Consumers are delighted to purchase vegetables, herbs, or blooms early in the season or even off-season. The availability of such greenhouse produce can be attributed to shade cloths. Shade cloths function like sunscreen, preventing the plants from overexposing to the sun’s rays, especially during the summer months.
All commercial greenhouse operations use shade cloths to control their plants’ growing, fruiting, or blooming. Given the ”magic” shade cloths provide, it is essential to know what it is and what benefits it offers that affect the efficiency and profitability of a greenhouse business.
What are shade cloths?
To prevent the plants from sunburn, you can provide them with shade cloths. These items cover your plants, giving them shelter and reprieve from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. Moreover, they help save energy and water and make your plants grow healthier and faster.
The use of shade cloths originated from Australia, where the summer season can be very harsh. They are draped over the greenhouse glazing to cool down the surface and effectively cool down the plants. You can also hang them over the plants. Depending on specific plant types, they come in different densities or thicknesses to control the amount of light to penetrate. You use thicker shade cloths for sensitive plants like spinach and lettuce. Thinner ones can provide enough shade for tomatoes and peppers.
Composition of shade cloths
Shade cloths are made of loosely woven aluminum or polyester in varying densities. The various thicknesses provide degrees of shade between 5 percent and 95 percent. In addition, they allow water to penetrate so that irrigation systems, sprinklers, and rainwater can continue to hydrate your plants.
Types of shade cloths available in the market
You can find two types of shade cloths in the market: woven and knitted. Aside from the manufacturing process, one of the most important properties to consider when choosing shade cloths is the color. You may not be aware of this, but the shade cloth color can make a big difference depending on the type of plant that needs protection. In addition, the color affects the growth of plants, making the item truly interesting.
Some things you should know about shade cloths
Shade cloths reduce the amount of radiation that reaches the plants inside the greenhouse. Plants grown under the shade tends to have larger leaves. They grow taller, too.
Shade cloths are usually available in green and black. But you can also find them in blue, yellow, red, and white. The particular type is called aluminet shade cloth, used as an alternative to black cloths. They are made from reflective metalized high-density polyethylene fibers. The knitted cloth is specifically used as a protective plant covering to prevent oxidation and damage from frost radiation.
You usually use knitted shade cloths made from polyethylene blends in summer. They are lightweight and can withstand wear and tear from regular use. However, you can use the woven shade cloth, which is denser and heavier, to help build up heat for winter. The woven type is made from 100% polypropylene material.
Now you have another way to protect your plants from the harmful rays of the sun. Choose the suitable shade cloth to ensure healthier growth even when the heat from the sun outside the greenhouse is intolerable.