Oct 26, 2010 10:39 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Freeze warning: protect those plants

A freeze warning Tuesday night into Wednesday morning prompts planters to harvest what they can and cover the rest.

Mike Estes, owner of Rick's Garden Center in Colorado Springs recommends putting any kind of blanket, sheet, newspaper, or frost cloth on top of those outdoor plants, as long as the material can breathe.

"Anything but plastic," suggests Estes.

Estes says it is also time to start thinking about getting the rest of the landscape ready for winter.  He says fertilize your lawn with a fertilizer that has an even nitrogen to phosphorus ratio to encourage root growth.  Water the lawn and your trees and shrubs, but leave the fertilizer off the trees and shrubs.

"You'll get a lot more winter kill [if you fertilize trees and shrubs]," warns Estes.

Estes suggests giving flower and garden beds several inches of mulch to keep soil moist and warm.  For rose bushes, a rose collar around the bush will keep nine inches of mulch around the base of the plant without the mulch blowing away.

Don't forget your sprinkler systems and hoses.  Disconnect hoses from the spigot on freezing nights.  Drain your sprinkler system.  Leaving water in the lines during the winter could cause pipes and other costly equipment to burst.  The Colorado State University Extension has several suggestions on how to prepare your sprinkler system for the winter on its website.



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