Ready for the cold: Tips for preparing your home, pets

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 - 1:37 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 - 6:16 pm

With severe cold weather predicted the next few days in the Sacramento region and beyond, it’s wise to prepare your home, garden and animals. Here are some suggestions:

Bring pets indoors.

Water plants lightly in late afternoon or early evening before the frost hits. Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil. This also raises the humidity level.

The plants most at risk are citrus, tropicals, succulents, tender perennials and new transplants.

Move potted plants to overnight shelter such as the garage or covered patio. Or move them close to a south-facing wall.

Cover sensitive plants at night with frost cloths, burlap or fabric sheets - not plastic. Allow a little room for air circulation under the cover, but coverings should reach the ground. Remove the coverings in the morning so plants can breathe.

String old-fashioned Christmas lights (C-7 or C-9 types) on the trunks and limbs of citrus or avocado trees or large plants. Bigger lights put out more heat than minis.

Cover tender transplants with “hot caps,” individual greenhouses made of waxed paper. Cut a 12-inch piece, form a cone and secure with tape. Place the cone over the transplant. Or use a plastic water bottle with the bottom cut out; discard the cap. Those protectors can stay in place until the frost danger has passed.

Mulch mounds can protect the fragile fruit on strawberries and young leaves on lettuce. Cover whole plants with dried leaves or straw, then carefully remove the mulch after frost danger has passed.

To keep pipes from freezing, let faucets drip. Or wrap pipes in foam protection or insulated tape.

Remove water from bird baths; otherwise, they may freeze and crack.

More weather news: Cold today, colder Thursday, cold again Saturday

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

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