Horticultural fleece is a very lightweight material, which would trap the heat inside however it will allow the water and light to pass. It safeguards fragile little plants from varying degrees of frost. It can be placed on the plants and removed very conveniently and if stored properly it can survive for three to four years. Generally, it can enhance the growing season up to two to three months at the start and the end of the season.
Categories of Horticultural Fleece
The key difference between different types of horticultural fleeces is the weight of the fabric. In England, the two most common weights available for frost protections come in 17 grams per square meter and 30 grams per square meter, which reflects upon high lightweight. The Heavier the fabric is, the more frost protection it provides. Generally speaking, a variant that comes in 17g will protect plants up to -2°C and a 30g variant gives protection up to -5°C. However, these numbers cannot be guaranteed since there are a number of other factors including wind speed that can affect it. One can easily fold over two 17g of fleece, which will essentially provide a 34g net weight thus giving frost of protection of a 34g fleece. Other than the weight that is increased, the disadvantage of having a heavier fleece is that heavier the fleece, the lesser the lights that pass through it.
This fleece is not only used for frost protection, even when there is no danger of frost, a light increase in the temperature around the plant enhances their growth. Another utility of the fleece is that it protects the plants as an insect barrier as well as small pest attacks at several growth stages. For only pest control, even the lighter weight fleeces are available. Mesh size for a horticultural fleece is 2mm and which is small enough to block most insects from getting to your plants. Though the fleece is not that strong but these light weight fleece sufficiently safeguards plants from being attacked by birds. If you’re interested in any of these horticultural fleeces, you can find it in HORTOMALLAS.
How to Use Horticultural Fleece
One of the advantages of using these fleeces is that it can be directly placed on top of the plants and they can still grow out from underneath the fleece. This is the case for the fleece, which is up to 20g to 30g and which is used for over a week. However, where it is required to cover the plants for a longer period of time it is advised to provide support to the fleece.
The example of the support structure for fleece in the above picture looks like a perfectionist has made it. It looks great and seems like it will last for some good number of years. Practically any type and a number of fixtures can be used to support the fleece depending on how long it is required to be used. A very common way of supporting the fleece is using a plastic tube structure, used for plumbing, which is very cheap, lasts longer, and delivers excellent results.
Because of such lightweight, fleece needs to be carefully secured down since it can be blown away with the lightest of the winds. A very cheap way of securing the fleece is by digging a small ditch around the plant and by placing the fleece in the ditch and by covering it back with the soil. However, the issue with this arrangement is that it makes it difficult for the removal of the fleece.
Why the use of row Covers and Fleece
These materials give some sort of small amount of protection from windy or cold weather and effective in driving away pests. They are originally transparent, light, then polyethylene sheets, which were previously used, however, because of issues with lack of insulation and overheating at night, they have been replaced by a non-woven polypropylene. This technically is called spun bonded. Fleeces are extremely soft, light, and white in color. One of the primary reasons behind its usage is because of the porosity it has. It is less prone to wet conditions and over-heating when compared to polyethene covers. The disadvantages of using them is that they encourage diseases and pests, encourage weeds, sustainability, and pollination problems.