With fall upon us here at Smart Earth Sprinklers, we thought it would be a good idea to remind our readers to prepare their landscapes and sprinkler systems during the fall in preparation for the coming winter freeze. Planning ahead will help save you a lot of headaches, as you don’t want to find yourself rushing to get everything done when the temperatures get bitterly cold.
Here are some points to assist you with your fall preparations:
Winterize Your Sprinkler System
It is absolutely critical that your sprinkler system be thoroughly winterized in preparation for the freeze. The fall is the best time to get it done, generally between late October and early November. Much of the winterization process involves draining the sprinkler system thoroughly and ensuring that no water can re-enter the system to freeze.
To properly winterize your system, you might need to use a compressor to blow water out of the pipes. Depending where you are located in Texas, such as in the Austin area, your system may not need a blow out. If you do live in this area you will want to ensure that the water supply valve is properly shut off so that no water can enter the system once it has been drained. Where ever you are located in Texas however, we do recommend that you have your sprinkler system go through a fall and winterization process.
Winterizing your sprinkler system might include insulating some of the components, such as the backflow preventer. Additionally, make sure that your controller or timer for your sprinkler system is turned off to prevent it from activating during the winter and running dry.
Finally, any remaining pressure should be released from the system, and additional hoses or attachments should all be disconnected and safely stored indoors.
By effectively winterizing your system and ensuring that your landscape is clean, trimmed, and prepped, you can sit back and enjoy the winter season without having to worry about finding problems when spring comes around next year.
Why Winterizing Your Sprinkler System Is Critical
If you don’t winterize your sprinkler system, you could end up with a series of problems when the thaw comes. These problems could end up costing a fair amount to repair, so carrying out a thorough winterization in the fall is a critical part of preventative maintenance that you should not overlook.
When the coldest nights of the year eventually hit, any water that remains in your system will freeze. Water expands when it freezes, and when this happens inside pipes, valves, and other fittings, it can result in ruptures. If you did not thoroughly flush your system as part of the winterization process, come springtime, you could very well find that your system is full of leaks and damaged components.
In addition to expanding ice being a problem, the cold can also cause some of the components in your system to become brittle. That’s why winterization of your sprinkler system might also include protecting some components by wrapping or insulating them.
Cutting back dead growth is also an important part of winterization, as it can prevent branches from falling on your system during the cold and damaging them in their weakened state. The abundance of dry and dead foliage, if left unchecked, can also cause blockages to occur, leading to problems in the spring.
Implement Proper Fall Lawn Care
Your lawn is the centerpiece of your landscape and should be well looked after. So, when spring rolls around next year, it will look as green and lush as ever.
During the fall, continue mowing your lawn as needed. However, as the fall progresses, gradually lower the cutting height, especially toward the last few mows of the season. As the temperatures drop, your lawn will grow less and require less cutting.
Many lawns have compacted soil underneath, so it’s worthwhile to consider aerating it in the fall to improve air and water penetration throughout the fall and winter seasons.
If there are any bare patches on your lawn, attempt to repair them by overseeding with the appropriate grass seed and then applying a fall-appropriate lawn fertilizer. These kinds of lawn fertilizers will have a lower nitrogen content that promotes root growth and keeps your lawn healthy and alive during the chilly season.
You’re also likely to get inundated with fallen leaves. Regularly rake these up and discard them to prevent them from smothering the grass. If left unchecked, an overabundance of dead leaves covering your lawn can cause the grass to suffocate and prevent sunlight and moisture from penetrating effectively.
You can use the leaves that you raked up from your lawn to create a layer of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs. This might help protect the roots from freezing temperatures when winter comes.
Smart Earth Sprinklers Fall and Winterization!
Additional steps we do on top of our normal visit/system inspection, is make sure all exposed pipe are properly insulated especially the backflow prevention valve. We also adjust the run times and setting down for the winter season.
Lawns need some water during the winter. Even if you choose not to water the lawn, the sprinkler system still needs to activate at least a minute or two a month to keep everything lubricants and cleaned out from sand and sediment. Leaving the sprinklers off is like parking a car for 6 months, it’s guaranteed to need work once you try to start it. The seals go go bad in the sprinkler heads, the diaphragms in the valves get stuck open.
To ensure that you get your sprinkler systems ready for the chilly season, book your sprinkler system winterization through Smart Earth Sprinklers now. It gets busy at this time of year, so don’t delay!