The first cold snap is here, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wants to remind you to protect your pets, plants and pipes from low temperatures.
Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing through the weekend and into early next week in the Panhandle and South Plains. North Texas and parts of West Texas also will experience temperatures this weekend that pet owners should be mindful of and prepare for.
AgriLife Extension offers many tips online to prepare for the cold front.
Protect your pets
Pet owners in northern parts of the state should make preparations to protect their animals from cold temperatures.
It’s important to remember pets like cats and dogs, even if they are acclimated to the outdoors, need access to shelter to protect them from cool temperatures and winds, and an unfrozen water source. Outdoor pets may also need additional caloric intake to help them maintain their body heat.
Shelters should be insulated, include clean, dry blankets or straw for bedding, and protect from north winds.
AgriLife Extension answers the question, “How cold is too cold?” when it comes to pets and gives more recommendations on protecting them from winter weather online.
Protect your plants
Frosts and freeze can damage or kill exposed plants, especially container plants.
AgriLife Extension also has a comprehensive take on protecting landscape plants and horticultural crops from frost and freezes on their website.
Plants in containers are more susceptible to freezing temperatures because they lack the insulation the earth naturally provides.
Move container plants inside the home or garage, or to any area where temperatures will stay above freezing. If they can’t be moved indoors, put them on the south side of the house, water them well and pile on mulch, leaves and hay to protect the roots and/or cover them with a frost blanket.
When it comes to freeze damage to homes, protecting exposed pipes is critical when temperatures dip below freezing. AgriLife Extension also provides tips for preventing and thawing frozen pipes during severe weather.
Water pipes can freeze and burst when the outside temperature reaches 20 degrees or below. Pipes exposed to severe cold, including outdoor faucets, water sprinklers, water pipes in basements, crawl spaces, attics or garages, or pipes that run along exterior walls and swimming pool supply lines are at most risk.
Outdoor water systems should be drained and covered or allowed to drip slowly to help protect from damage.
Products made to insulate water pipes like a sleeve or heat tape should be applied to exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Newspaper can also provide some protection to exposed pipes, as long as exposure is not prolonged.