First Frost Yard and Garden Tips

It’s Time Think About Shutting Down Your Sprinkler System

The most important step in winterizing your system is to blow it out. Or, put simply, it’s important to clear the pipes of all water once you turn off your control clock and switch off the valve on your backflow preventer.

Blowing out your sprinkler system is one of the most crucial elements of the long-term maintenance of your sprinklers and should not be taken lightly. If water sits in the pipes when the temperatures go below freezing, the water will freeze and potentially break the underground pipes.

To avoid any possibility of breaking a pipe, we highly recommend getting your system blown out by a sprinkler professional. This is a particularly busy time for contractors that offer this service, so consider contacting a trusted contractor as soon as possible to get your system winterized. Resource Central does not partner with specific irrigation companies, but try visiting or scrolling through your local yelp/google reviews to find a certified specialist in your area!

Or if you are confident in your DIY skills and have access to an air compressor, there are plenty of online instructions on how to blow out your system, such as this fact sheet from CSU Extension, this video from City of Broomfield or this video from Ewing Irrigation. There are many more resources online in addition to the links provided here. But when in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your local sprinkler company to do it for you.

Don’t forget your plants…

If you recently planted a Garden In A Box, it’s a good idea to protect your plants from the upcoming colder temperatures.

– Review your Plant Care Guide to see which plants appreciate fall/winter deadheading. Keep in mind that more often than not, it’s good to leave perennials standing and to instead cut them back in the spring.

– Cover your newly planted perennials before the first frost, which is typically some time in October so be sure to keep an eye on the forecast during this time of year. When covering the plants, the most important factor is to make sure the covering reaches the soil completely, so feel free to use whatever you have around your house (cardboard boxes, old linens, milk jugs with the bottom cut out, an inverted flower pot, or buckets for some ideas) but keep this fact in mind. If you’re using a covering made of plastic, or in general as a best practice for any material, keep it from touching the plant’s foliage directly by using stakes or large buckets to keep the material off of the new plants. Be sure to cover them before dark, the night before an expected frost, and remove the covers the next morning to help warm the plants as the sun rises.

– Don’t fret if you see some dieback, or damage on the foliage of your plants after the first few freezes. This is to be expected because of the shock of the cold. Your plants are focusing on establishing their roots in the soil that is still warm from the summer temps, which is the important part!

– Consistent mulching is a great way to retain moisture and warm soil temps year-round, so don’t forget that you can refresh mulch any time of year! We recommend checking on your garden now, at the start of the cold weather season, to see if the layer of mulch is thick enough.