by Charlene Burgi
When it comes to protecting outdoor plumbing, the words “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more true. The process is as easy as placing foam insulation around exposed pipes and installing special blankets made for backflow devices. These materials are available at your local hardware store or irrigation supply house. If you don’t have this type of insulation on hand, use old towels or blankets and wrap them in plastic secured in place with twine or wire to keep the material dry from the rain or dew. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the water from them before coiling them up.
If your pipes do freeze without cracking or breaking, try to turn on the water faucet slowly. The running water will melt the ice. Do not pour boiling water on frozen pipes as they can burst.
Don’t stop with outdoor pipes for winter protection. Frost-tender plants also can suffer from the freezing weather. Protect them by creating tents over the top of the plants with old sheets or tarps. Be careful, as the material in contact with the foliage can freeze. Use long stakes or lodge poles to hold the material away from the plants. In extreme cases, for tropical plants like bougainvillea, place a trouble light under the sheeting material with a refrigerator bulb with low wattage during the subfreezing temperatures. Make certain that the extension cord is rated for outdoor usage. If frostbite occurs on foliage, do not prune the damaged plant until the frost season is over, typically March. The damaged parts of the plant will protect the leaves underneath.
Don’t forget the mulch. Mulch will act as a blanket to the root system on your plants. Be certain to leave an open collar around the trunk or base of the plant to avoid rotting.
Habitat Restoration and Holiday Decorations Workshop
If you are in a creative mood this Saturday, November 21, come to the Habitat Restoration and Holiday Decorations Workshop on the Mt. Tam Watershed. The habitat restoration is from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Holiday crafts will follow from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Meet at the Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area at the end of Sky Oaks Road, off of Bolinas Road in Fairfax. (Parking passes will be provided.) Bring your lunch and plan on having fun! The event is FREE but space is limited. For more information and to register, click here.
After playing in the brisk weather, treat yourself to a steaming cup of tea or hot chocolate and have a great weekend.