How to choose a shade net is a question farmers ask us when procuring shade netting for vegetables, fruit trees fencing and for covering fish ponds
What are shade nets?
Shade nets are HDPE, UV treated woven or knitted netting material that regulate the amount of light and heat from the sun, air and moisture. Shade nets reduce the temperature delta (difference between day and night temperatures), thereby avoiding a sudden temperature variation, so that plants don’t suffer from thermal shock A good degree of beneficial moisture is trapped between the ground and the net. They are water permeable so that rain water, and irrigation water will reach the crop and keep it hydrated
Shade net percentages indicate the amount of shade provided by the different types of agricultural nets. How to choose a shade net for farming is key for crop performance. In this write up we also answer other questions asked by farmers who buy shade nets for agriculture
Before learning how to choose a shade net, a grower must understand the types of shade nets available, and how shade nets work
What are the types of shade nets?
- Woven shade nets. They are made from polypropylene, are heavier and allow heat build up. They withstand the most extreme exposure to the sun, and have minimum shrinkage. Woven shade nets are for shading of plants, pet kennels, windscreens, patios and for privacy. Woven shade nets are 30% heavier than knitted shade nets, and are difficult to install
- Knitted shade nets. They are made up lightweight polyethylene. They have an open lock-stitch design that resists wind damage, and reduces heat build up in the net. The level of shrinkage is 2% to 3%. Knitted shade nets have better longevity in agricultural use as they resist agro-chemicals and detergents. They are preferred for shade houses, and greenhouses.
Grekkon Limited’s shade nets are all knitted with monofilament fabric which is durable due to he thicker thread. A thicker thread has a longer process of photo oxidation as compared to a thinner thread, hence the longer lifespan
By % shade
- 90% shade nets are appropriate for crop nurseries located in low altitude or extremely hot locations
- 75% shade nets are preferred for nurseries in high to mid altitude locations that are also hot. They are also used in the hardening stage of seedlings in hot low altitudes. This will grow ferns, orchids and succulents
- 55% shade nets are for hardening of nursery crops, or for growing plants in very hot locations for crops that are sensitive to intense sunlight. Good for growing cabbage, geraniums, lettuce, foliage plants, cuttings, orchids and most potted plants
- 30% shade nets are for growing crops that need just a little bit of shading, yet lots of light for photosynthesis. Great for growing heat tolerant plants like tomato, pepper, roses, strawberry, cucumber and squash
The color choice does not affect the performance for these two. Both allow all light wavelengths go through. However, brightly colored shade nets like white and aluminum reflect the sun’s heat creating a cooling effect
How do shade nets work?
They absorb or reflect the sun’s heat. They act as filters by depriving the plants of excess sunlight
How to choose a shade net for plants
1. Crop type
Some crops perform better under full solar exposure, and others under shade. A farmer must understand if or not the crop will bear well under shade. Ample sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis, the process by which plants make food
2. Crop stage of growth
Tender plants in the nursery are best shaded by 90% or 75% shad nets. It is important to understand how much does a shade net reduce the temperature in nurseries. 50% to 30% is for the hardening stage
Farmers in warmer low lands work with 90% and 75% most of the time. Farmers in the cooler highlands prefer 75% to 30%.
A 90% shade net is more expensive than a 75% one, and so on. The more shading you get, the more you pay for it. Shade net prices in Kenya by Grekkon Limited are;
1. 30% nets. Kes 65/ M square
2. 55% nets. Kes 80/ M square
3. 75% nets. Kes 110/M square
4. 90% nets. Kes 170/M square
When you buy a shade net, volume discounts apply.
How to choose a shade net FAQs
i. Does rain go through a shade net?
Yes it does, but the droplets are slower and lesser in size
ii. What percentage shade net should I use?
As explained in 1 -5 above
iii. Can you grow vegetables under a shade net?
Yes you will
iv. How do you build a net house?
This is build by setting up a wooden or steel frame structure, then covering it on top and sides with a shade net
v. What is the difference between a greenhouse and a shade house?
A greenhouse allows all light through. A shade net keeps off a certain amount of light
vi. Can you put a shade net directly on plants?
Yes. it must not interfere with the plant’s growth
vii. Does a shade net block the wind?
Yes, a shade net is also a windbreaker in windy farms
viii. Does a shade net block UV rays?
Yes it does.