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Should You Use Shade Cloth For Plants?

Shade Cloth For Plants

Yes. Using shade cloth for plants protection makes good sense, especially in areas where heat and cold can go to the extreme.

Growing up on a farm, we had neighbors who grew strawberries and because they are close to the ground, they were often protected by shade cloth.

To some, it may sound like somewhat of a chore to lay shade cloth but many will take their chances.

That’s a decision people make and they live by their results. I’ve seen many vegetable crops in hobby gardens have production levels severely impacted by heat.

A shade cloth would have prevented this. Alternatively, I’ve seen gardens maintain excellent production of produce simply because gardeners took the extra step of protecting their produce from the sun’s heat and pests.

So my answer to whether you should use shade cloth for plants? A resounding yes. So let’s explore the production angle using shade cloths.

Can Shade Cloth For Plants Help Increase Production?

plant shade clothAgain the answer is yes. A shade cloth is simply a piece of fabric that covers a plant. They are used to protect plants from sunburn during hot weather.

They come in different sizes and shapes and are usually made of polyester and Polyethylene. Aluminum and plastic are also used in making plant covers. You can use them to protect your plants from pests such as aphids, mites, and spider mites. They also help reduce evaporation from the soil.

In addition to protecting plants from heat stress, shade cloths can increase produce production. In fact, some studies suggest that covering plants with shade cloth can boost yields up to 40%.

I’ve seen the elements such as the heat and cold really affect produce yield. A shade cloth would have made all the difference.

Shade cloths come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are made specifically for growing tomatoes or peppers while others are designed to cover large areas like patios.

Some need shade cloth to cover a large area or a complete garden bed. Others simply need it to cover one or two plants. I’ve found the best way to use a shade cloth when dealing with just one or two plants is to cover the entire plant. This includes leaves, stems, flowers, and even soil.

Types Of Shade Cloths?

Types Of Shade ClothsShade cloth is a fabric that is used to cover plants and protect them from direct sunlight. It is also known as plant shade, plant covering or plant protection. The most common materials used for making shade cloth is polyethylene and polyester. Polyethylene is a synthetic.

Knit shade cloth is lighter and easier to install than woven shade cloth. Knit shade cloth is also better suited for outdoor use because it is less likely to tear than woven shade cloth.

In addition, knit shade cloth is lighter and stronger than woven shade cloth. Therefore, knit shade cloth is ideal for covering large areas such as patios, balconies, porches, gardens, etc.

Today, there are many types of shade cloths available. It can actually be disconcerting shopping for it because of the choice.

Just another reason to confuse hobby gardeners who simply want to grow some of their own produce. Anyway, lots of choice means more competitive prices.

Some of the most popular shade cloths include woven shade cloth, knitted shade cloth, vinyl shade cloth, polyethylene shade cloth, and aluminum shade cloth. Each type of shade cloth has its advantages and disadvantages.

For example, some shade cloths are heavy and difficult to install. These mainly include those in the woven department.

Others are light and easy to install and these include most in the knitted section of shade cloths. And yes, there is a wide difference in price. 

My suggestion is to know exactly what you want and how much. If you have just a handful of plants to protect, then buy enough to cover those plants and a little extra to keep on hand.

Shade Cloth For Plants: 3 Reasons I Use It

where to buy garden coverSo we’ve established that yes, you should use shade cloth for plants. I will just expand a little on why I use it. And don’t be surprised if I’ve already mentioned it above.

So the three reasons I use shade cloth are for protecting against sun damage, preventing pest infestation and also to conserve water.

To expand on why, here are the reasons in slightly more detail:

1. Protection from Sun Damage

Sunlight causes most plant diseases and insect problems. By shading plants from direct sunlight, you can protect them against many common garden issues.

2. Preventing Pest Problems

Insects like aphids, mites, white flies, fleas, etc., love hot weather. If you want to prevent pest infestation, it helps to cover up those areas where pests tend to congregate.

3. Conserving Water

If you live in a drought prone area, covering up pots and planters with shade cloths can save water. This is because the fabric allows rainwater to soak into the ground rather than evaporating out of the potting medium.

How Much Material Should You Use?

garden coverI consider shade cloth as one of the my most important tools in my gardening arsenal. And don’t let the word arsenal intimidate you. It’s one I like to use.

A good quality shade cloth provides you with the best possible protection for your garden. But how much do you use and how much protection does it afford your plants?

And what percentage cloth do you purchase?

Yes, it can get very confusing as I mentioned above. So a rule of thumb I use looks something like this:

50% Green Shade Cloth – Protects your plants from strong sunlight and heavy rainfall.

75%-80% Green Shade Cloths – Provides adequate protection against strong sun rays and light winds.

Up To 100% Green Shade Cloth – Ideal for protecting young seedlings and tender crops.

The type of shade cloth used depends on the climate and environment where you live.

There are three types of shade cloth: high, mid and low density shade cloth. High-density shade cloth provides maximum protection against heat and light, while low-density shade cloth offers minimal protection. Mid-density shade cloth falls somewhere in between.

One of the most important aspects in choosing the right density of knitted shade-cloth is that it should be applicable to the area where we live.

If the temperature is hotter in the summer, regular one hundred degree temps such as areas in Arizona and Nevada, choosing higher percentage shade cloth makes good sense.

Mid density shade cloth is more suitable in temperate climates while low density would be suited to gardeners leaving near waterways.

Conclusion: Shade Cloth For Plants

In conclusion, shade cloth is a great way to protect your plants from the harsh sun. It can also help to keep your plants cool in the heat of the summer.

Shade cloth is an essential tool for any gardener who wants to keep their plants healthy and happy.

It is easy to install and can be found at most home gardening stores or online.

One shopping tip is that it is generally cheaper to buy online. The drawback is that if you don’t know what you’re buying, that’s not going to be much help.

If you are new to using shade cloth for plants, go to your nearest gardening store and get some first hand advice on the what, how, and when of shade cloth.

If you are experienced using it, then online will be where you get your best deals.

Shade Cloth For Plants
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Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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