ON HOUSE STORAGE AND REPEAT USE OF POLYETHYLENE FILM FOR COVERING GROWING STRUCTURES
J. Peter Vermeulen
Our nursery is situated in the fertile Raritan River Valley in Somerset County, New Jersey. We are in USDA climate Zone 6a, but because of the low elevation and valley position, our microclimate is that of Zone 5a. Frost-free days range from 142 to 196, spring to fall. Our average mean temperature is 10°C (51.2°F) with a maximum of 36.5°C (98°F).
Poly-covered overwintering structures for our container-grown nursery stock, which consists of woody ornamentals ranging from Abies to Zelkova, are a costly requirement for the production of top quality stock.
Our structures are variations of the quonset (hoop) style houses quite common in the trade. Because of the consistency of our soil, a silt loam, we have problems with our houses moving up and down from the heaving effect of frost. Initially we had problems with wind entering the houses and drying the containerized stock inside. We solved this by using a double layer of poly stapled to a 2" × 4" wooden stringer running the length of
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