[NAFEX] Frost protection

William C. Garthright billg at inebraska.com
Tue Apr 3 11:56:15 EDT 2007

>     Every time I used a single sheet of anything for frost protection, I learned I wasted my time and the plant I tried to protect got fried by frost to the same degree as unprotected plants got frosted.  One sheet of anything, whether it be plastic or bed sheet or(?) is worthless.  TWO sheets, however, can trap an insulating layer of air between them affording some protection.
> ...
> ...
> Another option is to cover them with visqueen (plastic).  Visqueen is clear and will let light through while protecting the blooms from frost.

Well, they're still forecasting mid-20's here for the next five nights, 
so I bought some visqueen-type plastic and also some clear 55 gal. 
plastic bags (commercial bags for 55-gal drums). I thought I'd put TWO 
plastic bags (for the insulating layer of air) over the bushes and very 
small trees, and TWO sheets of clear plastic over the larger fruit 
trees, grapes, etc.  I hoped that would insulate them well enough, and I 
figured that, since the clear plastic would let light through, I could 
put them on today and take them off next Sunday.

However, I just talked to the master gardeners at my county extension 
service, and they tell me that plastic is the last thing I should use, 
because plants need to breathe. They said that this would do more damage 
to my plants than the freeze. Is that true?

I really can't remove all this every morning and install it again every 
night. Maybe I could take them off for a breather after a few days? Or I 
could loosen the plastic at the bottom every morning, to let some air in 
during the day. What do you think? I really need some advice here, 
because I'm all set to start working on this stuff. Do I need to worry 
about my fruit trees and bushes not getting enough air for 5-6 days?

Thanks much,

Lincoln, NE (Zone 5)

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to 
persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

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