Weekend freeze watch: Protect your plants, pipes and pets - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Weekend freeze watch: Protect your plants, pipes and pets

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The valley is bracing for major cold snap that could bring some of the coldest weather we've seen in years.

Overnight, temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, and that means it's time to protect your plants.

Maybe it's because we live in the desert -- our plants and trees mean a little more to us here because we can't take them for granted. One bad freeze and forget it.

"I have two young citrus trees that I'm going to be covering, a lemon and a lime," says Paul Halvorson, Moon Valley customer.

Paul Halvorson works hard to keep his shrubs and greenery green, and it takes a little work when you know the cold weather's on its way.

"I also have a box garden that I'm going to try and cover a little bit and that has peppers, tomatoes, chives and lettuce," he says. "I lost a tree a year ago by not taking care of it."

"It makes me feel bad when you lose something like that," says Moon Valley customer Jim Robins.

Yes, you can use sheets and blankets, but there's always a better product -- solutions to spray on, coating the leaves to keep them protected -- but there's no one magic fix for frost.

"Each one of these things is only going to protect you about one to two degrees, so you want to do as much as possible that you can to protect your plant," says Dane Simonetti of Moon Valley Nurseries.

Dane Simonetti with Moon Valley Nurseries showed us a plant blanket to keep your plants cozy -- from ficus to palms and from citrus to sissoo and other leafy trees.

"The one thing that you want to remember with these is you want to keep that frost cloth down as much as possible to hold that heat in, so you want to drape them all the way down to the ground."

Fork over the money to prepare now and you might not pay when the frost hits later.

As for Cindie Hastreiter and her daughter Abigail, they went to a Phoenix Goodwill to buy up nearly all the blankets. They'll use them to cover their plants and shrubs.

"Almost almost every blanket. We stopped at the nursery first to buy the sheets, and they were closed, so we had to come to the Goodwill," says Hastreiter.

One night below freezing usually isn't all that bad, but it's the 2-4 day stretches that'll hurt your plants.

One secret if you don't care for sleep? Set your alarm for 2 a.m. and soak your plants in the middle of the night.

It's not just your plants, but your pipes and your pool as well. The bottom line is you don't want any pipes exposed to the elements to freeze.

If there are any exposed pipes outside the home, you'll want to keep a drip going to relieve pressure that freezing water will cause in pipes.

You may also want to put a blanket or foam over any pipes exposed to the elements.

When it comes to your pool, it's recommended you make sure filters are clean and run it overnight so those pipes won't freeze.

Also, pet owners should try to keep pets indoors, especially puppies and kittens. The Arizona Humane Society says their bodies are not developed enough to protect them from the cold.

The Humane Society suggests dressing pups in sweaters when they're taken on walks.

"Another thing too if your pet has to remain outside you want to make sure they have adequate shelter, that they... are out of the winds, the snow, the rain and that their bedding is dry at all times," says Bretta Nelson, Arizona Humane Society.

At the dog park at Steele Indian School Park, we found a pup wearing a sweater.

"We're always prepared. Hats, gloves, and jackets for everyone," says dog owner Shar Orona.

"Even the dogs -- they're not running around as much as they usually do. So they're even noticing it," says dog owner Dave Yeager.

The Humane Society also says to make sure your pets have enough food to eat to keep up their calories. The freeze watch goes until Tuesday morning.

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