Floating Row Covers for Winter Protection

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In periods of exceptionally cold temperatures, as we’re experiencing this first week of January 2018, it’s important to have floating row covers available for your cool-season vegetable garden. Yield will be improved for crops that don’t necessarily require the covers to survive, such as collards and kale. For other leafy greens, such as the various lettuces, floating row cover protection could be the difference between harvest or no harvest.
Floating row covers should be fairly easy to find at local garden centers. If not, try online sources. These materials can also be used to protect marginally hardy ornamental plants such as sago palm (Cycas revoluta).
Don’t attempt to protect your garden or landscape plants by spraying water on them. Frost/freeze protection through irrigation is a common practice in commercial fruit production, but it’s a very finely calibrated process that you won’t be able to replicate at home. You’re far more likely to cause significant freeze injury to your plants. Branch and twig breakage as a result of ice accumulation will be an additional risk on small trees and shrubs.

When temperatures drop into the teens, lettuce has a fighting chance if protected by a floating row cover.

Written By

Photo of Thomas Glasgow, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionThomas GlasgowCounty Extension Director (252) 633-1477 (Office) tom_glasgow@ncsu.eduCraven County, North Carolina
Posted on Jan 3, 2018
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