Garden & Greenhouse


Winterizing Your Irrigation System

Posted November 17th, 2016 by Mike McGroarty in ,

step-1-suppliesAfter a long season of watering your plants, garden and yard, it is time to take apart  and winterize your irrigation system.

Step 1: Supplies

  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Bucket
  • Pliers
  • White Vinegar

Step 2: Disconnect and Empty Rain Barrels (If you use them.)step-2-rain-barrel

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.

Step 3: Disconnect and Drain Hoses

step-3-hoses-1Empty 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.

Step 4: Drip Lines and Sprayersstep-4-drip-lines-1

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.

Remstep-4-drip-lines-2ove 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.

Step 5: Spigot Carestep-5-spigot-care-1

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 and read his blog at

Want more information? Read these articles:

11 Essential Greenhouse Accessories

A Winter To Do List for the Yard and Garden

Drip Irrigation for Greenhouses

Drip Irrigation Hydroponics

Lawn & Garden Water Saving Tips

What Does Over-Watering Really Mean?

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