Protect the Plants from Harsh Weather and More with Frost Fabric
Frost fabric meets all the criteria for protecting plants by being a light, durable material which allow the warmth from the sun and the rain to penetrate to the plant but not the debilitating frost. These fabrics must be lightweight so as not to damage or crush the plant, but sturdy enough to deter birds and other pests. The fabric should also be dense enough that it retains the warmth within but porous enough that air can circulate, and water can penetrate easily. Ultraviolet light must also be able to pass through the fabric efficiently.
The use of frost fabric can mean the difference between life and death for the plants in a garden at wintertime. When the days start to cool down in the mornings and evenings, it is the time to think about protecting your plants from freezing. Freezing will burn the leaves and foliage of the plant, causing browning on the edges, eventual wilting and dropping off of the foliage.
Frost fabric can be used directly on the soil around seedlings as well as covering them with the fabric to get a head start on the growing season. Use the blanket style fabric to extend the growing season a little longer as the days start to get cooler.
Different Styles and Uses of Frost Fabric Protection
This natural fabric is available in blanket design for single plants or in continuous lengths of various widths to cover rows of plants. Modern fabrics are made from natural, non-toxic material derived from pine resin.
Well manufactured fabric covers will not let the cold outside temperatures transfer to the foliage of the plant even when in contact with the plant, covers made from other materials can increase the damage done by freezing temperatures. These frost fabrics can also be left on the plants for extended periods as they are light and will allow warmth from sunlight and moisture through while maintaining a protective environment for the plant.
The fabric is breathable and will not cook your plants if the temperatures warm up during the day. Be mindful that if temperatures rise above 40C underneath the blanket during the day, you should remove the fabric for a few hours and then replace it as the day gets cooler.
Frost fabric will last for many years. It is durable and even washable. You can use it as a permanent cover over a small garden bed similar to a having a shade cloth enclosure or greenhouse type setup. The plants will not be damaged as they push up against the cloth, you can overcome this by ensuring that when you install the fabric, you have enough at the edges to allow for growth as the plants grow.
Added Benefits of Using Frost Material for Protection
Frost fabric has many benefits aside from protecting your plants from frost. It can be used in place of traditional poultry netting. In the past, the use of specialized poultry netting for pigeon control was the only solution. Not only does frost fabric keep the birds away from your plants like pigeon netting, but it also inhibits insect pests from destroying your plants. The use of frost fabric on plants can also deter ground dwelling pests such as rabbits eating the plants.
Plants will be healthier and typically grow faster if not being eaten by pests. The use of insecticides is reduced to almost zero, and this will reduce your costs and allow you to grow your produce naturally as a healthier option. The plants will produce better crops sooner if they are not battling adverse conditions.
Frost fabric has the added benefit of giving protection from wind burn and sun scalding to delicate plants that would normally have to be grown in a protected environment such as a greenhouse. Using the fabric also conserves water as the plants will create a micro-climate underneath the covering requiring less watering.
Installation and Uses
To protect larger trees, a frost cloth blanket can be used. This blanket is draped over the tree down to ground level encompassing the entire tree ground circumference to create a micro-climate by using the heat from the sun that is captured in the soil underneath so that at night when it radiates upwards it is contained beneath the fabric. It is then pegged down securely to prevent it from blowing away in the wind. It is important that the blanket hang straight down from the tree and not be tied to the trunk.
If the plants are small and low growing, it is best to use the row covering form of frost clothing. In mild frosty climates the fabric can be draped over the plants and pinned down on the edges after watering and before sunset or the cold air settles. You can use optional hoops that are spaced evenly apart to help in supporting the fabric if the plants that you want to protect are fragile.
Placing frost cloth directly on the soil and cutting a slit through which the seedling can extrude is beneficial in controlling soil temperature and stopping the possible freezing of the root system. By doing this in addition to placing frost fabric over the top of the plant means that you can plant the crop earlier than usual therefore guaranteeing that the seedlings will be given a head start and be stronger and healthier when the weather warms up.
All in all, frost fabric is a product for your plants that will stop the ravages of adverse weather conditions and is also an important deterrent for insect, bird, and animal pests that you can use to protect your fruit, vegetable or flower crops. It is a lightweight, natural material that will not harm your plants or soil as it is made from pine resin. It will extend your growing season by reducing the risks of colder weather to plants.