Take steps to protect plants, pipes from overnight freeze

DENVER — It’s not uncommon to get a snowstorm in May in Colorado. May is, after all, the fourth snowiest month. But, it certainly presents problems. Wet and heavy snow, coupled with below-freezing temperatures could end up costing quite a bit. The good news is that it’s not too late, if you act fast.

In the blink of an eye, it went from spring sunshine back to winter-like weather.  “Went out this morning, took the dogs out and there were huge tree limbs all over the backyard,” said Loretta Spacek.

The snow snapped tree branches, pummeled plants and layered lawns. In typical Colorado fashion, by Monday afternoon, things began to thaw out. But, the threat isn’t over, especially for anyone who already tuned on their sprinkler system.

“Tonight is the night to worry about. It really didn’t get low enough last night to make a difference,” said Greg Palmer with Bell Plumbing & Heating in Aurora. Palmer says just flipping off the sprinkler system isn’t good enough. First, turn off the water to the system, then empty the back flow.

“You have to go outside and go to the back flow and open up the relief valves and there will also be a drain valve in the bottom to allow that water to come out,” Palmer explained.

Also, disconnect any outside hoses you may have hooked up and drain your evaporative cooler. But, don’t worry. Palmer says not all hope is lost if you don’t.  “It’s only when that line splits that you have the problem, and that happens about half the time.”

Also, Trela Phelps with City Floral in Denver says for flowers that made it through the storm, it’s not too late. “If the plant still looks like it’s viable and isn’t kind of mushy or looks like frozen lettuce or anything like that, then go ahead and wrap them, turn some upside down trash cans over them, boxes, things like that.”