The fabric that covers your produce and protects from frost and insects goes by many names. You may have heard it called row-cover, frost protection, Gro-Guard, Remay, Typar, or Agribon. While they all serve the same purpose there are differences in quality and effectiveness. The properties which set them apart are material and durability.
Polyester vs. Polypropylene
Remay is not as widely used in row covers anymore. Remay is made from polyester instead of polypropylene as their parent material. The disadvantages of polyester are its susceptibility to mildew, significantly higher in cost, and it absorbs water. Mildew and absorption can be overcome by adding chemicals, but that inflates the price of an already expensive fabric. The place where polyester shines is in its inherent ability to resist ultra-violet rays and fabric strength. However, polyester is also more abrasive. How does polypropylene compare?
Gro-Guard and Agribon are now industry standards. These products use polypropylene instead of polyester as their parent material. The advantages of polypropylene are its mildew resistance, affordability, and it repels water. Manufacturing processes can enhance the strength of polypropylene. These processes also set Gro-Guard apart from Agribon. The durability comparison below will help you in making a better-educated decision.
The four components of durability when it comes to floating row-cover are flexibility, synergy, seams, and ultra-violet protection.
Flexibility. Stretch is closely related to the strength of a fabric. The more rigid a fabric like Agribon, the more likely it is to tear. The more stretch fabric has like Gro-Guard, the less likely it is to rip. Agribon is a straight grade fabric. This is part of what makes it inflexible and rough. Gro-Guard uses an exclusive manufacturing process on all weights of fabric that make it stronger. Flexibility is much more important when the fabric is 1.2 ounces per square yard or less.
Synergy. A second factor that contributes to the durability of a fabric is its synergy. Synergy is created when layers are added. Straight grade fabric is not layered. All Agribon fabrics are a straight grade. The .5 ounce and .6 ounce Gro-Guard fabrics are straight grades too, but they are still more durable than its competitor due to the stretch discussed earlier. Otherwise, Gro-Guard 1.0 ounces per square yard and higher in weight are sonically bonded layers that increase its synergy.
Seam. Another place that row-cover durability is tested is the seam. When row covers are sewn together at the seam, this creates holes where the thread passes through. This, in turn, weakens the structural integrity. Gro-Guard uses an adhesive that bonds the two pieces of material together and is extremely secure.
Ultra-violet protection. Finally, ultra-violet protection is what can determine the durability of a fabric. Ultra-violet rays are violent to many materials and can degrade their structural integrity. Gro-Guard is the industry leader in this area and has the highest level of ultra-violet protection.
Moss, H. (2019, September 21). Difference between polyester and polypropylene. Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.difference.wiki/polyester-vs-polypropylene/.