What are row covers?
Row covers are lightweight,
non-woven, synthetic fabrics that are placed over
plant rows or individually potted plants (right)
in a greenhouse or garden. Row covers are one of
the best ways to protect plants from flying
insect pests like aphids,
beetles without using insecticides (see Related
Articles below). They can also be used to
extend the growing season or as temporary sun
shade in hot areas of the garden or greenhouse.
Row covers should be put in place early
in the season when young plants are especially
prone to leaf injury and removed after plants have
become well established. Row cover fabric can be
reused for several years if not damaged.
Row cover fabric comes in several
weights. Heavyweight material is best used to
extend the growing season while lighter weights
can be used for protection against insect damage
and shade. The thin, strong fabric allows light,
water and air to get in but excludes pests. Be
careful not to trap pests under covers. For plants
that need insect pollination be certain to
remove row covers before flowers develop.