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Freeze protection

Freeze protection

Weekend freeze: prep now
With the weekend forecast calling for freezing temps, be prepared to protect your irrigation systems and tender plants.

4 Things you need to do ahead of the storm
1. Turn off the sprinkler system asap. No need to water with rain/snow soon. Wait to turn it on until soil begins to dry.
2. Protect the backflow prevention device on the sprinkler system as components can freeze and break. Pipes are above ground and usually next to the foundation. Wrap a towel around the pipes for insulation and secure with duct tape. Then cover with a plastic trash bag secured with duct tape to keep pipes dry.
3. Beware of tree limbs that can break. Snow clings to the leaves and increases the snow load beyond that of winter snows when trees have no leaves. Limbs often break in heavy spring snows, so do not park cars under trees. For small trees, you can gently shake snow off branches you can reach using a broom handle. Work from the bottom up.
4. Protect annual flowers, veggies and herbs against freeze. Annual flowers and newly planted veggies such as tomatoes and peppers, as well as annual herbs such as basil need protection. Newly emerging pumpkins, squash, melons and beans also need protection.

Place planting pots over smaller plants. Use fabric towels or sheets around tomato cages and to drape over annual flowers too big to bring indoors. Do not use plastic sheets as plastic will not keep plants from freezing. Cool season plants such as radish, carrots, lettuce, and spinach normally do not need protection.

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