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, thrips and
leaf-feeding 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 beome well established. Row cover
fabric can be reused for several years if not
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.