When the weather turns cold, here’s a short to-do list before the freeze:

frosted marigold

  • Bring in any potted plants you especially love, if you haven’t already.
  • If you have an irrigation system with a hose-end timer, bring in your controller as a safety precaution. For instructions to disconnect the controller from your hose bib scroll down to “Winterizing.”
  • Disconnect your hoses from the spigots. If you have a hose-Y or a 4-way extender, be sure all of the toggles are in the “on” position.
  • If you haven’t had your home sprinkler system blown-out already, it is a good idea to drain your back-flow device. There are many types of back-flow devices. The CSU Extension Service has a good write-up with instructions for draining here.
  • Harvest anything left in the garden. Root crops and cold weather crops will be OK but if you still have tomatoes, harvest them even if they’re still green. If you have a row cover/season extender, be sure it’s set up for tonight.


Timer with connections pointed out.
  1. Turn off the water at the spigot. Turn the hose-side toggle valve to release the water pressure.
  2. Detach the controller assembly at the spigot and below the filter/fertilizer unit. (See photo.) In case of threat of early freeze, remove this unit. Store control unit indoors for the winter.
  • If the brass-Y is too tight to remove, unscrew the timer below the Y. Leave the toggle valves on both sides of the brass-Y turned to “on” to prevent freeze damage to your spigot.
  1. Remove the 9V battery for winter storage.
  2. Do not blow-out your drip irrigation system — the components cannot withstand the high pressure. It is highly unlikely an above ground system will have freeze damage.
  3. Since terra-cotta and ceramic planters absorb water, they have a tendency to crack in the winter. Minimize the risk of losing your planters by removing the dead plants and soil.
  4. Need help? Contact Patio Plants Unlimited at 988-3808 or info@patioplantsunlimited.com.