Just as our bodies need “sunscreen” to protect from hot weather and sunlight during summer. Similarly plants and animal also need to be protected against harsh weather conditions. This brings in the use of a shade cloth.
So what is shade cloth?
Shade cloth has been in use for multiple decades to provide protection for plants from the harsh weather conditions. Shade cloth is used in many different applications in the domestic, horticulture, commercial, industrial, sports, leisure and agriculture industries.
In summer, shade cloth could be used to cover your shade house skeleton or greenhouse glazing, to cool it down for your plants and protect the young plants from direct sunlight. Shade cloth is also used to shield pets, livestock and people from sun and wind.
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
- Made of lightweight polyethylene
- Suitable for a variety of applications, including: Shade houses, Greenhouses, Hot houses etc.
- Resists tears, fraying and un-ravelling
- Open lockstitch design resists wind damage, and reduces heat build-up and wind speed inside structures
- Easy to install
- UV resistant
- Edge taping is not needed
- Resists most horticultural chemicals and detergents
- Longer life expectancy than woven shade cloth
- Allow for 2-3% stretch or shrinkage
Woven Shade Cloth
- Made of 100% polypropylene
- Suitable for a variety of applications, including: Pet Kennels, Shading for patios, Wind screens, Privacy screens, Solar protection for plants.
- Allows more heat build-up than knitted Shade cloth
- Heavier (Less easy to install)
- UV Stabilized to withstand the most extreme sun exposure
- Edges must be taped to resist fraying, and will un-ravel if cut
- Minimal stretch or shrinkage, less than knitted
As we can see from above, to protect your plants from extremely hot weather and make them grow healthily in hot summer, knitted shade cloth is a better choice due to its life expectancy, functionalities and easy installation.
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.
50% Shade cloth in Green Colour – Nursery Stock, Cabbage, Peppers, Lettuce Etc.
75%-80% Shade Cloth in Green Colour – Orchids, Large Olive Trees, Silt Fencing, Livestock Shading, Domestic Shading Etc.