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Burlap Protects Plants from Spring’s Last Minute Cold Snaps

blog4-1Everyone knows that plants die if temperatures are too chilly for them to endure. Spring can bounce back and forth with bouts of cold, windy, or rainy weather before getting to the more consistent weather of summer. This time of year, it is hard to decide what clothes to wear as we head out the door to work and temperamental plants, as well as the toughest, have a similar problem.

An early spring burst of bitter cold can kill young plants with stems that haven’t hardened yet. Once they do, those same plants can manage the cold much better, but you need to protect them until they mature. The cells of some plants, especially trees and shrubs, are more vulnerable to the cold in their youth or shortly after transplanting. Reaching a hardy level of maturity can take a year or two.

Warm spells can be just as dangerous since unexpected high temperatures can evaporate the last reserves of moisture needed to get through the winter season. Plants like evergreens with roots that are still in the frozen ground are unable to draw moisture from the soil. Also, when the earth is subject to freezing and thawing in early spring, it can easily shift plants and expose the root systems.

Burlap Protection

blog4-2Preparing a marginally hardy or recently planted perennial, tree or shrub with a 2- to 4-inch blanket of protection will help moderate temperature changes and offer a barrier from the wind and sun. Natural and environmentally friendly choices include burlap bags and tarps, mulched leaves, or a heavy-duty paper bag.

Combining these tools can help create the protection you need while still maintaining a yard that looks aesthetically pleasing until the shelters are removed. It may be necessary to use them for a year or two until a newly planted tree or shrub is well-established. Plantings that need long-term attention can be placed discretely in the backyard and moved in place later or planted in less prominent areas.

Burlap is the most versatile and breathable shelter available for shrubs or small trees. Take a length of material long enough to wrap around the plant a couple of times, drape it on one side of the plant and begin wrapping it loosely, carefully positioning the branches. Larger plants require taking the material up or down the plant with each new layer. Twine looped around the burlap holds it in place.

Additionally, burlap fabric can be used to create a barrier by stapling it to a few tomato stakes surrounding the plant and allowing more air space and support. The walls need to be about 6 inches higher than the plant.

Whether using it to create a simple windbreak or sunscreen for protection, a coarse burlap provides individual cover or can shield an entire row of seedlings. Spring is full of surprises, but you can prepare your plants with a simple and inexpensive burlap bag.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at 1:04 pm and is filed under Burlap, gardening, Go Green.

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