As summer approaches and the temperature outside begins to rise, you start to water your plants more. But have you thought of putting “sun screen” on your plants!! ---- Provide shade cloth to cover your plants as a shelter, this will save you water and energy as well as make your plants grow faster and be healthier.
Shade cloth is usually made of loosely woven polyester or even aluminium and can be found in varying densities or degrees of shade from approximately 5% to 95%. All shade cloth is water permeable so that rainwater, sprinklers and irrigation systems can keep your plants hydrated.
There are two types of the most common shade cloth: “knitted” and “woven”.
Knitted Shade Cloth is made of lightweight polyethylene. It’s suitable for a variety of applications, including: Shade houses,Greenhouses and Hot houses.The advantages are resists tears, fraying and un-ravelling .
Woven Shade Cloth is made of 100% polypropylene.It’s suitable for a variety of applications, including:pet Kennels,shading for patios,wind screens,privacy screens and solar protection for plants.It allows more heat build-up than knitted Shade cloth and it’s heavier.UV Stabilized to withstand the most extreme sun exposure. Edges must be taped to resist fraying, and will un-ravel if cut.
Shade cloth is woven or knitted in different densities. We call the densities of Shade Cloth “Percentages”. The difference in percentage lets different amounts of sunlight to penetrate, which means that the percentage of shade cloth you choose, blocks out that percentage of the sun. Therefore, what you grow will help determine the percentage of shade cloth you need.
As we all know, sunlight is so crucial to a plants’ growth, so choose the right density and as low a density as you can get away with.
Usually a shade percentage of 30-50% is ideal for vegetables, while 80-90% is ideal for sheltering people. Most plants will do best with a maximum of 40% - 60% shade. However, when growing some shade loving plants such as orchids and some ferns, 75% or higher maybe needed to get correct light levels.
If you cover your shade house with 50% or 75% shade cloth, all the way to the ground, a huge amount of heat load is dissipated by the cloth so it never gets into your shade house (try to mist or fog at regular intervals during extreme hot weather). Finally, know you will have a high return on your shade cloth investment by reduced energy costs and water costs.