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What is the Optimal Hail Netting Shading Rate for Apple Growth?

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This blog post details the shading rate of your anti-hail nets and gives recommendations for the right shading factor.
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When you own a commercial orchard, you want to make sure that your apple fruits are protected from harsh weather conditions.
The hail can damage your apples in an orchard, causing a serious financial loss.
To protect your apples, you will want to invest in an anti-hail net system.

The shading rate is a key factor in the hail net to maximize its defense effects.
In essence, the shading rate is important for your apple growth.

This blog post details the shading rate of your anti-hail nets and gives recommendations for the right shading factor.

What is the Shading Rate

The shading rate refers to the amount of sunlight that is blocked by the hail netting. The shading rate is expressed in a percentage. The lower the shading value, the denser the net, and the more light is blocked.

Shade rates range from 9% (very low) to 90% (very high).
Most hail nets available commercially have shade rates between 9% to 50%.
Higher shade rates provide more protection from hail but also reduce sunlight reaching the crop.

What is the Effect of Shade Rate on Apple Orchards?

Shade rates are an important parameter of the growing environment in orchards.
The shading rate affects:

  • Fruit color
  • Apple yield
  • Apple growth
  • Fruit size

Fruit Color

The anti-hail net improves fruit color by increasing the amount of UV light needed for pigmentation.
This is according to a study conducted to compare the effects of various shade rates on color development and fruit quality of ‘Fuji’ apples.
The results showed that fruit coloration increased with decreasing shading rate.

Shade rates are introduced to reduce the light intensity.
The shade rates should be reduced in autumn to allow the fruits to color as much as possible.  
In winter, however, a higher shade rate is required to limit vegetative growth and promote dormancy.

Apple Yield

As the shading rate increases, the ability for sunlight to penetrate through the net results in less photosynthesis taking place.
Without photosynthesis, there will be reduced growth and development of fruit.

According to research into the effects of hail nets on apple production and quality, hail nets can reduce photosynthesis due to shade rate, leading to less fruit yield.
However, hail nets with a 20% shade rate reduce photosynthesis by only 5%.
Nets with a higher shade rate will have a greater impact on photosynthesis, but even 50% of shade nets reduce photosynthesis by just under 18%.

apples, fruits, orchard-1872997.jpg
apple fruits orchard

Studies show :

that using the anti-hail net of shade rate of 20%-50% can effectively improve the yield of apples.

Fruit quality

If you shade your apples before harvest, it will have a significant impact on your fruit quality.
This is according to agricultural economist Dr. Jim Adaskaveg of the University of California, who led a two-year study that looked at how different shade rates affected fruit-quality characteristics.
The study found that shading:

  • Reduced the incidence of sunburn
  • Increased firmness and soluble solids
  • Increased  acidity and yellowness,
  • Reduced the incidence of bitter pit, russeting, and lenticel breakdown.

The shading rate of 30 to 50% makes good use of sunlight, promotes the accumulation of sugar in apples, and makes them taste sweet and sour.

Even more, Anti hail net effectively controls pests and diseases, and reduces or even eliminates pesticide residues on your apple fruits, to achieve green pollution-free food.

Apple Tree Growth

The shading rate of the anti-hail net has an important influence on the growth and development of apple trees, while also having an impact on the quality and quantity of apples.

The shading rate affects the development of leaves, flowers, and the production of apple fruits.

Fruit Size

Hail netting with a high shading rate results in a larger fruit size with higher internal quality. In addition, it also prevents sunburn on apples which can prevent consumers from buying your product.

Studies show by  using the anti-hail net of shade rate of up to  40% will increase apple fruit:

  • Size by 8%
  • Weight by 15%
  • Firmness by 28%
  • Soluble solids by 5%
hail netting
hail netting

Choosing the Right Shade Rate

Pick the Hail Net Made of the Right Material

You should go for an Anti-Hail net of high-density polyethylene with a compact and robust structure having a shading rate of 9%-40%.
This anti-hail net has high strength, resistance to stretching, and resistant to external influences and UV rays, so provides effective protection for many years.

At Eyouagro the anti-hail nets for the apple orchard are available with;

  • Mesh size: 4×4 mm, 85 g/m2; 5×6 mm, 65 g/m2; 6×8 mm, 55 g/m2.
  • Width: 2, 3, 4 and 6 metres.
  • Length: 50, 100 and 150 metres.
  • Shading: from 9, 18, 25,  30, and 40%.
  • Color: Crystal transparent, black and green

Your Apple Varieties

The shading rate of different apple varieties is different.
Some varieties are not very sensitive to light and don’t need much shading.

For example,

  • Red Delicious, Rome, Golden Delicious, and Jonagold need a high shade rate
  • Cortland, McIntosh, and Empire require a medium shade rate.
  • Fuji, Gala, Cameo, and Spigold need less shade rate.

Your Local Climate

To grow your apples, you need to be able to choose a shading rate, as follows:

  • If you are in areas with heavy rain and high humidity, the shading rate of the anti-hail net should be 30%.
  • In areas with low rainfall, high temperatures, and high humidity, the shading rate of the anti-hail net can be 40%.
  • In areas with dry climates, the shading rate of the anti-hail net can reach 50%.
  • In areas with a wet climate, the shading rate of the anti-hail net should not be selected to be too high.

Time of the year

The time of year you are putting on the net has a big impact on what shading rate you should choose. When you want as much growth as possible, it’s best to use a low shading rate early in the season.
As you get later in the season and closer to harvest, it’s best to raise the shading rate to reduce sunburn and help keep fruit colors bright.

Recommended Anti-Hail Net

Having gone into that much detail, it’s time for the recommendation. To reiterate our opinion;

  • The ideal shading rate is 30 to 50%, which is moderate enough to avoid direct sunlight scorching young leaves, but strong enough to increase the photosynthetic rate by increasing chlorophyll content, which leads to more sugar accumulation in apples and prevents premature fruit ripening; this also causes coloration and maturation to occur simultaneously.
  • The apple varieties with a high yield potential should be protected by hail nets with a shading rate between 40% and 50%.
    Those with a lower yield potential require protection from nets with a shading rate between 30% and 40%.

The net shade rate must be adapted to individual circumstances so that it does not lead to excessive slowing down or acceleration of growth.
If this happens, then the quality and the quantity of production will suffer


The right shade rate is essential to the growth of your apple trees.
If you choose a shading rate that is too high you will get larger apples but not as many.
On the other hand, if the shading rate is too low, your apples will be smaller and more numerous.
You want to find a shading rate that gives you a good mix of size and quantity.

Eyouagro is the world’s top choice for anti-hail net solutions.
We provide quality netting products for controlling hails and microclimate to make your fruits healthy and strong. Our products support sustainable orchard farming.

Get in touch with us at for anti-hail net or regarding your large-scale orchard projects.

Hey, I’m Kevin Lyu, the founder of , 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.

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