Shade Nets For Greenhouse Hydroponics Growers

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Shade nets or shade screens are important to use in growing hydroponics vegetables inside greenhouses in the Philippines. Greenhouses are indispensable to protect plants grown in hydroponic systems by offering rain, wind, sun, and pest & insect protection. However, depending on the design and build of the greenhouse, a common problem to avoid is the accumulation of higher temperatures inside the greenhouse than the outside environment.

 

LOTS OF SUN, TOO MUCH HEAT

In the Philippines, there is no shortage of high intensity sunlight throughout the year varying between 11 hours per day to 13 hours per day depending on the season. What lacks in sunlight duration (some European countries get up to 16.5 hours of sunlight in the summer), we have intense solar irradiation with a high UV index being so close to the equator. With this much sun and the accompanying heat, growing leafy vegetables is a challenge. While plants need the sunlight, the heat intensity needs to be managed effectively. It’s a unique problem countries around the equator face that requires a different set of solutions. 

 

WATCH THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY

Have you ever seen your lettuce plants wilt in the afternoon hours when the sun is shining bright? Then in the early evening the plant will recover and look normal again. If you have a hygrometer, an instrument to measure humidity in the air, you’ll see that there exists an inverse relationship between temperatures and relative humidity. Relative humidity is the percentage of water content saturation in the air at a certain temperature. When the sun is at its brightest at the hottest part of the day, relative humidity is at its lowest meaning the air becomes drier. The lower the relative humidity, the drier the air, the higher the plant’s evapo-transpiration rate.   

When a plant needs to work too hard to keep up with higher rates of transpiration, it can lead to water stress – a defense mechanism triggered by the plant to avoid losing too much water by closing its stomata. When this happens, the plant also stops the intake of CO2 which leads to impeded growth by not being able to photosynthesize properly.

 

 

COOLING DOWN WITH SHADE NETS

One of the key solutions to avoid water stress is to shield the plant leaf surface from the intensity of the sun. Using shade nets with the appropriate sun shade rating (50%, 70%, 80%) allows the plant leaf surface and the interior microclimate of the greenhouse to be a few degrees cooler than outside the greenhouse. You’ll notice that the plants no longer wilt in bright sunny days which tells you that the plant is not stress-induced and can carry out its normal transpiration cycles depending on the outdoor temperature and relative humidity.

Shading is also very important to keep hydroponic reservoirs cool. High recirculating water temperatures lowers the amount of oxygen present in the nutrient solution and will inevitably lead to pathogenic root rot. Another is to keep direct sunlight away from nutrient-rich solution to avoid the formation of algae, tiny microscopic plants that feed in N-rich waters.

If you need to buy shade nets, you can check out the links below.

 

 

50% Black Shade Net

Available in the following sizes: 6ftx50m, 8ftx50m, 10ftx50m, 12ftx50m. All rolls are 50 meters long

70% Black Shade Net

Available in the following sizes: 6ftx50m, 8ftx50m, 10ftx50m, 12ftx50m. All rolls are 50 meters long