you, pets need water, food and warmth to get through cold days and freezing nights. When possible, make sure your pets are indoors. If your pets are outside, make sure they have access to blankets in a draft-free shelter that is elevated off the ground.
The late months of winter are a great time to begin preparing your landscape for warmer spring temperatures.
During the winter months, water in the midmorning to avoid the afternoon winds that keep your sprinklers from hitting their grass target. You also will reduce the risk of icing that can occur if you water during early morning or evening.
Planting in Winter
February is usually mild enough to allow you to plant petunias, pansies, snapdragons and other cool-season annuals in a well-drained, highly-enriched soil. Adding a protective mulch on the soil around your plants will conserve water so you don’t have to water as often. Remember to stake new plants and water them deeply to prevent damage from winds and burning young leaves.
The ideal time to prune trees and shrubs is in late winter, when plants are mostly dormant. Finish heavy pruning by mid-February, before buds show evidence of swelling. Don’t prune more than one-quarter of the living tissue during the year.
Fertilize Fruit Plants
Peak blooming season is in the spring, and the best time to fertilize fruit trees and grapes is the six weeks before and after they bloom. Fertilize in late winter for the finest fruit.