With the holidays officially over, the cold weather is upon us. It’s time to keep an eye out on protecting our landscape in Omaha and the surrounding areas.
During these hard freezes where daytime temperatures don’t rise into or above single digits your landscape is at risk of sustaining damage from cold weather. However, there are ways you can protect most or all of your landscape from being ruined or damaged.
Omaha Winters: Protecting Your Landscape
First, you need to determine which of your plants are the most sensitive to cold and frost. Many plants are cold-hardy and don’t need special care, but some species such as gardenias, aucuba and lantana do.
To keep plants frost-free, you can place old towels and sheets over them with tree stakes or poles. The idea is to keep the materials from resting directly on top of the plants while still keeping them covered. This preserves air flow to the plant. During the day, covers should be removed to allow plants to absorb sunlight. Hedges or shrubs can be wrapped thinly with burlap, just not directly on top. Be sure your mulch is deep enough to offer adequate insulation as well. Potted plants should be brought indoors.
Hardscapes are just as important as landscapes when it comes to cold weather protection. Be sure to seal and reseal your hardscapes such as driveways, paths and patios to prevent damage from the freeze/thaw cycle. You should also paint or seal any wooden hardscape features such as arbors and decks for the same reason.
Be sure all patio furniture is covered, and watch out for rusting metal, which can stain hardscapes in damp weather.
Protect Pipes and Hoses
There are several steps you can take to protect the pipes and hoses in your home and landscape from cold weather:
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses when they are not being used.
- Insulate your irrigation backflow device by draping a towel over it and cover with a bucket or other protective cover that touches the ground. Never obstruct or seal the ports of a backflow protection device.
- Wrap exposed irrigation pipes with pipe insulation, insulated “faucet socks,” an old towel or duct tape.
- Set heat to 55 degrees when you’re away to protect pipes and houseplants.
- Turn off the water valves to your washing machine to avoid flooding from burst hoses.
- Don’t leave interior or exterior pipes dripping. Valley temperatures generally don’t drop low enough for a long enough period of time to warrant it.
- Locate your water shut-off valve and learn how to turn off water at its source, so you can ward off damage from leaks or burst lines. Know how to turn off your irrigation backflow device as well.
Protect Your Pool
You can help reduce risks to your pool and/or spa from freezing conditions by following some of these tips:
- During freezing temperatures run the filtration pump and jet pumps continuously.
- Adjust pool and spa jets upwards to reduce surface freezing.
- Maintain proper pool water level at all times.
- Have all air and water leaks repaired.
- Remove and store all pool accessories in a clean, dry area.
You should also consult with your pool maintenance company to see about winterizing your pool.