Specialty Fabrics Review April 2024 - 31

textiles are constructed with woven
polypropylene tape yarns with a UV
additive and come in carbon black
or HALS (hindered amine light
stabilizers) in white. They will block
weeds, which reduces or eliminates
the need for weed killers, and black
ground covers can also warm the soil
through transferring the sun's heat,
which improves planting conditions.
" Increasing the soil temperature
by a degree or more can make it more
hospitable for planting, " Paul explains.
" This is also part of an integrated
pest management program [IPMP].
If fruit drops, farmers can easily clear
the ground cover to prevent animals
or insects from being attracted to
decomposing fruit. "
Depending on their permeability,
ground covers can also reduce
watering requirements, for example by
allowing rainwater to flow through the
fabric. Paul says there's also no need to
remove permeable covers during rain.
Permeable ground covers can eliminate
the need to run water lines under the
fabric since the water from sprinklers
will reach the plants. Most important,
ground covers allow users to better
manage volatile weather conditions,
such as heavy rains, flooding, sudden
cold fronts and high temperatures.
For example, white ground covers can
reflect some of the sun's light and heat
away from the plant's roots.
The insect netting combines knitted
HDPE with a HALS UV additive. Its
purposes are keeping insects, birds and
other pests away from crops, playing an
integral role in a comprehensive IPMP.
Insect netting also offers protection
from hail and high temperatures and
prevents the transmission of diseases
being spread from pests and birds to
the plants, says Paul.
Although insect netting is available
in different pore sizes, Paul says
customers are looking for smaller
and smaller pore sizes to keep bugs
from flying through the netting. As
such, sales for 50 mesh ( " 50 yarns in
1 square inch of fabric in the warp
direction, " she explains) are climbing.
But there are some downsides that
come with smaller pores, such as
reduced airflow under the netting,
which can create a less welcoming
environment for bees, farmers and
crops and also cause mildew growth
on the plants.
As for ground covers, while sales
of wovens are holding, demand is
swinging to nonwoven fabrics-a
variant of the product. These cost less
and take up less space, but they don't
last nearly as long, sometimes only one
season, Paul says. Sales of white covers
are also growing as people learn more
about their benefits, which includes
reducing the need for electric fans or
other ventilation in greenhouses.
Paul says multiple studies are
being conducted by universities
and manufacturers as to how
different colored textiles might repel
insects, potentially reducing the
use of pesticides. Research on light
transmission and diffusion through
fabrics and the ways this affects crops
is also underway.
Pamela Mills-Senn is a Seal Beach, Calif.-based
freelance writer.
SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 31
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" This is part of an integrated pest management
program [IPMP]. If fruit drops, farmers can easily
clear the ground cover to prevent animals or
insects from being attracted to decomposing fruit. "
Shawn Paul
ACADIAN INDUSTRIAL TEXTILES
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Specialty Fabrics Review April 2024

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