Our selection of greenhouse shade cloth fabric is UV stabilized as well as rot and mildew resistant. Shade cloth keeps your shade-loving plants protected during intense summer scorchers. It also helps to keep your fruit and vegetable plants protected from sun scald and wilting during periods of intense solar radiation and heat. This protection will help increase harvestable yields from plants.
You can protect your greenhouse or individual garden rows with our shade cloth. Select from different shade densities depending on your needs. Our shade cloth comes with a slight hem along the length without grommets or clips.
WHAT COLOR SHADE CLOTH IS BEST?
Whether you choose black or white colored shade fabric or go with Aluminet will depend on several factors. Your location, the crops you are growing, daytime to nighttime temperature swings, and the desired effect of your shade cloth will all influence the appropriate fabric choice for your farm or garden.
-White shade cloth reflects light and heat, making for a cooler environment for the plants. White shade fabric is better suited for warmer climates as it protects against excessive heat and as such keeps flowering and fruiting plants producing during hot weather. In high temperature areas of the country like Texas and other southern states, white shade cloth will offer greater protection than black.
-Black shadecloth absorbs light while also blocking excess light. It does absorb heat and can act a bit like a radiator as the heat absorbed by the cloth if placed close to the plants, can be transferred to the growing crops. Black shade cloth is better for those growing heat-loving crops such as tomatoes and peppers and those in colder climates that benefit from more solar gains in the shoulder season. In some regions where extra heat is undesirable black may not be the best choice.
-Aluminum coated shade cloth, often called Aluminet, also does a great job at reflecting light, but where it shines is in light diffusion. It reflects light and heat similar to white colored shade cloth and also increases full spectrum light diffusion under the cloth.
The use of this shade cloth can also help with nighttime temperatures as it acts as a thermal blanket. In this way, it helps protect plants from wide temperature swings in regions where the daytime and nighttime temperatures are dramatically different. It is also a great choice for retaining heat in heated structures overnight when installed inside of the structure rather than over the top of the greenhouse.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF SHADE CLOTH SHOULD I USE FOR VEGETABLES?
Shade cloth fabric should be chosen based on the climate, the plant's needs, and the growing zone. Factor in your plant variety's light and temperature needs when choosing your shade cloth diffusion percentage for best results. The general rule is that vegetable gardens in northern climates are fine with 30% shade cloth while hotter regions and those in the south where the summer sun is more intense should use 50%.
Temperatures over 90℉ can cause plants to lose their flowers and will also slow photosynthesis. Both of these are strategies that the plant uses to protect itself during times of heat stress. While this is useful for keeping the plant growing during times of stress it lowers the harvest or fruiting crops and can cause premature bolting in greens and herbs.
Here is an easy guide.
Shade Cloth Percentage
Northern Climates/ Mixed Veggies
Lettuce, Flowers, Tomatoes, Mixed Crops, and Most Vegetables
Light Sensitive Plants
What is the best shade cloth for growing tomatoes in a greenhouse?
If you live south of 40 degrees latitude 50% shade cloth is ideal for growing crops like tomatoes. If you are North of 40 degrees F you can go with a 30% shade cloth.
For greenhouses that are right in the middle of the country, going with 50% is better if you are seeing temperatures over 100 degrees F during the heat of the day.
What Size of Shade Cloth Should I buy?
Shade cloth can be used on greenhouses, hoop houses, caterpillar tunnels, low tunnels, and dedicated shade structures. It can also be used over trellising systems in the garden for sensitive crops. For dedicated structures, the size should match as closely as possible the area you wish to cover.
For greenhouses and other hoop structures, you will want the cloth to cover from hip to hip on your hoop house or cover loosely over the desired area that needs protection.
Here are some quick conversions -
(Match Length of Shade Cloth with Length of Structure)
Hoop House Width
Shade Cloth Width Recommendation
20' (20' for Gothic)
20' (32' for Gothic)
32' (42' for Gothic)
HOW DO I INSTALL SHADE CLOTH?
If you will be using dedicated shade cloth clips, install the clips to secure the shade cloth every 24-36". Run a rope or paracord through the loop created when the clips are closed and tie it down through eye bolts installed in the baseboard or base of the hoops. This will distribute any wind load or stress from water weight caused by dew or summer rains. Shade cloth can also be installed using lock channel and spring wire. Check out this video tutorial on how to add shade cloth to a high tunnel greenhouse.
If installing shade cloth on other types of structures you should ensure that you are not draping the fabric over sharp edges that could wear on the fabric. If you will be installing the cloth horizontally over garden beds it is advisable to run some form of line under the cloth to keep it from sagging.
How Long Does Shade Cloth Last?
When shade cloth is taken care of properly, it can last up to 16 years. Fold up and store shade cloth out of direct sunlight when not in use. Ensure that the shade cloth is completely dry before folding it for storage. Keep protected from insects and rodents by storing tightly rolled inside of a large plastic bag up off the floor.
Woven vs. Knitted Shade Cloth?
Bootstrap Farmer carries knitted shade cloth as it is an economical choice for growers. One of the other main benefits of this design is the lock stitching that enables the grower to cut the cloth without the worry of unraveling or the need to add a hem. Because of this, you can order a piece slightly longer than your structure and trim if needed.
Benefits of Using Shade Cloth?
The use of shade cloth material will help to reduce both water and energy usage as well as increase the productivity of plants as less stress is being put onto the plants. There is less evaporation of water because the ground stays cooler. There is less need for energy use for cooling. Plants are more productive because they spend less time above 90℉ which is the temperature at which most plants go into a type of dormancy to protect themselves from excessive water loss by curling up their leaves and reducing photosynthesis.
Shade can also be used as a tool to protect other things on your farm from degradation that occurs with direct sun exposure. Click here to learn more about shade cloth.