Tree Snuggie
December 7, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

What material should I use to make my tree a blanket?

So, it was freezing here in central TX last night, and I had to protect my poor lemon tree from the cold. Actually, it's more of a lemon shrub now, since last year, I did a pretty poor job of shielding it from the frozen temps, and the top branches died off. Last night's shielding worked very well, though -- I used a garbage bag to cover the entire tree (which was also covered in Christmas lights). When I took off the bag this morning it was nice and steamy inside, yay!

But, the problem is that the trash bag is a little tight and it took me far too long to get it on the tree. (Exposing me to far too much cold late at night). I want to sew my tree a covering that is easy to slip on, and is windproof (it's the wind that really did it in last year). I am pretty ok with the sewing machine, should I use two fabrics sewn together? One that is warm and one that is windproof? I assume the warmer one should be on the inside, with the windproof on the outside. What materials should I ask for when I go to the fabric store? Or should I get some kind of tarp from somewhere else?

Any suggestions on shape? I figure the rectangular garbage-bag shape would be easiest to sew, but maybe a cylinder would be better?

ps I know this is pretty ridiculous, but I love being snuggly and it makes me happy that I could do the same for my little tree :)
posted by theRussian to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
I think most people would just wrap some agricultural fleece around it and tie it with string in a few places.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2011

Blankets + a bucket of water?
posted by misterbrandt at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2011

My mother (east Texas) uses old sheets. Any dew or precipitation tends to stay on top and freeze for insulation. You don't really want something extra-absorbent touching the foliage.

My next door neighbors, who farm in their back yard, use heavy clear plastic.

You could also use frost cloth, which is made for the job and you should be able to get it at any garden center right now.

My problem in Texas was when it rained hard, sleeted, then froze and my covering would be so heavy it would damage leaves/branches. You might want to aim for an easy-up lean-to or tent (to take advantage of radiant ground and/or wall heat) rather than something "snuggly".
posted by Lyn Never at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Woohoo! Thanks le morte, the search for agricultural fleece led me to landscape fabric (as it's called here in the States, apparently) and that led me to 'frost fabric' -- which looks to be just what I need! I even found a pre-made bag that they sell in the States (initially I saw them only being sold on UK sites).

I tried just tying on blankets/plastic wrap last year, but the wind just blew it off, which is why I wanted something bag like that I could drawstring around the base of the tree.
posted by theRussian at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Dang, should have previewed! Thanks, Lyn, for the tip about freezing rain, I will be sure to keep that in mind when that is in the forecast and add extra supports for the cloth.
posted by theRussian at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2011

perhaps you could go grab a $20-$30 generic all weather car cover at a local big box store? that would seem to be really quick, easy, and should have grommets so you can tie it to the trunk, or keep it from blowing away by tying water filled milk jugs to it.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2011

You could sew up a bag of Tyvek lined with agricultural fleece, if the DuPont cover turns out to be a bust.
posted by Virtblue at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2011

Anecdata, but my fruiting-tree-owning friends in Tucson just grabbed two sets of fitted bedsheets at a discount store to cover each tree. These other suggestions are probably better.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2011

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