The First Freeze: Prep Now

It’s late October of 2020, it’s been an exhausting year there is an election in a little over a week and Albuquerque is about to have it’s FIRST FREEZE of the season.

You’ll want to PREP NOW with the simple tips below:

1. Disconnect the water supply to your watering system

a. If you manually water using a hose or if the irrigation system is attached to an outdoor spigot, you should disconnect it and cover your hose bib using a faucet cover. A faucet cover is easy to install and is usually made from durable hard plastic. It protects your outdoor faucet from freezing temperatures. This in an easy, inexpensive fix that will provide you peace of mind when the temperatures drop.

Text Box: Faucet cover to protect hose bib from frost
Freeze cover for hose spigot


b. If you have a below ground irrigation system, locate your shut-off valve (often hidden in a 3” PVC pipe; often with a white or yellow cap, as shown in the photo). Turn it to the right to shut it off. Be careful when turning so you don’t break the valve. Your shut off valve may look like this:

2. Turn off the irrigation system controller (if you have one)

Leave your controller plugged in to save programming information for next year. Turn the irrigation controller dial to OFF.

3. Drain the water from all pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads.

Text Box: Drain cap at the end of a drip system.

There are several ways to drain your system. Manual drain valves and automatic drain valves can be blown out with compressed air. Local irrigation specialists can help. If you have an irrigation system with drip hoses, we recommend you locate the end cap (drain cap) of the drip hose and drain out the water.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to water your trees once a month.

Trees need to be watered deeply once a month in the winter. You’ll want to water with your hose since you’ll have turned off your irrigation system. Turn your hose to a low flow or fast drip, so the water soaks into the soil before running off (try a hose end shut off valve). Set a timer and move the hose to different locations every 20 minutes starting 5 feet from the trunk to just outside the canopy edge. Small to medium trees will require watering at between 12 and 20 locations. Larger trees may need to be watered in sections over a few days.

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