As you probably know by now, Arizona’s monsoon season is here.
It officially started on Wednesday and does not end until Sept. 30. Almost anything can happen during that time — big rainfall and floods, swirling dust storms, heavy winds, lightning strikes – or maybe no serious weather at all.
You may have already prepared your house for the possibilities, but what about your backyard?
Here are suggestions for getting ready outdoors for Arizona’s rainy season:
1 – Outdoor furniture: It’s always best to buy weather-resistant cushions for outdoor sofas and chairs. Sunbrella and similar weather-resistant fabric brands can stand up to both sun and rain.
If you have a warning of a big storm on its way to your area, move cushions under a patio roof or use furniture covers that can handle water and wind.
2 – Pressure washers: A pressure power washer can be handy – especially following a dust storm – to clean walls, furniture, patios and your barbecue area. Use the lowest setting so that you don’t damage equipment during cleaning.
Rinsing off the outdoor condenser for your air conditioner is a good idea after a dust storm.
3 – Sun shades and umbrellas: Makers of shade sails say their devices can stand up to the wind and rain as long as they are very secure and/or professionally installed. Some sails are not attached to houses and instead are secured to freestanding poles. The perimeter of the sail is generally made from very strong webbed material.
Shade umbrellas should be folded up and placed in a sheltered area like a covered patio.
4 – Care for trees: Buy good quality plant stock and use native or desert-adapted trees when possible, and you’ll have fewer storm problems.
If you have heavy foliage in trees, strong winds can be a threat, so you may want to prune them, but very carefully. Don’t remove more than 25 percent of the foliage in any one growing season. Don’t just thin interior foliage. Concentrate some pruning in the outer third of the tree to reduce excessive end weight on branches.
Trees should be watered deeply in summer, but if rain is in the forecast, shut off the irrigation to prevent uprooting of waterlogged trees.
Cabling, bracing, guying and prop systems can also be installed to give mechanical support to some trees. For help with any of these services, call a certified arborist in your area.
5 – Swimming pools: Store any equipment and furniture away from the pool so it won’t be blown into water. You may want to cover the pool to keep dust and debris from blowing into the water, but that can be impractical.
After the storm blows through, skim off any larger branches and plant debris, and keep your filter going for a while to catch dirt and other finer materials. Clean out the filter basket regularly in the next couple of days. Test the chemicals in the pool to make sure that it stays sanitary. You may have to add more chemicals.
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