After a long season of watering your plants, garden and yard, it is time to take apart and winterize your irrigation system.
Rain barrels are excellent for catching and holding rain water. But they need to be emptied at the end of the season so the water won’t freeze and crack the barrel. Clean and dry them thoroughly after disconnecting them.
Empty any water from the hose then roll it up and place it in storage.
Soaker hoses have porous material that will not crack or split and do not need to be removed.
Black plastic tubing for drip irrigation can be left out as long as you drain any standing water. Make sure to remove all the smaller drip lines and place them in storage.
Remove all sprayers, nozzles and mist heads and soak them in white vinegar overnight to remove mineral deposits. Use a small brush for the larger items then rinse and dry the items.
Underground water lines should be drained by blowing compressed air down the line. Timers need to be removed, drained and cleaned. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your model.
Remove any splitter valves and clean them. If you have an indoor shutoff valve, close this and open the spigot outside. This will prevent the pipe from freezing and rupturing inside your wall.
One more item that is often overlooked, but often used is your watering can. Plastic or metal, make sure it is drained and dried and stored indoors.
Mike McGroarty is a Garden & Greenhouse contributing editor, the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com and read his blog at Mikesbackyardnursery.com.