The holiday season is a busy time of the year for us all, and that includes Mother Nature. Leaves are changing color and beginning to fall, rain showers are more frequent, and temperatures are beginning to drop. And of all the things you need to worry about during the holidays, protecting your plants from a freeze shouldn’t be one of them!
Plant Care – Freeze Protection
At Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage, and Lighting, we have a few tips to help you prepare your sprinkler system for colder temperatures and protect your landscape from freezing conditions:
Tip #1: For anyone living in warmer climates (which is all Andy’s customers), we strongly advise that you do NOT shut off your system for Winter. Maintaining the moisture in your soil in and around your home is critical for the cold months ahead. Dry soil will allow cold air to penetrate the ground and kill plants roots; soil with proper moisture balance will expand and seal itself around plant roots, protecting them from the frigid cold air. This also includes the perimeter of your home, where keeping proper moisture balance year-round is critical to prevent shifting soils.
Tip #2: Instead of turning off your system, you should instead adjust your controller settings for Winter weather. We suggest you start watering during the day instead of the evening. With the sun setting earlier and freezing temperatures in the evenings increasing, watering at night is the last thing you’ll want to do. By watering during the day, you can avoid damage to your landscape and reduce chances of icy patches on sidewalks, driveways, and stairs. We also highly recommend a rain freeze sensor or smart controller with weather data capabilities to ensure your system isn’t running when it shouldn’t be (ie: when temps are below 40 degrees, there is precipitation, or wind speeds are too high).
Tip #3: Make sure your system, when activated, isn’t causing any potential icy hazards that are ultimately your liability. To do this, turn on your controller to ‘test’ mode (where each zone only runs for approximately 2 minutes) and take a walk around your home. You should be looking for spray heads that are spraying on sidewalks, stairs, or driveways and not the landscape, broken heads, and leaks. Any water that accumulates on sidewalks, stairs, or driveways can turn to ice, which can result in slips & falls and potential injuries. No one wants their holidays ruined with an incident on an icy sidewalk that could be easily prevented.
Tip #4: If you don’t have the time or feel comfortable prepping your sprinklers yourself, just give Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage, and Lighting a call today! Our Winterization Service includes a service visit now to prep your system for freezing temps, and a second visit in early Spring to re-adjust your system for warmer weather. And if you have any additional questions or concerns about what to do during the freezing temperatures, we’re always here to help!