Sudlac shading products give greenhouse growers of flowers and vegetables the ability to increase and extend production during periods of warm temperatures and high light levels.
High temperatures and high light levels, especially during the summer can have negative effects on ornamental and vegetable crops produced in protected structures, including greenhouses. An economical way for growers to reduce light and temperature levels is by applying shading products to greenhouse glazing materials.
“The application of shading products is related to maximizing the production capacity of the greenhouse,” said Ruben Lensing, area export manager at Sudlac. “Shading products can allow a grower to optimize the climate in the greenhouse, therefore increasing yields without having to invest in more structures. Warm temperatures can impact crop yields, whether a grower is producing flowers or vegetables. If it is too warm, a grower can bring down the temperature by applying a shading product, which can improve crop yields as well as extending production during warmer periods.
“Typically in July and August the greenhouse environment is much too warm in many parts of the U.S. During this time if the grower doesn’t reduce the temperature there will be some crop loss. If the temperature is reduced with shading, a grower may not be able to produce as much as in the spring, but the crop will survive and produce during these warmer months as well as into September and October. The use of shading is all about increasing crop productivity and extending the time of production.”
Application for all types of crops
Lensing said all types of growers are using Sudlac shading products.
“Sudlac products are used on all types of greenhouse crops including cut flowers, potted plants and vegetables,” he said. “Sudlac products are also now being used on the production of the newest greenhouse crop—cannabis. “I am visiting some greenhouse growers in the U.S. who are looking to change their crop from flowers to cannabis.
“Since there are more vegetables grown worldwide in greenhouse and protected structures, Sudlac products are used more with vegetable production. That is only because of the size of the worldwide vegetable market.”
Lensing said Sudlac products are being used to increase production of both flowers and vegetables.
“With cut flowers, such as freesias, alstroemeria and gerbera, there are more shoots produced,” he said. “This means more flowers are produced per plant. Also, there is less fading of the flower color so the color is more intense.”
For potted plants, Lensing said certain kinds of shading can create more compact plants.
“Using a shade product can lower temperature at high light levels,” he said. “This allows a grower to produce a sturdy compact plant that is higher quality. This may also allow a grower to eliminate or reduce the amount of plant growth regulators that are needed. Applying shade can lower production costs and increase a grower’s return on investment.”
Lensing said the benefit of applying shade for vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, can result in more fruit produced per plant. Also, with some crops the fruit are also heavier.
“Applying a shade product translates to more flowers and fruit per plant which means a higher return for the grower,” he said.
Different products for different needs
Sudlac offers six different products for the U.S. market, including three shading products, two light diffusing coatings and one shade removing cleaner. Sudlac shading products can be used on all types of glazing material, including polyethylene, rigid materials including acrylic and polycarbonate, and glass.
Eclipse LD was the first Sudlac product sold in the United States and is the most widely sold product. LD stands for long duration. It is a protective coating against heat and light.
“When Eclipse LD is applied to the greenhouse it lowers the temperature and reduces the amount of light entering the greenhouse,” Lensing said. “Since Eclipse LD lowers the temperature when it is applied on where a greenhouse is located in the U.S. If the greenhouse is in the southern U.S., it might be applied as early as the end of February or beginning of March. In a more northern climate like Minnesota, Eclipse LD probably would be applied in April. Eclipse LD should be taken off when natural light levels decline, which is usually from September to November in most of the U.S. depending on location. It depends on where the greenhouse is located and climate conditions.”
Transpar is also a removable protective coating that maintains photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) light levels.
“Transpar is a coating that reflects infrared radiation, which is the light that produces the heat in the greenhouse,” Lensing said. “The PAR light is allowed into the greenhouse.”
Optifuse is a removable coating that lets all the light into the greenhouse, but spreads the light.
“Optifuse diffuses the light,” Lensing said. “It spreads the light in the greenhouse so plants won’t burn. This is very important for flowers, lettuce and other vegetables.
“The advantage of using Optifuse is to allow as much light into the greenhouse as possible. Optifuse can be used in dark areas where there isn’t a lot of sunlight. When the light comes into the greenhouse all of it comes in, but it is spread throughout the greenhouse.
“There is one application exception with Optifuse shading product,” Lensing said. “Optifuse cannot be used on polyethylene film, but it can be used on every other type of glazing.
Optifuse IR is combines and properties of Optifuse and Transpar.
“Optifuse IR lowers the temperature by reflecting infrared radiation,” Lensing said. “It diffuses the light into the greenhouse like Optifuse and lowers the temperature like Transpar.”
Sombrero is an economical whitewash liquid. Like Eclipse it lowers the temperature. It is commonly used in warmer climates including southern California, Florida and Texas. Sombrero is removed by rain or water and no special product has to be applied to remove it from the greenhouse glazing.
Topclear is a shade removing product used to take off Eclipse LD, Transpar, Optifuse and Optifuse IR.
“It is important to use Topclear to remove these shading compounds,” Lensing said. “In most parts of the U.S. from September through November all of the shade should be removed from the greenhouse so that the glazing is completely clean to optimize plant production during the winter months.”
David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas; firstname.lastname@example.org.