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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,510
Default shade cloth for greenhouse?

The hurricane took out my last large tree that provided some shade during the middle of the day and early afternoon. My greenhouse has gone from a greenhouse to a solar oven even with the small air conditioner running. I have done some research and think I will go with that aluminet shade cloth but I don't know what shade percentage to go with. I want to wrap the southwestern side and the west side along with the roof. This will be going on the outside.

The sun is very intense down here and for the past few years I have used a green shade cloth that along with the natural shade the big tree provided along with the air conditioner was adequate to keep the temperature and light at a level that wouldn't kill the plants. Many of my seedlings for fall and winter burned up within two days after the storm even though the shade cloth and air conditioner were running as soon as the sun came back out. The outside temps were only in the low 90s so I know I need to do something to cool things down some during the hot super sunny months of the year. My greenhouse is only six feet by about 10 feet attached to my house.

If anyone in a hotter climate has any experience with using that aluminet shade cloth I would appreciate some advice. I was thinking 50% on the top and maybe 30% or 40% on the two sides.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
PureHarvest's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mid-Atlantic right on the line of Zone 7a and 7b
Posts: 1,295

University of Maryland did a 5 year study. It said anything over 30% reduces marketable size.
It said using shade increased marketable yields increase from 19-50% and disease was reduced under shade.

Not exactly what your situation was, but thought of the article when I read your post.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
Rajun Gardener
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lafayette La
Posts: 1,902

Bill I tried 40% this year to grow peppers and it still got too hot even with the sides open. The plants would drop flowers but grew once I moved them outside. I think it's just too hot from late June to early September to use the GH.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
Salsacharley's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,865

I use 70% shade cloth without a greenhouse. If I had 50% I would use it. I do think it reduces the production but it is better than irradiated plants that drop all blossoms. In your position I would look to provide ventilation from the sides or ends of the GH as well as shade cloth.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
ChiliPeppa's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Mojave Desert - California
Posts: 364

The trick to keeping temps down under shade cloth is to keep the cloth damp. It acts like its own natural swamp cooler. Set up an intermittent sprayer for the cloth or attach a drip hose to the tops of the sides and run it on a timer. If not done on a timer you will end up growing a bit of algae. It works. I'm in the mojave and it's the only way I can grow in the hottest months.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
b54red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 6,510

I have decided to go with the 50% shade cloth and now need to find the cheapest source. Yesterday it only got into the 70s but even with the little air conditioner running it was too hot inside for starting seeds. I only use my small greenhouse for starting and getting seedlings up to size to plant. Unless I can lessen the heat enough I will be unable to use it to start my late summer and fall plants.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 8,185

I use 60% aluminet, purchased from

I found it to be much cheaper to get two small pieces instead of one big one. I was originally going to order from Hummert, but the extra cost for the edging and grommets was as much as the cloth itself.
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