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Shade Cloth 101: the Ultimate Guide to Greenhouse Shade Cloth

greenhouse shade cloth (1)
Find out everything you need to know about shade cloths, from what they are and why they're important for your greenhouse.
Table of Content

Introduction

It is important to protect greenhouses against overheating during the growing season. In addition to greenhouse air circulation shading also lowers greenhouse temperatures by decreasing the light passing.
Plant health can be improved by reducing the effects of high temperatures on sensitive plants, ensuring the growth of most plants, and increasing the yield of plants.

There are many shade cloth options available, making it hard to determine what is the best shade cloth.

Here are the criteria we suggest using to determine the best one for your greenhouse:

What is Greenhouse Shading?

Hot temperatures can damage plants in your entire greenhouse.

Shade cloth reduce temperature and Shading cools greenhouse floors during the hot season. Besides reducing the inside temperature the greenhouses also reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the atmosphere. Good ventilation helps to keep the temperature at the right levels, although the sun’s energy does not reflect off the air. It builds rapidly in greenhouses, averaging temperature and posing a threat to too many plants.

Shading in the Greenhouse is so important, that growers who want to get the best out of their yield, shade their greenhouses.
It is a common practice in hot countries and during hot seasons. Greenhouse shading also helps to reduce water loss through evaporation.

greenshouse shading
Greenhouse Shading

How shade cloth can increase plant production?

We have all been told that it was a bad idea to use shade cloth for vegetable gardens or greenhouses. Sun is essential in the garden! But plants don’t need too much sun.

Research in the field has actually demonstrated how it may enhance photosynthesis, particularly during hot seasons. The idea seems counter-intuitive.
But it is really possible to know how photosynthesis occurs.
The right amount of sunlight and temperature is indeed necessary for more rapid growth.

However, higher temperatures and too much sun’s rays would reduce the yield of plants on the contrary. Shade cloth reduces temperature and increases the yield of plants effectively.

In a shade house, a shade screen is used on the top which protects plants from too much sunlight. It also allows air to circulate which prevents the leaves from overheating.
As a result, it helps the plants to produce more food and grow faster.

Using shade cloth actually helps to increase the production of shade-loving crops such as lettuce and spinach.

shade net for greenhouse
Tomatoes

Shade cloth can help plants grow more quickly in the spring by protecting them from late frosts that can kill young plants.
It can protect plants from wind damage, which can be costly to repair and cause further damage to the plants themselves.

Different plants require different levels of shading. The shading rate of shade nets also varies according to the climate. To ensure a better harvest, choose a shade net that suits your planting needs.

For example, greenhouses in South Africa use shade nets that are about 10- 15 % higher than those used in Australia.

What is the most effective shade cloth?

Some shade cloths are more effective than others in reducing the amount of heat and light that passes through to the plants. The best shade netting will have a high heat rejection and low light transmission.

Plants cannot endure the summer heat. In some places with hot temperatures such as Las Vegas or San Antonio, your plants may be dehydrated. The clothing acts as a protection for plants and protects against sunburn and excessive levels of water condensation.

Good crop ventilation is provided which eliminates the need for expensive cooling devices. Before you start looking at purchasing greenhouse shade cloths, make sure you understand their characteristics and materials.

Here are the 4 key points you need to know.

What color shade of cloth should I use?

Different shade cloth color absorbs and reflects sunlight in different ways depending on their application.

greenhouse shade

The common shade cloth colors we often see are black, white, grey, red, and green shade cloth.

For gardening purposes, green shade cloth is the more common color. White, tan, and black are available.

At the same density, a darker shade of cloth will produce a higher shading rate.

So when your plants need a high shading rate and don’t have particularly high light requirements, you can choose darker colors.

Advanced Shade cloth color often contains aluminum foil, which reflects the light and heat in a way that is more significant than the color itself. It can be a replacement for darker clothes.

This material also has the function of preventing the loss of nighttime temperature in the greenhouse.

Black shade cloth vs. White shade cloth?

On the face of it, it’s a simple question: black or white? But in reality, there are many factors to consider when choosing between these two options.

White shade cloth is a highly reflective material and will reflect sunlight and heat, which can be great for keeping your plants cool during the day and for increasing visibility in your greenhouse at night. White also does not attract bugs like black does because it does not absorb heat as much as other colors do.
White shade cloth allows heat to radiate onto plants. In a meantime it provides cooling effect too. It is one of the ways to cool a greenhouse without electricity !
If you have flowering plants, you will benefit from using white shade cloth.

Black sunshade cloth can absorb heat as well as block light in contrast to the color of white.

In places where the temperature difference between day and night is small, a white sunshade cloth may be sufficient to block high temperatures during the day.

If the temperature has a huge difference between day and night, the black sunshade net can make up for the lack of heat at night by absorbing heat.

shade cloth

What shade percentage of sunshade cloth should I use?

The shading percentage of sun shade cloth depends on the netting density and weaving methods.

Shade cloth density measures the amount of light the cloth block. The greater the percentage the better the shading effect.

Shade cloth with 10 % of shade rate can prevent only 10% of sunlight with high light penetration and shade cloth of 90% can block 90% of sunlight.

How much sunlight do plants need?

Different plants need different amounts of sunlight.
For most plant species, 40-60% shade reduces sun exposure and provides enough sun energy to stimulate photosynthesis.
Shade cloth is used to give shade, this is the most important feature to take into account.
Although “density ratio” sounds technical compared with color and fabric type, shade fabric percentage should be understood.

Density also plays a crucial role in determining the shade cloth percentage in greenhouses used.

The most commonly used percentages of shade cloth:

30% Shade Cloth
Some crops, vegetables, heat-tolerant plants, and fruit may use cloth which provides 30% shading.

30% shade cloth for tomato

Vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplant have good shade-tightening under 30% and fruit such as peaches have good shade coverage.

Some flowers, such as roses, can also use shade cloth with this shading rate.

40-60% Shade Cloth

40-60% Shade Cloth flowering plants is the perfect shade option for plants like lettuce, spinach, gingers.
Flowers such as salvias geranium lily or camellias have also ideal growth at 40-60% density percentage shade cloth.
If you’re growing in a greenhouse or indoors, you can use this shade cloth to keep your plants cool and protected from harsh sunlight.

meadow cranesbill, geranium pratense, geranium-3485223.jpg
Geranium

75-90% Shade Cloth

Higher percentage shade cloth like 75-90% is for shade-loving plants only. This is the right percentage for such kind of pants.
Plants requiring minimal sunshine do best with high density percentage clothes that provide enough shade for them.
Fern, impatien, lobelia, and orchids are some species of shade-loving plants.

So, the best plan is to choose the right percentage for the plants you grow.

The table below provides recommended shading ratios for various types of shade cloth.
These ratios are based on the different percentages of visible light that each type of shade cloth allows through, as well as its level of blockage against ultraviolet rays.

Shading Name of Plants
30% Roses, Strawberries, Gooseberries, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Peppers
40% Bedding Plants, Gloxinias, Herbs, Iris, Lilies
50% Foliage plants, Cut greens, Orchids, Ginger, Pot plants
60% Orchids ( Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis ), Lettuces
70% Ferns, Orchids ( Cypripediums), Philodendrons, Succulents
80% Certain Orchids, Plantation crops, Tea, Coffee, Cardamom
90% Cattle shed, Poultry houses, Construction Scaffolding, and vehicular shades

What is the Fabric material of the shade cloth?

The materials used to make shade cloth are generally divided into two kinds.

Most shade cloths are made of high-density polyethylene monofilament or tape.
This product has lightweight properties that will withstand normal wear and tear.
To resist aging caused by solar radiation, UV stabilizers are usually added to the shade mesh.

Uv Stablizier Masterbatch
Uv Stablizier Masterbatch

Another kind of material is aluminum foil shade cloth.
This material has the benefits of a light diffuse effect and high shade effect, which make it popular in the market.

Aluminet Shade Cloth vs. HDPE Shade Cloth

Aluminet shade cloth is made from a polyethylene monofilament frame with woven aluminum foil strips. Aluminet shade net provides good heat insulation and a good reflection effect.
The Aluminet has the strength and durability of polyester and the properties of aluminum foil.

Moreover, aluminet shade cloth has another property HDPE does not have: diffused reflection.

Diffuse reflection is a type of reflection that reflects light in many directions rather than in one direction.
The advantage of diffuse reflection is that it can reflect more light than specular reflection.

Plants depend on sunlight to grow and thrive. But, a plant that other plants surround will not get as much sunlight as one in an open space.

To make up for this, plants use diffuse reflection—bouncing light off of other surfaces—to increase the amount of light they receive. This allows them to grow faster, stronger, and healthier than if they were only receiving direct sunlight.

Thus, this kind of shade cloth is becoming increasingly popular in modern greenhouses.

What is the Method of Weaving shade cloth?

Using shade cloth is important for gardeners and farmers alike. It can be used to protect plants from the harsh sun, as well as to keep them cool in hot weather. Two main weaving types of sun shade cloth are woven and knitted. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to the gardener to decide which one is best for their needs.

Woven sun shade cloth is made using a Sulzer machine, whereas knitted sun shade cloth is made with a Raschel warp knitting machine.

These two kinds of machines weave nets of different structures in different ways, resulting in fabrics with different properties.

Two methods of shade cloth making
Two methods of shade cloth making

Knitted shade cloth vs. Woven shade cloth?

The knitted sun shade cloth is widely used in the market today.

Woven and knitted sun shade cloths have pros and cons, but ultimately, it is up to the gardener to decide which is best for their needs.

Knitted shade cloth is more durable and allows for better ventilation, while woven material (shade cloth) is lighter and offers more privacy.

knitted vs. woven shade cloth

Effects of color shade cloth on the plants

Using shade fabrics isn’t just about personal preference either… It is widely believed to solve ventilation issues by selecting darker shade cloths that absorb more sunlight. White cloth decreases light but no qualitative light spectrum.

Photoselective nets (color shade cloth) change the light spectrum of transmitted light to influence plant growth.

Therefore plant growth occurs much quicker than using green shade cloths and white shade cloths. The white shade cloth is commonly used for flowering plants. Dark shade cloth absorbs more heat, whereas lighter colors refreeze the sun’s energy. Green shade cloths and black shade cloths generally act as filters and deprive plants of sunlight.

Using color shade cloth on selected plants

Many studies have shown that color shade cloth can play a photoselective role, and these protective nets can positively affect growth.

The effects of sun shade net on plants can differ from one plant to another. Here are a few examples.

Blueberries

A study by Jorge used four different shade netting colors—black, grey, red shade cloths, and white shade cloth —to shade blueberry plants. The results showed that grey, red, and white nets decreased PARPhotosynthetically active radiation)to different extents. These changes resulted in increased yields of blueberries.
However, there was a decrease in blueberry production when plants were grown under black shade nets.

blueberries, fruit, vitamins-1426866.jpg
Blueberries

Cast iron plant

A study from Stamp (2008) showed that the fresh weight of harvested leaves from the variegated cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior ‘Variegata’) was greater under black netting than under blue, gray, or red netting.
The total number of harvestable leaves was greater from plants grown under black than blue or red netting.

Phalaenopsis

In a study published in 2008, Leite investigated the effects of shade nets on flowering and biomass production in Phalaenopsis. He found that the red shade net produced earlier flowering in all cultivars and hybrids except one.
He also found more flowers were produced under the red shade cloth than under the other two nets. Leaf surface area and biomass were greater for plants grown under blue shade nets than those grown under black or red shade cloth.

orchid, flower, houseplant-4068853.jpg
Orchid

Peaches

An experiment used colors blue, grey, pearl, red, and yellow with 30% density and white shade cloth with 12% density in commercial apple and peach orchards.

After one year of research, the result showed the fruit set, fruit size, color, and internal quality all increased.

Spinach

The researchers studied the effects of shade fabric on spinach grown in a greenhouse. Red, blue, and black shade nets were placed over plants.
At harvest, baby leaf spinach grown under red shade netting had the highest yield. However, dry weight was significantly higher for plants grown under blue shade netting than those grown under red or gray shade cloth.

orchard, spinach, ecological-2459079.jpg

Cucumber

The results of an experiment showed that 30% pearl, red, aluminized, and blue shade nets can increase the yield of cucumber by 71%, 48%, 46%, and 46%, respectively, compared to black shade cloth.

cucumbers, vegetables, cucumber-2446470.jpg

What shade cloth is Best for Greenhouses

How should I protect my crop from UV radiation? If yes, buying adequate shade cloth in this greenhouse is essential. The list below provides information on the best shades cloths of EyouAgro for greenhouses. Let us go ahead with the rest of the discussion.

EyouAgro Monofilament Raschel Shade Net

Eyouagro Monofilament Raschel Shade Net has many shade ratios to be chosen, making it an ideal sun shade cloth when using greenhouses. The sun shade netting is constructed of premium polyethylene that protects plant growth in extreme climate conditions. It can also be used for high winds as it covers all kinds of hot weather.

3351666067440 .pic
EyouAgro Monofilament Raschel Shade Net

Let’s look at this: While clothes emit sunlight and UV light, they allow light suitable for plants to grow. Restricting wind and dust penetration help protect your plants and keep their health in check.
It also offers a 5-year warranty so there will be no worries about it deteriorating soon.

Common choices for EyouAgro Monofilament Raschel Shade Net are 40%, 60%, and 80%.

EyouAgro Aluminet Shade Cloth

EyouAgro Aluminet Shade Cloth provides extra cooling during the hot summer months. So if your greenhouse is experiencing hot summer days, EyouAgro Aluminet shades might come in handy. Designed with reflective aluminum, the EyouAgro UV-resistant fabric will keep vegetables warm during summer. You will have no worries about size as the product comes in different lengths and widths for your needs!

EyouAgro Aluminet Shade Cloth

Similarly, whichever kind of greenhouse you use, you’re given options for different sizes.

Common choices for EyouAgro Aluminet Shade fabric are 30%, 50%,70%, and 90%.

EyouAgro Tape Raschel Shade Cloth

If you need lightweight garden shade cloths to protect plants, the EyouAgro Tape Raschel Shade Cloth can perfectly meet your needs.

Tape Shade cloth, made of high-quality polyethylene and excellent protection against harmful UV rays and heat, is manufactured to have a high shade efficiency.

It can protect your plants from the hot sun with less mesh material than other types of shade cloths. The high-quality shade cloths provide maximum protection to the plant.

3361666067458 .pic
EyouAgro Tape Raschel Shade Cloth

Common choices for EyouAgro Tape Raschel Shade netting are 30%, 50%,70%, and 90%.

EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting

If you are looking for light and durable material for your greenhouse, this EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting may be suitable.

EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting

Monofilament yarns are knitted into a mesh fabric to provide extra strength and high durability. Tape yarns are used as weft to provide shade and good airflow.

This light greenhouse is built from ultraviolet-stabilized polyethylene.

We offer a variety of sizes, colors, and shade rates for sunshades that can be used to provide shade for plants and to reduce water loss while allowing rain through. They can also be used as an awning or greenhouse for temporary outdoor events.

It is likely to be used in the event of commercial vegetation growth.

EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting
EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting

Common choices for EyouAgro Mono + Tape Raschel Shade Netting are 50%, 70%, and 90%+.

EyouAgro Woven Shade Cloth

EyouAgro Woven Shade Net is made of high-quality, UV-stabilized polyethylene that provides shade and cooling for your plants.

Woven Shade Cloth’s flat surface and vertical and horizontal grid lines make it easier to determine how much space is needed to cover crops. This results in a lighter shade net than the same Knitted Shade Cloth, which can cost less while providing the same level of protection from the afternoon sun.

Due to its plain structure and lightweight nature, the Woven fabric is more likely to tear and come apart when damaged. And its average life expectancy is about 3 years.

EyouAgro Woven Shade Cloth

Common choices for EyouAgro Woven Shade Cloth are 40%, 80%, and 95%.

EyouAgro B & W Film Shade Cloth

This EyouAgro B & W Film Shade Cloth can protect the plants in your greenhouse against UV radiation during the daytime and cold at night.

The white face of this sunblock shade cloth is designed to reflect most sunlight, which helps it stay cool during the day. At night, the black color absorbs spare heat better and protects against frost.

EyouAgro B & W Film Shade Cloth helps to lower the temperature in your greenhouse under sunray and ensures a stable temperature. It resists harmful UV radiation and does not restrict airflow. Your plants need oxygen for their growth.

EyouAgro B & W Film Shade Cloth

Shade cloth Installation: horizontal or vertical?

Shade cloth fabric is usually laid horizontally on a plant to allow airflow. It may be anchored directly over the fence or the garden or greenhouse. When we see “shade cloth” in our heads, we probably think about it as an image arranged horizontally. But what if you want to shade your home vertically? It is also possible to do that. Just make sure that the shade cloth is installed tautly so that the wind does not blow it and damage the structure. Also, ensure that the sunblock shade cloth you choose provides good airflow.

Conclusion

Shade cloths are a necessity in any gardener’s toolkit. They provide essential protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays and effectively reduce the temperature in your greenhouse. A wide variety of shade clothes are available on the market, so it’s important to choose the best shade cloth for your needs. The shade cloth reviewed here is effective at providing full sun protection and temperature control, so you can be sure to find one that will suit your needs (type, color, right shade cloth percentage, etc.).

EyouAgro is a professional shade cloth fabric supplier. We have more than 20 years of experience in shade cloth manufacture. Our high quality shade cloth is made of high-quality materials and has passed strict quality control tests. We have a wide variety of shade cloth including wrap shade cloth to choose from, so you can be sure to find one that suits your needs.

Contact us now for more information!

Hey, I’m Kevin Lyu, the founder of eyouagro.com , Family-run business
An expert of agriculture protection textile specialist .
In the past 26 years, we have helped 55 countries and 150+ Clients like farms, orchards , vineyards to protect their plants. The purpose of this article is to share with the knowledge related to agriculture growing protection for making the plant healthier and stronger.
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Kevin Lyu
Agrotextile Specialists

Hey, I’m the author of this post,
In the past 26 years, we have helped 55 countries and 150+ Clients like farms, orchards, and vineyards to protect their plants and crops. 
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call us for a free, no-obligation quote
or discuss your solution.

We are at your disposal for any technical or commercial information

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