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Using Kaolin Products to Protect Your Veggies and Fruits

Making It Grow! Minute logo

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the New World, the first kaolin clay mined for shipment back to England to be used in fine china came from the colony of South Carolina, and today we are second only to Georgia for kaolin extraction. We spoke about how kaolin clay sprayed on vegetables and fruits helps prevent insect feeding, but it also can prevent sunburn. Just like zinc oxide protects my nose from the sun, a coating of this white clay film protects tomato fruits from sunscald and tissue necrosis. As watermelons mature and stick up above the leaves, they’re at risk of being ruined by sunburn as temperatures soar. Both commercial farmers and gardeners can protect their crop by spraying a registered product containing this inert material. The trick is to keep your sprayer agitated, need a whole lot of shaking going on. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.