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Finally, all cities in our area require a freeze sensor on sprinkler systems. If you aren’t sure about yours, the simple solution to preventing dangerous icing is to turn off your system.
Fall is here and so are the leaves! One of the questions we get during this time of year is what should our customers do with all their leaves? If they are in your beds we recommend you leave them alone. They eventually break down into the soil, providing great organic material for the roots of your plants. Your lawn however, is a different matter. Having a thick blanket of leaves can cause a few problems. One is that a thick layer of leaves can promote fungus. Another is that the leaves form an insulation barrier for your grass, which is great, until the inevitable gust of wind blows, leaving your lawn exposed to sudden cold. The inability to acclimate when this occurs is especially hard on St. Augustine and zoysiagrass. So, the original questions, what should you do with all those leaves? If at all possible mulch them. Most mulching mowers can mulch them finely enough after a couple of passes to dispatch the leaves back into your lawn. If, after after a couple of passes, you’re still left with a ton of leaves, or you don’t have a mulching mower, your best option is to go old school and grab the rake and trash bags.
An artic cold front pushing into our area later tonight promises to bring much colder temperatures and the possibility of sleet to parts of North Texas. Fortunately for us in the Metroplex, the temperature should remain above freezing. While these temps may be uncomfortable to us humans (and our pets,) they should not be a problem for most plants.
What harms the majority of plants is extremely cold and DRY weather that is well below freezing. When temperatures are predicted to plummet, the best protection you can provide for your plants is to water your landscape. If the soil is wet, even if the temperatures plunge into the single digits (which, can happen in North Texas), the soil temperature won’t drop below 32 degrees which protects the roots of your plants.
While your plants will survive the cold if you’ve watered, we recommend covering your blooming plants, such as pansies, or your more sensitive plants. An old sheet or cloth towel is what we recommend to our customers. Never cover your plants with a plastic sheet or tarp. The plastic works like a magnifying glass, and will scald the plants underneath.