All Season Weather Protection for Your Plants
Dr. Mark G. Konrad
Young plants are often in need of special and nurturing care for any number of reasons. The most common ones are the management of heat, cold, light and moisture. Many of the vulnerabilities are related to the superficial location of the roots.
Through trial and error, I have come to use 2' x 2' burlap squares draped over small hand fashioned fencing frames measuring approximately 3" x 15" x 16-18". When slightly arched the height is about 5".
By using this method I have found an environmentally improved status for all seasons. The plants luxuriate under the burlap enclosure, which is attributed to the reduced amount of direct sunlight and better control of the moisture both at the root level and above.
There are unexpected maintenance advantages with less watering needed and some control of weeds where the burlap overlaps the soil. Watering is conveniently done through the burlap, but a small pinch of powdered sulfur is added to the container to control any chewing creatures. One great benefit is the exclusion of chipmunks and larger animals. If moles are a problem some type of wire barrier should be used beneath the plants.
The burlap functions well for all seasons. Excessive heat during the summer has not been a problem and winter time protection is excellent. Temperature moderation is an asset on frosty spring days. Partially shaded areas are used. The burlap is removed for a short time toward the end of summer to allow the plants to harden off.
In summary, a simple but effective method has been described to protect young plants for all seasons. The advantages that help reduce maintenance have been listed.
Dr. Konrad, a member of the Great Lakes Chapter, is a frequent contributor to the Journal.