There's so much more to a great yard than just mowing the lawn.

Prep for Cold Weather

How quickly change happens. I just saw the first few snowflakes of the year drift to the ground!

Although it doesn’t look like the Front Range will get a huge amount moisture out of the storm, the temperatures are starting to drop dramatically. It’s easy to be taken off guard when the weather changes so quickly.

Winter weather right on the horizon

Winter weather right on the horizon

Here are a few tasks to address before the overnight low sets in:

Make sure your hoses are disconnected from the spigots. 

Since it’s been so dry, I’ve still been watering my landscape regularly. One year, I left my hose connected to the spigot over the winter. When I turned it on the following spring, very little water trickled out of the hose. That’s because it was gushing out of a huge crack in the copper pipe in the crawl space under the house.

Lesson learned. I now make sure I disconnect my hoses from the spigot whenever the temperature is supposed to drop below freezing.

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Make sure your backflow preventer and any above-ground pipes are drained. 

If you haven’t already had your sprinkler system blown out, you must be a risk taker. I am too, but that means I have to act quickly when the weather changes.

The overnight low is supposed to be around 20 degrees or less. That means any exposed sprinkler system parts above ground are likely to freeze. Make sure you drain them this afternoon, or you could be facing an expensive repair in the future.

Here’s a good video from Ewing Irrigation on the whole winterization process. They cover the whole thing from start to finish, but the backflow draining section starts around the 6 minute mark. Even if you haven’t blown everything out, still drain the backflow today if you can.

At the very least, throw a thick blanket over it to keep it warm overnight. If you can do that while the soil is still warm this afternoon, the heat will radiate from the soil, get trapped by the blanket and make it less likely the pipes will freeze.

Bid farewell to the remaining beautiful fall colors. 

It’s been an amazing autumn. Many plants’ leaves normally go from green  straight to brown from an early October frost.

This year, they’ve developed the most beautiful fall colors. Shades of red, orange, yellow and tan have graced our landscapes due to the mild temperatures. I’ve never seen the balaton cherry tree in my front yard have any fall color. This morning the leaves were the most stunning gold color.

Balaton Cherry Fall Color

Staghorn sumacs have also put on a good show this year.

Staghorn sumac fall color

That may change tonight. The cold temperatures will give plants the final signal that winter is coming. I’d expect most leaves to fall over the next week or so as most plants go into full dormancy.

So take some time this afternoon and walk around and enjoy the beauty of our Colorado landscapes. Even though we live in an unpredictable place, it’s never boring!

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