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Shade Effect on Plant Growth - Part 1 of 4

Science Behind the Shade

When and What to Shade, How Much Shade

Fabrics placed between the sun and crops can limit the kind of light or energy from the sun that reaches plants. In the coming weeks we will post short articles on the stages of crop growth and the role light plays in each, photomorphogenesis.



Different wavelengths of light (colors) alter plant growth.


Each of the below stages need a certain temperature and specific amounts of light and UV. (The information that follows is a high level summary not intended to be exhaustive. )


  • Germination: applies to any crops that start from seeds such as grains, vegetables and the plants that bears fruit

  • Seedling

  • Vegetative Growth

  • Reproduction:

    • Flowering/Fruit creation or fruit set

      • Appearance of buds then flowers

      • Pollination

    • Fruit set: Fruit develop from fertilized flowers

  • Ripening and Harvest


We will include crop specific information like:



  • Too much shade causes stems to elongate, can’t tolerate more than about 25% shade cloth

  • To little UV causes reduction in nutrients and flavor:

    • Possible cause: Textiles like poly film, greenhouse curtain, or insect netting that block too much UV or PAR

Part 2 - We will review the different components of the sun’s energy and how it supports Plant Growth.


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