With the arrival of the cold we have to take protective measures if we grow tropical plants if we live in areas where the temperature drops too low. One of those things we can do is shelter for them using greenhouse plastic.
This is a material that, although it is very similar to that used to make bags and containers, is actually much more resistant. What’s more, when you touch it you instantly notice that it is somewhat thicker and harder. We know that your role is to protect, but what are their characteristics?
What types of greenhouse plastics are there?
I know: they all look the same! But when we start to investigate we find out that there are different types:
- Polyethylene (PE): it is the most common, since it is the cheapest. Depending on the conditions of temperature, pressure and / or catalyst, we can have:
- LDPE: low density. It is the one used for greenhouse covers.
- PELBD: it is also low density, but somewhat higher than the previous one. It is used for padding and small tunnels.
- HDPE: it is of high density. It is used above all in irrigation and drainage.
- Ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA): it is more resistant than PVC. It is used in thermal screens, roofs and in the protection of low tunnels.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): it is a very hard plastic, but it is affected by dust and cold.
- Polycarbonate (PC): used in greenhouse enclosures.
What is the best greenhouse plastic?
It depends a lot on where you want to use it. For example, if what you need is a plastic to make a small, homemade greenhouse, and you want it to last a few seasons, I recommend choosing HDPE or even EVA; But if you are going to make a bigger one, the PC will be great for the enclosures (side and front) and the LDPE for the covers.
How to choose the right greenhouse plastic?
As we have seen, there are different types and it is easy to choose one that later does not convince us. To prevent this from happening, we must take into account the following:
- Duration: it is important that they have received treatment against ultraviolet (UV) rays, otherwise they will not last more than one season (and maybe less if we are in the Mediterranean or in another area where there is strong sunshine).
- Light diffusion: it is essential that they let light through so that the plants can continue to carry out photosynthesis and, therefore, remain alive.
- Thermicity: this allows the temperature inside the greenhouse to be slightly higher than outside.
- Anti-condensation property: the drops of water that condense on the inside, join and form a layer that slides through the plastic towards the ground, without falling on the plants.
- Diffuse light transmission: whitish plastics diffuse light in, thus preventing plants from burning.
They are especially interesting in areas with high insolation.
- Sulfur resistance: Sulfur is a very effective fungicide to prevent the appearance of fungi, but it can damage greenhouse plastic if it has not received the proper treatment. Therefore, if we are going to treat the plants with this product, we have to choose a resistant plastic.
What is the price and where to buy?
Again, it depends . But to give you an idea, the price per meter is usually between 0,50 and 2 euros. You can buy them in nurseries, stores and garden centers, and also here!.
I hope it has been useful to you.