Five Great Uses for Nursery Tarps

If you’ve seen a mesh tarp being used at your local nursery, you have seen what is known as a nursery tarp. Mesh tarps come in various types ranging from Black Mesh Tarps, Dump Truck Mesh Tarps to Multi Mesh Tarps. Nursery tarps differ from other kinds of tarps inasmuch as they aren’t solid pieces of fabric. However, they do have many useful purposes nonetheless. We’ve listed some of those uses below.

The key to making the best use of a nursery tarp is to purchase a high quality product from a brand-name company. The best nursery tarps will be made with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship; many will come with warranties or guarantees of some sort. As long as you make sure you are getting a high-quality product, you should get many years of faithful service.

Without further delay, here are five great uses for nursery tarps:

#1 – Cargo Protection

A nursery tarp is a great way to protect cargo on the back of a truck, as long as protection against moisture is not an issue. One example would be a truck hauling PVC pipe over long distances. The hauler might want to protect the pipe against rocks and other debris even though it would not matter if the product got wet or was exposed to sunshine. The nursery tarp provides adequate protection. As an added bonus, it is also breathable. That way, if any moisture does get into the cargo, it will easily evaporate in the wind.

nursery-tarp

#2 – Privacy Screens

Homeowners love nursery tarps because these provide an easy way to increase privacy without breaking the bank. Nursery tarps come in many different colors, though black is the best for privacy. You can use a nursery tarp to enclose your open-air patio or cover pergolas, provide some privacy around the swimming pool or even create a small, portable enclosure that’s easy to take just about anywhere. Take it to the beach, the park, or anywhere else you want to enjoy the beautiful weather with some privacy.

#3 – Weed Control

Many a gardener swears by nursery tarps for weed control. And in fact, weed control fabric really is nothing more than very small pieces of nursery tarp material. When used properly, this breathable material hinders weed growth by preventing young weeds from sprouting up underneath. Of course, chemical weed control is still necessary, as no tarp is perfect in this regard. Nevertheless, nursery tarps can make your weed control project a lot more manageable.

Along those same lines, you can use a nursery tarp to cover fragile plants and flowers on cold autumn nights. The material is breathable while at the same time preventing frost from taking hold. In the morning, it’s easy to fold up and put away.

#4 – Shade

How many times have you sat out on your back patio only to bake in the bright summer sunshine? You could certainly purchase an awning to provide maximum shade from the sun, but some people don’t like such an extensive cover. Some still prefer a little bit of sun, as long as it’s not enough to be harmful. A nursery tarp is the perfect solution here. Like overhead latticework, a nursery tarp breaks up the sunlight just enough to prevent you from being burned or overexposed. Yet it still lets in enough sunlight to be enjoyable.

#5 – Windscreen

Lastly, nursery tarps make great windscreens. You might use a nursery tarp around a child’s play area or to cut down the wind traveling across your deck. You might also use one along your driveway to cut down on snowdrifts during the winter. Wherever there is wind, nursery tarps can reduce its impact.


Do Truck Tarps Really Save Gas?

A test done in the late 1990s to determine if gas was being wasted by open pickup truck beds resulted in the conclusion that adding a tarp or tonneau cover could significantly reduce drag and increase gas mileage. That study was seized upon by cover makers who suddenly found an entire market of customers willing to buy their products. A similar study was conducted 10 years later, reaching the same conclusion. However, we wonder whether these glorified tarps for trucks really do save that much gas or not.

Let’s be honest; long haul truck drivers use flatbed truck tarps on their trailers to protect the cargo. They are not being used to reduce drag or save on gas. Even dump trucks that make use of tarps do so to prevent the cargo underneath from coming loose in the wind and striking unfortunate passenger vehicles. These are not used to save gas. Yet pickup truck drivers seem to be stuck on the idea that a tarp or tonneau cover is more fuel-efficient.

The original numbers used to justify truck tarps and tonneau covers came from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and their two tests we previously mentioned. However, other tests have been done, one most recently by Consumer Reports, which casts real doubt on the idea of improving mileage with tonneau covers and tarps for trucks.

flatbed-tarp

The problem with the SEMA studies is that they only looked at drag and aerodynamics. They never actually tested any vehicles under real world conditions, including measuring how much fuel was used at different rates of speed. They simply assumed that by reducing drag, fuel mileage would increase. That makes sense, right? It turns out it’s probably not true.

Consumer Reports Testing

If you know anything about Consumer Reports magazine, you know it is published by a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide unbiased information not influenced by product manufacturers. They test all sorts of things from home electronics to vehicles to appliances. In 2013, they put the truck tarp/gas mileage theory to the test. They tested pickup trucks under four scenarios:

  • Open bed, tailgate up
  • Open bed, tailgate down
  • Covered bed, tailgate up
  • Covered bed, tailgate down.

The results of the Consumer Reports test startled many pickup truck drivers. Why? Because putting a tonneau cover or tarp on the back of a pickup truck appears to actually decrease fuel mileage pretty significantly. The magazine didn’t explain why, they just provide the raw data; data that showed covering the back of your truck actually make things worse in terms of gas mileage.

Tarps Are Still Useful

Now that we have completely ruined your day by telling you tonneau covers and truck tarps do not save gas, we don’t want you to assume that they do not have any value. They do. Tarps can be very useful for a number of things, whether you drive a pickup truck, a dump truck, or a semi.

For example, a tarp on the back of your truck is a great way to protect cargo underneath from sun, rainfall, and flying debris. Truck drivers use them all the time to protect valuable cargo until they drop a load. And of course, you might use them with your own pickup truck when you’re moving your house.

Tarps are also valuable for protecting other drivers from your cargo. At highway speeds, things can come loose a lot easier than you might think. A tarp keeps everything intact so that you are not endangering the welfare of others.

Tarps for trucks do have their place. A place that is just not gas mileage improvement.


Three Tips for Successful Truck Tarp Repair

Truck tarps are among the most important tools in the trucking industry. They can also be expensive tools if you buy the highest quality tarps available. So what do you do when one is ripped or torn? You try to repair it. Repairing a tarp can extend its life and save you a lot of money. That’s important for truck drivers working hard to make a living without a lot of room for error.

tractor trailer with cover

Whether you are a professional truck driver or a weekend warrior using tarps for your boat or camper, knowing how to repair rips, tears and holes can pay off in the long run.

We want to help by offering you these three tips for truck tarp repair:

#1 – Understand the Damage

A successful truck tarp repair starts with assessing the damage. For example, a minor tear or mouse hole can be temporarily repaired using commercial tarp tape. Damage that is more substantial will require a patch with either a strong glue or a stitched repair. Damage to seams always requires the strongest repair methods in order to prevent the damage reoccurring.

We might point out that tarp tape is really only intended as a temporary repair to get you where you’re going. Tarp tape will not last forever against sun, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. You will need to get some patching fabric if you want a repair that is more long lasting.

#2 – Clean before Patching

Truck drivers are notorious for not having a lot of time to deal with tarp damage properly. Consequently, sometimes a repair will be attempted without properly cleaning the area around the damage. This is a mistake. Regardless of the type of repair you make, proper cleaning is essential to a successful and strong repair.

Soil, dirt, and other debris can be cleaned with warm water, soap and a rag. Oil based stains will need to be attacked with some sort of solvent or rubbing alcohol. It is important that you get all of the substance off the tarp before making the repair, or the adhesive will not stick properly. Also, be sure to clean an area large enough to accommodate your entire patch. Six inches beyond the damage is generally large enough.

If you are stitching a patch in place, proper cleaning is still a good idea. Why? Because the stitching is only intended to provide extra strength. You will still be using adhesive to ensure a watertight repair.

#3 – Repair Both Sides of the Tarp

For those really big holes, you may need to apply a repair on both sides of the tarp. You can do this by patching one side first, giving the repair plenty of time to set up, and then applying the same repair to the other side. This will give you a lot of strength that should hold up over the long haul.

You can buy vinyl repair material and tarp repair kits at most places that sell commercial grade tarps for the trucking industry. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Make sure however, that you follow the instructions found on the label. That includes instructions regarding air temperature at the time of the repair. If it is too cold, the adhesive will not stick properly to your tarp, causing the patch to fall off after just a couple of days. If it’s too hot, you may not get the patch applied in time before the adhesive sets up.

Truck tarp repair is not hard if you are patient and willing to do things the right way. Over the long haul, you can save a lot of money by repairing your tarps rather than replacing them.