Horticultural fleece

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Horticultural fleece is a thin, unwoven, polypropylene fabric that is used as a floating mulch to protect both early and late crops and other delicate plants from cold weather and frost, as well as insect pests during the normal growing season. It admits light, air and rain but creates a microclimate around the developing plants, allowing them to grow faster than unprotected crops.[1]

Method of use[edit]

Available in rolls of various widths, fleece is laid out across the sown seedbed or young growing plants.[2] The edges may be pegged down, or held with soil bags or other weights (if the site is small, or not too exposed to winds) or buried in slit trenches. It will stretch slightly in use, allowing the plants to grow.[2] For taller plants grown in rows or blocks, heavy-duty fleece can be used to create cloches. When used as winter protection the fleece is wrapped around, or fastened over, delicate plants, to protect them from frost and scorching by cold winds.

Uses[edit]

  • Extending the growing season for vegetables by allowing earlier sowings in spring and later cropping in autumn[1]
  • Hardening-off seedlings before transplanting them[1]
  • Protecting winter crops, allowing them to produce softer, more palatable growth than unprotected plants[1]
  • Providing extra warmth for crops of borderline hardiness[1]
  • Winter protection for ornamental plants and fruit blossom[3]
  • Protection from pests such as pigeons,[4] rabbits, carrot fly,[5] Small White and Large White butterflies etc.[2] flea beetles, cabbage loopers, and many other common garden pests.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e [1] British Royal Horticultural Society website page Using horticultural fleece on early crops (Archived)
  2. ^ a b c [2] wbnnorthhills, horticultural blog
  3. ^ Fruit: protecting from frost / Royal Horticultural Society British Royal Horticultural Society website page Protecting fruit from frost
  4. ^ Gardeners' Tips blog
  5. ^ Advice / Royal Horticultural Society British Royal Horticultural Society website page Carrot fly (Psila rosae)