by Charlene Burgi
November is not the month we typically worry about a hard freeze, but this year is an exception. The temperatures in some parts of Marin are expected to drop into the 20s over the next few nights, which means we are not the only ones who need to bundle up. This is the time when the ounce of prevention theory comes into play. It is better to take the time to go through the chores listed below today rather than risk broken pipes that need attention just when you’re basting the turkey in a warm home!
- Cover frost-tender plants and wrap exposed water pipes. If you do not have time to get insulated pipe wrap, cover water pipes that are exposed to the air with old towels or blankets and wrap with plastic to protect the material from getting wet.
- If you haven’t done so already, put an insulated blanket on your backflow device. These are sold at irrigation supply houses.
- Move containerized frost-tender plants under the cover of eaves, covered patios or into the garage.
- Use commercial sprays that protect foliage from extreme weather conditions. These products can be found at your local nursery.
- Frost-tender plants that are in the ground will require protection with make-shift tents. The tent can be as simple as three or four lodge poles driven into the ground with a sheet thrown over the top. Remember that the material touching the foliage will not protect that portion of the plant.
- If there is fruit on your trees, there is a good chance it will freeze despite the tent cover unless you place a low-watt oven or freezer light bulb under the tent at night. Be certain to use an approved UL outdoor extension cord for this protective measure. Or if the fruit is ripe, pick it.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch. Use compost, bark or straw. It is the best blanket you can use to protect the roots of your plants.
- Take the cover off the plants when the temperatures rise above freezing.
- If your plants are damaged by the frost, resist the temptation to cut them back until spring when the danger of frost is over.
Secure in the knowledge that the pipes won’t burst and my plants are bundled up, I can focus on the warm and wonderful abundant thoughts of Thanksgiving. This is the time of year to reflect on the goodness around me that falls into the priceless range. My list consists of a loving family, good health, nature and all it holds, furry and feathered critters that brighten any day, friends, joy and laughter, sharing information, creativity and the desire to make the world a better place so all can enjoy and appreciate the priceless things in life.
It is also a time for me to thank you for your kind words and inquisitive minds that keep me on my toes all year. My thanks also go to Ann and Libby, who polish and refine my thoughts, and to an amazing Water Conservation Department team here at MMWD that creates an energy beyond words.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.