- Best Frost Blankets for Covering Plants & Trees During Winter
- Best Frost Blankets for Plants
- Best Frost Blankets for Trees
- What is a Frost Blanket for Plants?
- What Temperature do You Need to Cover Plants?
- When Can I Uncover My Plants After a Frost?
- Can I Use Bubble Wrap to Protect Plants from Frost?
- Can Frost Damaged Plants be Saved?
- Winter Tree Care
- Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening
- Why Cover Trees and Shrubs in Winter?
- Keep Plants Warmer:
- Reduces Moisture Loss:
- Keeps Deer Away:
- Protects From Ice Damage:
- Salt Damage:
- Looks Good:
- Protect From Sun
- Issues With Plant Covers
- Moisture Issues:
- Rodent Problems:
- Sun Scald:
- Should You Cover or Not?
- Burlap: Practical and Decorative Uses Outdoors
- Functional Uses
- Decorative Uses
- Question on using burlap
Best Frost Blankets for Covering Plants & Trees During Winter
Is your area expecting colder-than-usual temperatures? Make sure you plan ahead and provide the appropriate protection for your outdoor garden plants by using frost blankets to shield them against the bitter cold.
Best Frost Blankets for Plants
Frost blankets are vital for outdoor gardeners who live in areas where temperatures can dip below 32°F. This is the point when ice crystals can start to form on outdoor plants and trees. Here are some frost blankets we recommend for gardeners who are preparing for the winter season.
DeWitt Plant Frost Protection
The DeWitt Plant Frost Cloth comes in four different options: 1.5 oz, 2-pack, 3-pack, and 4-pack. It is a suitable option for gardeners who are looking to provide frost protection for annual flowers and bedding plants. Each cloth has a size dimension of 6-feet by 50-feet, which is ample enough to cover small to medium-sized garden beds.
Easy Gardener Plant Protection Blanket
The Easy Gardener blanket provides up to eight degrees of frost protection and in addition to garden beds can also provide decent frost protection for small shrubs and bushes. Each blanket measure 10 feet by 12 feet. You also have the benefit of re-using this blanket season after season (as long as you maintain it under good conditions).
Best Frost Blankets for Trees
Frost blankets for trees require different specifications due to the height of the trees. These blankets and covers work best for young trees that aren’t strong enough to handle the bitter frost of winter. Make sure you get the dimensions right before you order a tree frost blanket.
Remiawy Shrub Jacket
The Remiawy Shrub Jacket can cover young trees and shrubs up to a size of 75″ (height) by 85″ (width). The zipper and drawstring system allow you to easily secure the cover over the tree. This reduces any worry of the cover being flown away by the winter wind.
Tierra Garden Fleece Jacket
The Tierra Garden Fleece Jacket is designed to provide quick frost protection, while still allowing plants and trees to “breathe” in order to maintain healthy growth. Many plants can die underneath frost blankets if the blanket doesn’t allow some air and moisture to filter through.
What is a Frost Blanket for Plants?
Frost blankets are pieces of fabrics (typically made of polypropylene material) that are designed to create an insulating heat pocket underneath the cover. The heat typically comes from the soil. The material used for frost blankets are also designed to allow sunlight and water through.
Frost blankets are one of several ways for outdoor gardeners to winterize their garden bed. They offer an alternative to plastic covers, which come with their own pros and cons. Plastic is a lot more lightweight and easier-to-use, but it doesn’t offer much insulation for the leaves that are in direct contact with the plastic cover.
What Temperature do You Need to Cover Plants?
You want to make sure you only use frost blankets when it is needed. Otherwise, your garden plants can suffocate if the air temperature is too warm. Typically, a good time to use a frost blanket would be when temperature is expected to drop below 32°F.
The slightest of freeze or frost can cause widespread damage to your plant so it’s vital to pay close attention to the upcoming weather report. Ideally, you want to install the frost blanket a little ahead of time so that enough heat is getting insulated underneath the blanket by the time temperatures reach frost point.
When Can I Uncover My Plants After a Frost?
Is the temperature expected to bounce back beyond frosting point? Ideally, you want to remove the frost blanket as soon as possible (early in the morning) before the sun has fully risen and when the temperature feels reasonably warm. The space underneath the blanket will get really toasty and the poor plants may get baked and not be able to return to full health.
Can I Use Bubble Wrap to Protect Plants from Frost?
Are you in a situation where it’s too late to get a proper plastic cover or frost blanket and the only thing that’s left at home is a bubble wrap? The good news is that bubble wrap can provide frost protection to a certain degree. It’s just not as effective as a frost blanket.
You can wrap the bubble wrap around container plants. Make sure the bubble wrap is tightly secured with strong tape so it doesn’t get blown away by the wind. You should try and cover the plant from top to bottom. It’s especially important to protection the roots of the plant.
Can Frost Damaged Plants be Saved?
Some plants, despite being covered, may still get damaged by the frost due to a number of reasons (e.g. temperature gets too cold, blanket wasn’t properly secured). There is a good possibility of saving plants that suffer from light frost but the same unfortunately can’t be said for plants that have been damaged by hard frost.
Cold-damaged plants can be saved through a number of methods, such as moving the plants indoor (if it’s a container plant), pruning away dead stems and leaves, and adding the appropriate liquid fertilizer to aid the plant’s growth. Each plant needs to be treated on a case-by-case basis.
Ultimately, gardeners will find themselves in a better situation by preventing and not curing plants that suffer from the cold. Be proactive and make sure you have frost blankets ready for your plants in case the temperature starts to creep lower and lower.
Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.
Winter Tree Care
In late fall to early winter, add a thin layer (no more than 2 inches) of organic mulch beneath your tree’s drip line. Mulch insulates soil and tree roots against temperature extremes and slows water loss from soil. Don’t pile mulch directly against the tree trunk. Wait to mulch until the ground freezes to prevent mice from making your mulch their winter quarters.
Keep trees, especially newly-planted ones, well-watered through fall – until the ground freezes. Before freezing temperatures, remove irrigation bags surrounding the tree trunk. If a warm spell thaws trees and soil, water newly-planted trees, especially if your region is in the midst of a prolonged drought.
Winter sun and wind create drying conditions for broadleaf evergreens, such as Pieris, Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel. Spray an anti-desiccant, which covers leaves with a waxy coating, to reduce moisture loss.
When winter sun thaws a tree trunk by day and cold night air freezes it, bark cells can rupture, creating cracks in the trunk. This condition is called sunscald. To protect trees, cover trunks with crepe paper tree wrap. Working from the bottom, wrap the trunk, overlapping layers by one-third. Stop wrapping just above lowest branches. Remove the wrap in spring. You can also paint the tree trunk white or wrap it with a white plastic rabbit guard. Sunscald occurs most often on trees planted on west or south sides of buildings.
Rabbits and voles love to gnaw the bark on young trees. Typically they’ll consume outer and inner bark, exposing inner wood. If chewing damage occurs halfway around the trunk, the tree likely won’t survive. Block rodents by wrapping trunks with plastic tree guards, starting at the bottom and working upward. Be sure to wrap past the snow line. Remove the wrap in spring. Another option is to cage trunks with chicken wire, which will also prevent deer from rubbing. Once bark matures and develops fissures, the small critters usually stop chewing.
Keep rock salt (sodium chloride) away from trees. Rock salt interferes with roots’ ability to absorb water, oxygen and nutrients. Choose ice melt products containing calcium, potassium or magnesium chloride.
Accumulating snow on tree branches can break them. To remove snow, gently push it off limbs using upward movements. Don’t try to break ice off branches. Instead, use a garden hose connected to a hot water faucet, but take care not to burn the plant.
Winter provides a great opportunity for inspecting and pruning trees. You can easily see the tree’s structure and identify problem branches. If trees overhang perennial or vegetable gardens, pruning those trees in winter won’t damage your plantings. Pruning during dormancy can also prevent disease spread, since disease organisms are also dormant. Learn more about how to inspect trees for potential hazards, as well as when to prune trees.
Protecting your plants against winter damage can be a challenge. Rapid temperature drops following a brief winter thaw can weaken the plants during the winter or early spring season. Frost and ice from snow or freezing temperatures can result in leaf damage, dead twigs and branches in the spring. One of the best methods to protect your plants is using winter shrub covers.
Types of Shrub Covers
- Burlap Canvas – A traditional remedy for your shrubs and plants. Cover large areas and obscure shaped shrubs by creating a small tent with a few stakes and a fabric that breathes..
- Specialized Winter Shrub Covers – They are made of a synthetic fiber material that protects the shrubs from heavy snow build up, freezing rain and winds. The fiber material allows light penetration and air flow, critical for plant survival.
- Wooden Snow Covers – These are ideal for plants owners not as worried about the cold as much as having snow damage.
- Wood Mulch – Although wood mulch does not cover the green part of the plants, however it protects the roots against the severe freezing cold.
Steps to Protect your Shrubs
- Watering your shrubs throughout the fall, up until the ground freezes.
- Spread 4 inches of bark mulch or ground-up leaves around base of shrub to insulate the ground and protect the roots.
- Create a wind barrier by wrapping burlap around the stakes that outline the shrubs. Secure the burlap to the stakes with staples wire.
- To prevent drying leaves, spray an anti-desiccant onto the shrub’s leaves.
- Start applying the anti-desiccant once a month in November, and repeat one monthly throughout the winter. DO NOT spray anti-desiccant when temperatures are below 40 degrees.
- To protect shrubs from snow damage, tie up branches with jute twine.
- For new plantings, wrap the shrub in burlap and tie with twine for protection from both wind and snow.
One of the best ways to insure your shrubs chances of surviving a cold winter is to select plants that are suited to your climate. Check your hardiness zone when selecting shrubs, trees, and other plants. Plants better suited to these growing conditions are less likely to winter shrub covers for your location.
Weed and Feed Schedule For Lawn Care
Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening
Why do we wrap trees and shrubs in winter? It seems to be a northern tradition. Every fall we go out and wrap plants in burlap to keep them protected from winter weather. All the books and all the web sites tell us to do this, so it must be right? Let’s have a closer look.
Should trees be wrapped in winter?
Why Cover Trees and Shrubs in Winter?
There are several stated reasons;
1) Keeps plants warmer
2) Reduces moisture loss
3) Keeps deer away
4) Protects from ice damage
5) Reduces salt damage
6) Looks good
7) Protects from sun
Let’s have a more detailed look at each of these reasons and then decide what approach we should use.
Keep Plants Warmer:
This topic has been dealt with in a previous post. See Are Wrapped Trees Warmer in Winter for more details. Wrapping plants in winter does not keep them warmer.
Reduces Moisture Loss:
This topic was discussed in Keep Plants Warm in Winter . Reducing moisture loss is important for some plants and a wrap can reduce moisture loss.
Keeps Deer Away:
This is certainly true. Deer eat just about anything when they are hungry. They leave my Yew alone all summer and early winter. By late winter they come and have a meal. A wrap of burlap keeps them from eating the new growth from the previous year. I also cover some small shrubs with chicken wire if I suspect they will eat them (eg sumacs) until these plants get big enough to fend for themselves.
The wrapping in the picture above looks silly–only the bottom of plants are wrapped. But it is a good way to reduce deer damage provided the wrapping goes as high as a deer.
Protects From Ice Damage:
People who live in the north understand the damage an ice storm can cause. In a few hours branches of trees and shrubs can be covered with a very heavy layer of ice. The weight of the ice can break branches or bend them dramatically. Most deciduous plants will recover and fill in the broken spaces. Some evergreens, especially upright evergreens like junipers can be so severely deformed that they never look good again.
Wrapping with burlap can prevent ice damage. It keeps the branches close together so that the ice can’t bend them over.
Salt spray from the road can be damaging to some evergreens. Covering them can help.
In most cases, the covered plants do not look good. The above picture is an extreme example. To be honest most coverings make your front lawn look terrible.
Protect From Sun
Most shrubs and trees do not need to be protected from sun in winter, but there is at least one group of plants that will benefit from such treatment. Some of the newer yellow-leafed evergreens, brown very easily in winter from drying and sun damage. This is mostly an issue for 2-3 years after planting. Once the plant is well established it is less sensitive to sun and drying. So if you plant such evergreens it is a good idea to wrap them, in winter, for 3 years.
Issues With Plant Covers
There are clearly some good reasons for covering your trees and shrubs, but there are also reasons for not covering them.
1) Moisture issues
2) Rodent problems
3) Sun scald
Plant covers reduce wind and therefore reduce loss of moisture from the plant. The same covering however can also cause problems with too much moisture. Many plants that are native to cold regions of the world like to stay dry in winter. This includes most deciduous trees and shrubs, as well as all perennials. Excess moisture can cause them to rot.
You have made a nice cozy spot for your plant and rodents think that is just marvelous. A nice place to spend the winter, and plant food to eat – better than the Holiday Inn.
Some coverings, like clear plastic, act like a greenhouse. When the sun shines the temperature increases significantly, and this can damage the plant. If the temperature gets too warm it can scald the plant. Lower warm temperatures make the plant think it is spring and they start to grow. A few days later it gets very cold again and the plant dies. Once a plant has cooled down for the winter it is best to keep it cold until spring.
Should You Cover or Not?
If plants are covered correctly, none of the above mentioned issues should be a problem. Covering plants does provide some benefit, however, I would suggest that except for the deer issue and the yellow leafed evergreens, very few plants need to be covered. If you don’t plant upright evergreens with very vertical branches, you really don’t have an issue with ice storms. If you select plants that survive winter in your zone you will not need to protect them. Spend a bit more time selecting your plants rather than spending time covering them each year.
I garden using a fairly simple philosophy. Make gardening easy and fun. Covering your plants is extra work. If you select a plant incorrectly and it gets damaged in winter or even dies, the solution is simple. Plant something else in it’s place. With many thousands of plants to choose from why struggle with a lemon?
1) Photo Source: Buffalo Spree–A Magazine of Western New York
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When cold weather hits, it’s not just people who need to take cover. Some plants may need to be covered to ensure that they survive the cold temperatures.
“The purpose of covering is to capture the earth’s heat,” Walter Reeves, who’s known as “The Georgia Gardener,” explained.
However, a protective covering isn’t always needed.
” RELATED: Freeze warning: Tips on protecting your home, plants and pets
“I see people covering plants more readily than perhaps they should,” Reeves said. Many plants — such as azaleas, pansies and hollies — can survive just fine without any covering.
Some may wilt overnight, but they’ll perk up again the next day. Reeves said he has an aucuba shrub that behaves this way in the winter.
When to cover
Deciding whether to cover your plants is a decision that’s based on several factors, including the hardiness of the plant as well as its location. Newer plants are more susceptible to the cold than well-established plants.
A plant’s location is also important. If it’s near a tree, fence or other structure, it will be more protected.
Plants may need covering if there’s a long period of 25-degree weather, but they probably can survive a very short-lived cold snap during the night, Reeves said.
” RELATED: 8 ways to enjoy Georgia state parks in cold weather and early sunsets
Calm nights are actually harder on plants than nights with light winds. Unlike people, plants don’t “feel” the wind chill, and the movement of the wind can help keep cold layers from forming close to the ground.
Cold weather has damaged this cabbage plant. Some plants can benefit from a cover during cold weather. Photo: Thomas County/University of Georgia Cooperative Extension/For the AJC
What to use
Commercial growers often use floating row covering, according to Reeves. This thinly woven polyester cover reflects heat but allows irrigation to go through.
You can also use plastic, but it should be black, not clear. Most people are surprised by this, Reeves said, but clear plastic has to be removed on sunny days because it will create a greenhouse effect if it’s left on. Black reflects sunlight, so you can leave it on for a few days.
Cloths such as quilts aren’t always the best choice, because if they get wet, they’ll become very heavy. This can mash down many types of plants.
Cardboard boxes can serve as good covering material, he said.
” RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree
How to do it
While some people will loosely throw a cover on a shrub, that probably doesn’t do much good, Reeves said.
Instead, the edges of the cover you choose need to be securely anchored to the ground. You can use firewood, bricks or rocks for this purpose.
Though the leaves look blasted, resist until April the urge to prune shrubs. Contributed by Walter Reeves.
What to do with container plants
Container plants are particularly vulnerable to the cold because their roots aren’t in the ground. If possible, move plants inside a garage, shed or basement. If you’re leaving them outside, push them together and cover them. Wrap the containers in plastic or burlap to help them stay warmer.
A layer of mulch can help protect perennials and newly planted shrubs and trees when cold temperatures hit. As the soil freezes and thaws, it can push some shallow roots out of the ground, making them even more vulnerable, and mulch helps provide a layer of protection. Just make sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant to avoid rot.
If you have young trees or varieties that have thin bark (including some fruit trees), wrap them with a trunk wrap. Otherwise, as the bark expands in warm temperatures and contracts when it gets cold, the bark may split.
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Burlap: Practical and Decorative Uses Outdoors
As the hot summer months begin, thoughts turn to the yard and garden. Burlap really comes in handy for mid-summer heat. It has practical uses in the garden and decorative uses in outdoor living spaces.
The sun’s heat can quickly dehydrate the ground and the summer rains can wash the dry soil away from newly planted seeds. Laying a piece of burlap over the seeds makes them develop much faster by holding in moisture after watering. Many vegetable and herb starter seeds prefer moist conditions like carrots, chervil, and parsley. When the seedlings begin to emerge from the soil, it is time to remove the burlap.
Sometimes deer, rabbits, and other critters are a problem, but building a burlap fence roughly two feet high around their favorite plants will deter them. Some plants, like blueberry bushes, can be wrapped in burlap to keep grazing animals away. Wrapping is more commonly done in the winter to protect plants from cold winds especially those not typically native to colder areas like figs and hydrangeas.
Burlap also comes in handy to protect the root balls of plants while moving and replanting them. Burlap can be wrapped around the root ball to hold the soil in place. If plants cannot be transplanted right away, the root ball can be kept wrapped in burlap until planting time to keep the roots safe from the elements and retain moisture. Small pieces of burlap in the bottoms of pots keep the soil in while still letting water drain.
One of the best uses for burlap is as mulch. When harvesting the garden is done, a piece of burlap can cover the soil until you plant something else. It will limit erosion of the soil you have worked hard to build.
Burlap can be found in most fabric stores and is inexpensive so why not use it for crafts and décor too?
It can be used for embellishing outdoor living areas. Exterior curtains made of burlap are durable in all types of weather and can provide privacy from neighbors. Large rolls of burlap can be cut into shapes for mounting on poles or frames to provide shaded areas on the patio or in the yard. You can create fabric screens yourself or order them hemmed and ready to mount or hang.
Burlap cushion and pillow covers accent your outdoor furniture with a rustic look while table cloths and runners are inexpensive additions to a picnic table when expecting guests or just for fun.
Organize your garden shed or potting area with a burlap wall hanging complete with pockets to store tools, seed packets, or plant labels.
A burlap gardening bag makes a sturdy bag to carry garden tools or freshly harvested herbs and vegetables.
Remember, burlap is made from natural plant fibers and is safe to use in vegetable gardens as well as areas where pets and children play. Burlap goes from functional to fun!
Tags: burlap, burlap bag uses, gardening with burlap
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 at 9:41 am and is filed under Burlap, gardening, Prevention Tips.
GENERAL ORDERING QUESTIONS
How do I set up a wholesale account?
There is no need to set up an account, the size of your order will determine your bulk discount. The majority of all of the products you see are available by the yard. Occasionally products are offered by the roll as indicated in the Product Title.
How long until I get my order?
The shipping time will be indicated in the product page. Typically all of our products ship in 1-3 business days. If for some reason your order is out of stock you will be notified by customer service.
Can I get some samples?
Yes! We love offering free samples! You will see our Sample Request tab on the Home Page menu. There you will find a request form.
What is the Return Policy?
To view our Return Policy please click here: THE BURLAP FACTORY:RETURNS
Why should I order from The Burlap Factory?
Besides offering the most competitive prices on orders of any size, we love to help! Sourcing materials for your new product, party, project or idea should be a lot of fun. We want to help you make the best choice, which is why we offer FREE SAMPLES! If you are ordering one yard or one thousand yards your project is important to us.
Do you have a physical store?
Although we do not have your standard brick and mortar store front. We do have a great office and warehouse in Winder, Ga where we service and fill your orders as quickly as possible. If you are local and would like to pick up your order give us a call.
ALL ABOUT BURLAP
What is Burlap?
Burlap is an amazingly strong and tear resistance fabric woven from jute. It is commonly used to make twine and sacking. It can be dyed, printed or sewn.
Does the Burlap have a smell?
Most of of our Line Grade burlaps have been treated and finished to diminish the natural smell of burlap (jute fiber). Even still, when you receive your burlap and unpackage it, you may notice a slight burlap smell due to being sealed for shipping. Once you are able roll out your burlap and let it get some air the smell will dissipate. If you are sensitive to the smell and would like to get the look of burlap, we do offer Faux Burlap in several natural shades.
Can I wash the Burlap?
We recommend spot cleaning all of our burlap products. The next best option is hand washing. If you wash burlap with any loose edges it will fray and get a little messy. Dry flat and then use an iron. We do not recommend putting burlap in the dryer.
What is the best way to sew Burlap?
Any home machine in good working order can handle burlap. If you are doing a lot of burlap sewing you will want to clean your machine periodically of the burlap lint. Depending on what you are sewing it may also be helpful to do an zig zag stitch along all the edges before you get started. This will help prevent any unraveling or fraying while you are sewing. Hand sewing and embroidery are also fun to do with burlap. It is also a good rule to always increase your seam allowances for burlap.
Can I iron Burlap?
Yes! Many people find it to be very annoying to iron burlap, but a good steam iron will do the trick! If you do not like the smell of burlap this will not be fun for you because while you are ironing the burlap smell will become noticeable even on the highest quality burlap. Some people actually enjoy the smell of burlap!
Can I paint or print on burlap?
Yes! You can experiment with any water base paint to decorate your burlap. You will need to decide what your end use is because some water base paints will wash out. Any screen printing ink or acrylic paint will achieve a permanent print. The denser the weave of your burlap, the more crisp your image or design will be. Our 11oz Linen Grade Burlap is ideal for getting great results with painting and printing.
Can I bleach burlap?
If you are experimenting with your burlap and you would like to see if you can lighten it, using a small amount of diluted bleach will help you achieve a lighter look. This being said, to much bleach can also damage the burlap, so we recommend doing a test on a small swatch first. Have fun!
Can I dye burlap?
Yes! Burlap is a natural fiber, so it will absorb low impact dyes and dyes available at craft stores very well. The most important thing to remember when dyeing any fabric is to keep an open mind. It may not always turn out exactly like the color you expected, but it will look good and you can always dye it again! Have fun!
Do you offer fake burlap or Faux Burlap?
Yes! It is great option for those look for that great rustic burlap look. It is very popular option for table covering and napkins at rustic weddings. You can find it HERE. You can also screen print and paint Faux Burlap just like natural burlap.
What are some of the most common uses for burlap?
Although burlap has become an ideal material for rustic weddings and crafting applications it has a long history in the United States for its effective use in packaging widely used commodities. Due to its strength and low cost it is perfect for withstanding rough conditions in transit. Gardening grade burlap is commonly used in landscaping as a ground covering and around tree bases. It is also great for slowing the drying of concrete preventing cracking. As textile technology continues to advance the uses of this great biodegradable sustainable fiber continue to spread.
Is Burlap made in the USA?
Burlap is made from Jute which is primarily grown and harvested in India. Raw burlap is sent to the USA where is is transformed into a finished product through adavanced dyeing, scouring & finishing methods.
What are the different types of Burlap?
Burlap is widely used only second to cotton by all kinds of industries worldwide, so the quality can vary depending on its intended use. Gardening grade burlap is a loose weave burlap and very light. Our linen grade 11oz burlaps are called “linen grade” because the process they undergo makes them perfect quality for any table linen or home decor application. We also carry a heavyweight high quality 22oz Burlap that is rare & perfect for a more refined rustic look. Our 9oz burlap is great cost effective way to get some fun colors for all crafting projects.
Is burlap water repellant?
Its better to call it “Weather Resistant”. Burlap will absorb water overtime, but can withstand repeat wetting and drying without compromising the strength or look of the fabric. Jute is a naturally biodegradable earth friendly fiber, which is why burlap is an ideal covering for soil.
Question on using burlap
I have had a lot of experience with burlap.
Re: Burlap in general. I would not use an existing burlap bag for anything except yard supplies.
If you want to make something with burlap, buy it at a fabric store. Do not buy the kind on a bolt, because the fold line will never iron out. Get the kind that has the full width of burlap on a roll, like upholstery fabric.
Re: Washing. NOT A GOOD IDEA.
If you do choose to wash the burlap, you MUST sew the edges beforehand. Use a medium stitch length (10 inches per inch/10 per 1.5 cm). If you drape rhe burlap over a clothes line and just rinse with a hose, you might be able to clean it somewhat. Burlap does shrink. DO NOT use a washing machine. The fibers shed a huge amount and will clog up your machine and your plumbing. You will also never be able to iron the wrinkles out completely, because the natural oil in the jute has been washed away.
Re. Cutting. You must clip the selvedge/selvage (originally from the words “self edge”) at the desired measurement. Then choose one “thread” and gently pull on it, across the width of the weave. The fabric will gather. Work this thread out of the weave. It will take patience, and it will break a couple of times, at least. This is the only way to know if you are cutting burlap on a straight line. Cut on the line revealed by removing a “thread.”
Re: Messiness. Extreme. Vacuum thoroughly. Wipe down hard surfaces with a damp paper towel, or other disposable item. Wash your clothes before wearing them again – burlap fibers are extremely itchy.
Re: Other disadvantages. Dark colored burlap fades, and light colored burlap oxidizes and darkens over a period of six to eight months.
How do I know this? I learned by covering my classroom bulletin boards (tack holes will not show). Burlap also helps keep sound from bouncing off the walls, so the room is quieter.
Re: Burlap curtains (The following information is from www.wisegeek.com.) Burlap curtains make an interesting and unusual window treatment. Their rustic and rough-spun look will complement a variety of informal settings, from recreation rooms to college dorms. Burlap looks best among other natural fibers and textures, but can also provide an interesting contrast when coordinated with smooth, modern designs and surfaces. Burlap’s pluses include its relatively low cost and ability to provide filtered light. Potential cons in choosing burlap curtains include a limited range of color choices, fabric width, and potential shrinkage, as well as dustiness, and smell.
In settings such as a rustic farmhouse or mountain cabin, burlap’s highly textured surface coordinates well with country-style furniture and natural materials. An exotic touch can be added to a family or recreation room by using burlap coffee sacks bearing their original stencil marks. Coarsely woven burlap allows some light to pass through it, making burlap curtains a good choice when they do not need to block all exterior light while providing privacy.
Since burlap is usually made with natural hemp or jute fibers produced with little or no pesticides, it is an eco-friendly window-covering option. Extremely durable burlap will last indefinitely and is resistant to tears. Burlap is also extremely economical, making it a good choice when decorating on a strict budget.
Due to their rough texture, burlap curtains tend to hold dust and can be somewhat difficult to clean. They can also shed a considerable amount of fiber. Burlap shrinks significantly during laundering and residual shrinkage should be factored in when sizing curtains. Burlap also lacks the soft textures and attractive drape of other textiles used in making curtains. Due to its lack of drape, burlap will be more attractive when used to cover smaller windows rather than in floor-to-ceiling treatments.
Burlap can be hard to find in attractive decorator colors and may require some special sizing for windows. In some settings, however, its natural, brownish color will coordinate attractively with other shades. As a natural fiber, burlap can be readily dyed in a wide range of shades. Depending on the type and color of dye used, the curtains may fade during sustained exposure to direct sunlight. Burlap is typically sold in widths that are narrower than traditional drapery fabrics. As a result, the process of assembling draperies can involve more sewing and seams.
While burlap is known for its ruggedness, burlap curtains can become brittle and stretched out over time. Some burlap specifically produced for decorating purposes is treated to minimize brittleness, fiber shedding, and sagging. Due to its earthy odor, burlap fabrics are also sometimes given a deodorization treatment.