By Anne Baley
A greenhouse is a carefully controlled environment designed to give your plants the ideal growing conditions. This is achieved by a combination of heaters, fans, and ventilation devices that all work together to keep the temperature and humidity at a constant rate. Using shade cloth in a greenhouse is one of the ways to keep the interior cooler, and to cut down on the solar radiation that hits the plants inside.
During hot summer months, and even throughout most of the year in hotter environments such as Florida, a greenhouse shade cloth can save money by helping your cooling system to work more efficiently.
What is Greenhouse Shade Cloth?
Shade cloth for greenhouses can be installed over the top of the structure, just inside the roof or a few feet above the plants themselves. The right system for your greenhouse depends on the size of your building and the plants growing inside.
These greenhouse tools are made of loosely woven fabric, and can shade out a percentage of the sunlight that reaches your plants. Shade cloth comes in different thicknesses, allowing differing amounts of sunlight through, so it’s easy to make a custom design for your environmental needs.
How to Use Shade Cloth on a Greenhouse
How to use shade cloth on a greenhouse when you’ve never installed it before? Most shade cloths come with a system of grommets on the edge, allowing you to create a system of lines and pulleys on the sides of the greenhouse. String lines along the wall and up to the center of the roof and add a pulley system to draw the cloth up and over your plants.
You can make a simpler, more accessible system by running a line along each of the two longest sides in the greenhouse, about two feet above the plants. Clip the edges of the cloth to the lines using curtain rings. You can pull the cloth from one end of the building to the other, shading only the plants that need extra cover.
When to put a shade cloth on a greenhouse? Most gardeners install a shade cloth system as soon as they build their greenhouse, to give them the option of shading off plants when needed through the planting season. They’re easy to retrofit, though, so if you don’t have any shade installed, it’s a simple matter of choosing a design and running the lines along the edges of the room.