Does Anyone Use Shade Sails for Plants?

hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)July 22, 2009

Hiya all,

Nice spring here, but the triple digits finally arrived.

Blackened roses, cooked daylily scapes and shrivelled irises, even the ivy geranium leaves are turning yellow. The succulents? Forget it. They boiled.

Does anyone use shade cloth or a shade sail as a temporary solution? I bought four Chinese paper parasols, and they have saved four newish roses, and my regular umbrella is being used by the cucumbers, but it's going to look like London in a rainstorm if I plant any more out there.

Any original, brilliant ideas, cheap sources of shade cloth, suggestions to rip out my garden and plant California Buckwheat?


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I'm curious -- does this happen every summer?

Why this summer?


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:56PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi Joe,

It happened last summer and this summer because I put in two new beds.
The new rose and daylily bed is in full sun where the lawn used to be. I didnÂt realize that when it says "full sun" for a daylily or a rose it doesnÂt necessarily mean OUR full sun in SoCal.

I donÂt know whatÂs up with the ivy geraniums. I replaced the old ones with new ones this spring in new colors, and they do not seem to hold up as well to the heat.

As for the veggie bed, I talked my neighbor into sharing the cost to cut down a damaged old pepper tree on the fence line to create sun so we could both have veggie gardens. It turns out that itÂs a bit TOO sunny for cucumbers and peppers (although the tomatoes and eggplants are doing great).

The succulent garden is next to the veggie beds, and I didn't realize the succulents would fry without the morning shade from that tree. I moved most of them last year (they are still sitting, unplanted, behind the chicken coop) but I was hoping the less "juicy" ones would adapt. I love how they look there: I built a nice little hump of dirt and rock that looks a little like Mike is buried under there and I would love to keep the area like it is, with the flagstone path winding around it (reflecting the heat up).

I have a grapefruit tree in one bed that will eventually get big enough to help some of the succulents, and Mike built me another arbor, which will provide shade to some roses etc. by next year. IÂm most concerned with the veggie bed, just for July and August. It would be ideal to have something that I could take down so that I could grow veggies all year.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 8:43PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

If you are looking for cheap sources of shade cloth check out FarmTek, TekSupply, or other agriculture suppliers.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:32PM
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I purchased "Coolaroo" shade cloth from Home Depot on line.
It is 6' x 15' and I folded the corners over to strengthen the eyelets. I have 3 in my veggie patch. Also look at Harbor Freight Tools they have 6' colored umbrellas that go on sale periodically.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 1:17PM
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miketrees(WA Australia)

Sorry I cant answer your question on where to find cheap shadecloth.

I would just like to add the observation that here, where I work shadecloth is used almost exclusivly for growing crops such as capsicums(peppers)and tomato.
They thrive under the shade with better crops and a much longer growing season.
The shade houses also give bird and wind protection.
The shade houses are totally enclosed and cost about A$80K per Ha (2.4acre)
These shade houses are also much warmer in winter which helps in winter crops.

It just struck me as being like growing crops on another planet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Yes, the heat is scorching this year. I tried umbrellas, but the wind got them, so plan B!!

I got my shade cloth at Home Depot. We used it in the vineyard on heat stressed vines, and it worked great. Just clothes-pinned it to the trellis. I still use it on baby vines, but no need for it now on the established vines. I also used it when citrus were showing heat stress, upped the water supply, and no need for it there either now.

Good luck everybody!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 12:07PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Thanks for all of the tips.

Desertdance- I bought some paper parasols and stuck rebar in the ground, then painted pvc, then the parasol, and that has extended the life of a few new roses and daylilies, but the wind is wreaking havok on mine too. I keep papier-macheing them back together again!

I am thinking about buying camouflage netting, you know, the kind they sell to hunters? and making a big shade sail.

I lost my peppers and cucumbers when it hit triple digits. I have begun giving a bit more water to the other veggies, and I may plant more cucumbers. Hang in there everyone, fall is just around the corner!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 12:02AM
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Home Depot has shade cloth that can be taken down, rolled up & used several years. It's called"Sun Screen Fabric" 6 ft x 20 ft $29.95 The stuff to put it up with is worthless. I just run a coated wire through each corner going in & coming out about 2 inches away. If you don't have a good supply of wire then just use about 6-8 ins & make a loop/circle for each corner, You will need something to attach it to such as edge of patio etc for that use can use wire or heavy twine, clothesline cord etc, whatever you have, nylon cord would not "sag" & be good. I just put 6x20 piece in tan color(comes in several colors also 100 ft rolls it is some cheaper) I attached it to garage under eaves with single nail in 2 places that took care of 6 ft width 2 loops were put in patio side & those wires were about 6 ft long as row of mini rose needed some sun but not as much as getting now that trees were taken out, other long side I had nowhere to attach except near top of apricot tree so that wire is high & across about 20 ft of yard. 6 ft end attaches to fence by 2 more nails. So require 6 -1 1/2 in. large headed shingle nails so wire wouldn't slip off. I put that wire on 1st & then pulled it tight at shadecloth end. We are under water shortage conditions & can only use sprinklers on mon. & thurs for 15 min. rest of week have to hand water after 4 or before 9 so things dry up in a hurry. My mom's lawn is coming back, they had just planted it in May, & it took all of 20 mins to get it installed. In my yard in back I have 3 installed & if gets hot like 110 I will be using piece in front yard to keep from losing my yard. In S.F. Valley we do have wind & this is very good as long as tight. I'm thinking of cementing in 4-6 spots with a piece of metal pole about 10 in long larger than the upright pole. After I cement in the 10 in. long pieces being sure to cement around them well but not in them, when dried about 1 week then I will set thinner poles in that will hold the screencloth in place. That way rest of yr I can remove poles & the cement will be even with the ground so I can go right over them with mower.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 2:03AM
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Yes, I have to shade my plants when it gets over 100 here in the San Fernando Valley. My aeoniums totally burned last year. I wrote a blog article about it a few weeks ago. Here are some of my tricks:

You can staple scraps of shade cloth (or disposable tablecloths) to small wooden fences or a frame for temporary shade. I have a few frames made up with shade cloth to lean up against the roses if they're frying.

You can also use your frost protection fabrics (like an old sheet) but I'd prop it up over your plants. You can also put an old umbrella into a tomato cage for shade.

Palm tree fronds work in a pinch, but they shrink when they dry.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 7:30PM
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The heat was cooking my late-started garden plants, so I scrounged around and found some items to make shade for the individual squares of my Square Foot Garden.
You'll find a description with pictures in a previous post I've linked to below. They've worked great for me! Hope you will find the posting helpful. Happy gardening.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homemade shade for my baking SFG garden

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:12PM
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I use milk crates for protecting newly planted young plants. I just invert the crate and place it over the plant. They're pretty heavy and don't blow around, but you can always put a brick on top. They're self-supporting, so you don't need to do any engineering. You can sometimes get them for free at local dairies. Just ask.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:32PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

jolo, you are so clever! Those are pretty, too. I have seen milk-crate type things at Target, and they look okay too.

Well, we have been lucky and the weather this August has been spectacular. My lawn is still green! It's never green at this time of the year, so I am very happy. I'm throwing a croquet party next week.

Much of my problem with the heat in the veggie garden turned out to be root knot nematodes. Nevertheless, I'm going to figure out a shade solution for next summer.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 7:07PM
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purpleclover(CA Sunset 18)


Someone who is doing active trades right now has a roll of shade cloth they want to get rid of for a trade.

It is on their trade list.

It would blow away where I am.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:27AM
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I just bought an idirect shade sail and am wondering if my satsuma tree (or anything else) will continue to grow under it

Any knowledge?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:54PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

I have a bunch of the Harbor Freight 6' umbrellas in green..bought at $7 each. They were used to provide shade when needed to all my potted stuff growing on wire tables in the nursery and I now use them stuck in the ground if I plant something that's going to need some protection for them.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:39PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I bought a 9x12 plastic cover from Harbor Freight made I think to cover loads in transit. It is very strong and I would guess at least 50% shade. I use it to cover my green house roof in the summer. Al

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:03AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

A light shade cloth over peppers works well here, too.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:00PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I don't know about your satsuma tree, Valdo. You may want to start a new post on that.

WCgypsy, I like the idea of those green umbrellas. I can't believe you got them for that price! I have been paying 30.00 for them.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:12PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Well, they're not heavy duty umbrellas...which in the case of the way in which I use them, is an advantage anyway. Harbor Freight has them on sale for this price quite often through this time of year. Stop by a HF and get on their mailing list then you'll know when they have them on sale. I bought maybe 20-30 of them and though the ones I have left are now pretty ratty looking, they still have their

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:53AM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

I checked HF's website and they post the 'weekly flyer' online.....

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:14PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I saw some here for ten bucks in tan. I'll keep checking back. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:57PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I made my own from an old umbrella that was falling apart. I was going to patch it, but this works out better. I'm trying to get the second flush of Bishop's Castle Rose to open without burning. Sheesh, it hasn't been over 75 degrees here. I guess this rose is yearning for merry old England.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:33PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Hey! Great idea with the cut openings...I like that. I also like the looks of the umbrellas in the must be the vertical element. Once they're in a spot, I get used to it and hate to take them down....
Goin' out now to cut more holes in my

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:20PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

So far, so good. I'll take it down when the roses are fully opened, take a photo, and then put it back up.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:03PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Renee, I see that Polly got you over to should try ATP also....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:05AM
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This was just what I needed, LOL...thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:27AM
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