June 2013 Newsletter (vol.19)   >>   The Perfect Shade

 

 

Shade Tents

As the spring breeze moves out and the summer heat moves in, many greenhouse growers start scrambling to get shade cloth. But what kind of shade cloth do you need? While most people simply think shade is shade, there is a lot more that goes into getting the perfect shade cloth for your greenhouse/application.

There are two different types of shade cloth, knit and woven. One of the first big questions is; what is the difference?

Knit: Knitted shade cloth is made up of knitted polyethylene and is far more versatile than woven with hundreds of uses. It is available in multiple colors and has a life expectancy of about 7-10 years. Knitted shade fabric has a more cloth-like look and feel and has threads running in various directions. It also will not unravel if cut or punctured.

Woven: Woven is constructed of woven polypropylene and is ideal for use on greenhouses. Woven is about 30% heavier than knit and has a long lifespan of about 10-12 years if taken care of properly. This fabric has a plastic look to it and has a distinct grid of horizontal and vertical lines. There are two drawbacks; one is that it only comes in black and the second is that it will unravel if punctured.

Shade cloth can be either knitted or woven and the variety of densities available let different amounts of sunlight penetrate. This is measured by percentages. The percentage of shade you choose blocks out that percentage of sun. (Example, a 40% shade cloth blocks out 40% of the sun coming in.) The percentage of cloth you should choose depends on your climate and its purpose. Some examples of standard uses are as follows:

30-60%:

  • Primarily used for vegetables, nurseries, cut flowers, and fruit trees.
  • Provides shade for ornamental plants in the summer.

70%:

  • Used in greenhouse cultivation of ornamental plants.
  • Provides shade for storage facilities.
  • Used in recreational areas.
  • Provides shade for livestock.

80%:

  • Provides shading for ornamental plant cultivation.
  • Provides shade for storage facilities.
  • Used in recreational areas.
  • Protects workers from sun radiation.
  • Provides shade for livestock.

90%:

  • Provides shading for ornamental plant cultivation.
  • Provides shade for storage facilities.
  • Protects workers from sun radiation.
  • Provides shade for livestock.
  • Used as a privacy fence.

After you know the percentage of shade and what type of material you want to use, the next step is to figure out how much material you will need by measuring the length and width of the area you want to cover. There are standard widths that you can choose from when ordering, however, if the width that you require is not available, there is an option to “seam” or “slit” the cloth. “Seaming” means taking two pieces of standard size shade cloth and joining them together to create one custom size. “Slitting” refers to cutting the width of shade cloth from a standard width into a smaller, custom width.

The last step is deciding how you are going to fasten the shade cloth to your structure. There are several options to choose from including grommets, clip its, rope, etc.

One of the most common ways is to have grommets installed at the factory. Grommets are a protective eyelet that can be installed around the perimeter of the shade cloth and can then be secured to posts or structures using rope, fasteners, etc. You can have as many or as few grommets as you like, and they can be spaced according to your needs. If you decide you would like grommets, you will also need to get the fabric taped. Taping refers to finishing the edge of the shade cloth. A reinforced material is sewn around the border of the shade cloth which adds strength and support when installing grommets. Even if you decide you do not need/want grommets, you can still have the fabric taped to reinforce the edges of the fabric.

Another option is Clips-Its. Clips-Its are an on-site fastening device that is a quick and easy alternative to grommets. Made from 100% recycled plastic, Clip-Its can be used on virtually any type of screen or mesh type fabric. They are easily installed, with the help of a few other products, right on-site without special equipment.

Once you have made all of these decisions, you are ready to order your shade cloth! Whether you are shading a greenhouse full of tomatoes, or looking for relief for your cattle, shade cloth is a great, versatile material that will help get you through the summer!

If you need additional help or information, please give our sales representatives a call at 314-506-4500. We want to get you in your perfect shade!

Check out our website for different shade cloth options: Dewitt Knitted PAK Knitted PAK Woven