Horticultural Fleece Uses – Learn How To Use Garden Fleece


By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Fleece in the garden is similar to the fleece we use for blankets and jackets: it keeps plants warm. Called both garden fleece and horticultural fleece, this plant blanket is lightweight and easy to use and can provide protection against cold and frost as well as other harmful weather conditions and pests.

What is Garden Fleece?

Horticultural or garden fleece is a sheet of material that can be used to cover plants. It is similar to plastic sheeting that is often used for similar purposes, but there are some significant differences. Limitations of plastic sheets include that they are heavy and difficult to manipulate and that they tend to overheat during the day and fail to insulate enough at night.

Using horticultural fleece as an alternative to plastic has become more popular with gardeners. It is a synthetic material, made from polyester or polypropylene, and is more like a fabric than plastic. It is similar to fleece clothing, but is thinner and lighter. Garden fleece is lightweight, soft, and warm.

How to Use Garden Fleece

Potential horticultural fleece uses include protecting plants from a frost, insulating plants against cold temperatures through winter, protecting plants from wind and hail, protecting soil, and keeping pests away from plants. Fleece can be used outdoors, with containers on patios and balconies, or even in greenhouses.

Using horticultural fleece is easy because it is very lightweight and you can cut it into any shape or size you need. Protecting plants from frost is one of the most common uses. For instance, you can use the fleece to cover plants in the early spring if you are expecting a late frost. You can also cover and protect your autumn crops, like tomatoes, when early frosts are possible.

In some climates, fleece can be used to cover sensitive plants for the entire winter, allowing them to survive until spring. If you live in a windy climate, harsh winds can hinder the growth of some plants. Cover them with fleece on the windiest days. You can also cover plants during harsh weather that could damage them, like hail.

When using horticultural fleece, just remember that it is extremely lightweight. This makes it easy to use, but it also means that you need to anchor it well. Use stakes or rocks to hold it down so your plants get adequate protection.

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Others may know better than me, but I'd say:

Fleece is works just like a blanket - it insulates by creating a layer of air around the plant - preferably more than one layer. And it has the advantage of letting a bit of air circulation still take place so the plant can breathe and moisture can get out. So I guess you could do plants individually or together depending on how cold it gets - maybe give them each some individual protection, then put one more extra layer over them all!

Bubblewrap is a great insulator but NOT for immediately wrapping plants - it is plastic so they can't breathe through it, it will trap moisture and they'll rot away. Great for insulating the panes of your greenhouse, though.

What I would say is to remember that most plants also want some light during winter, as well as being kept frost-free. So don't wrap them more than necessary - pretty much anything that keeps them warm will also tend to keep them dark.

Hope that helps, I'll be interested to see what others say!


Garden fleece using tips for gardeners

Fleece in the garden is similar to the fleece we use for blankets and jackets: it keeps plants warm. Called both garden fleece and horticultural fleece, this plant blanket is lightweight and easy to use and can provide protection against cold, frost as well as other harmful weather conditions and pests.

Garden fleece is a sheet of material that can be used to cover plants. It is similar to plastic sheeting which is often used for similar purposes, but there are some significant differences. Plastic sheets are heavy and difficult to manipulate, they tend to overheat during the day while fail to insulate enough at night.

Using horticultural fleece as an alternative has become more popular with gardeners. It is a synthetic material, made from polyester or polypropylene, and is more like a fabric than plastic. It is similar to fleece clothing, but is thinner and lighter. Garden fleece is lightweight, soft, and warm.

Potential horticulture fleece usages include protecting plants from frost, insulating plants against cold temperatures through winter, protecting plants from wind and hail, protecting soil, and keeping pests away from plants. Fleece can be used outdoors, with containers on patios and balconies, or even in greenhouses.
Using horticulture fleece is easy because it is very lightweight and you can cut it into any shape or size you need. Protecting plants from frost is one of the most common uses. For instance, you can use the fleece to cover plants in the early spring if you are expecting a late frost. You can also cover and protect your autumn crops, like tomatoes, when early frosts are possible. In some climates, fleece can be used to cover sensitive plants for the entire winter, allowing them to survive until spring. If you live in a windy climate, harsh winds can hinder the growth of some plants. Cover them with fleece on the windiest days. You can also cover plants during harsh weather that could damage them, like hail. When using horticultural fleece, just remember that it is extremely lightweight. This makes it easy to use, but it also means that you need to anchor it well. Use plastic peg or metal anchor pin.


Horticultural fleece

Horticultural fleece is a thin, nonwoven, polypropylene fabric which is used as a floating mulch to protect both late and early crops and 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 the unprotected crops. [1]

Available in rolls of various widths, the fleece is laid across sown seedbeds or on the top of juvenile plants. [2] If fleece covers rows it is known as a kind of row cover. The edges may be secured with pegs, 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, which allows the plants to grow. [2] For taller plants grown in rows or blocks, heavy-duty fleece can be used to fashion a form of "cloche", i.e. a small tent structure. When used as a protection against wind the fleece is wrapped around, or covered over the delicate plants to protect them from frost and cold wind.

  • 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.
  1. ^ abcde[1] British Royal Horticultural Society website page Using horticultural fleece on early crops (Archived)
  2. ^ abc[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)

This horticulture article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Fleece: worth its weight in gold

Ursula Buchan sings the praises of this marvellous stuff

Ever year, I look out my old horticultural fleece to help warm up the soil in the vegetable garden – and every year I decide I should really buy some more. Like stockings straight from the drawer, fleece has a way of looking tatty and forlorn, however tidily it was put away in the shed. Of course, there are people who can keep it serviceable for several years but they are not clumsy like me, nor do they have an exposed garden. I don’t mind splashing out regularly to buy more, however, since fleece is cheap and it’s absolutely marvellous stuff.

Horticultural fleece, in case you're wondering, is a soft, white, non-woven, UV stabilised polypropylene material, permeable to air and water, which can be cut to length and held down with pegs, soil or bricks. Amateur gardeners have been able to buy it for about 15 years, and they're ingenious about finding different uses for it. I much prefer it to more obviously plasticky "floating mulches" for warming seed beds before sowing, as well as for protecting drills of brassica seedlings from flea beetle and cabbage rootfly and carrots from carrot fly.

Early in the season fleece can raise soil temperature by 2C or even 3C, which makes a big difference since most seeds will not germinate until it is at least 6C. The stuff is yielding, so can be left in situ until harvest, at least in the case of lettuces and other low growers, although I do take it off in hot sunny weather. It can go back on later in the season to protect the lettuces from one or two degrees of frost and to help stop the leaves hardening in the winter chill and wind.

The most common grade of fleece is 17 grams in thickness. It is also available with bonded edges to prevent tearing – Agralan Envirofleece Plus (01285 860015 www.agralan.co.uk). If you grow your vegetables in 4ft (1.2m) wide raised beds, you will need fleece of 1.5m or 1.6m width, although there are broader versions too. The heavier-weight 30g fleece is a better bet for protecting tender plants it's the obvious choice for wrapping round the susceptible foliage of exotic plants outside in early winter. Use it to insulate the greenhouse, to protect strawberries against late frosts and to fend off gooseberry sawfly in May. If you don't want to pay the extra, just fold over ordinary fleece to double thickness.

It is hard to imagine a more versatile garden product than one that protects against slight frost, as well as pest and bird damage, without being an eyesore, and which is light and easy to handle. Fleece does, however, have one drawback which I must warn you. Being so light, it can fly away in strong wind even if you peg it down – as I discovered when a great swathe became attached to a prickly rose on the front of our house, having been blown from the garden of a keen vegetable grower down the street.


Watch the video: Skirting and sorting fleece prior to washing: part 1 Rambouillet and Lincoln


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