How To Build Shade for Your Plant

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Some plants require full sunlight, while others need partial or full shade. Full-grown trees are a natural shade element for landscaping and can be used as a canopy for some plants. There may be areas in the landscaping that will not allow for the planting of a shade tree. This is where constructing shade can be a useful and appealing landscaping element.

Things You'll Need

  • Winter pruning of branches and sticks from trees and shrubs Hammer Metal tie wire Wire pliers Metal posts Shade cloth 10-foot long wooden posts Shovel Post-hole diggers Level Ready mix concrete (optional) Stepladder 16 p Nails

Sticks and Branches

  • Collect all of the branches and sticks that may be normally discarded from winter season pruning.

  • Construct shade covers from these branches and sticks by first pounding, with the hammer, the larger branches in the ground to act as supports posts for a stick and branch frame. The layout of the posts should be as wide as the longest branch you have so it can be tied onto the post for horizontal support.

  • Use the metal tie wire and pliers to attach the horizontal braches to the support posts you hammered into the ground. Theses branches should be tied with the wire to support the sticks or branches to the posts. You can construct longer branch supports by wire-tying the branches together lengthwise.

  • Lay smaller sticks and branches across these horizontal supports as thick or as thin as the shade needed for the plants beneath the canopy. These wood type structures will last for a full growing season and can be used in the compost pile the following winter.

Shade Cloth

  • Use the hammer and pound the metal posts into the ground at the appropriate distance for the shade cloth you purchased. Some shade cloth comes with preinstalled brass eyes for the proper attachment to metal posts. This will dictate how many posts you need and how far apart they need to be placed. Shade cloth with no brass eyes should have support posts approximately every 8 to 10 feet.

  • Attach the shade cloth with the metal wire to the post using the wire pliers. Place the wire through the brass eyes. If the shade cloth does not have brass eyes for the attachment point, gather a small tuft of material. Wrap this tuft with the wire and then wrap the wire around the metal post.

  • Use the wooden posts for larger garden areas where the shade cloth may have to span a wide space. Manufacturers of shade cloth will have specially constructed cloth that can span a large area between supports. See the link below for specifics.

  • Dig a hole with the shovel for the installation of the wooden posts. For the 10-foot long wooden posts, the hole should be at least 24 to 36 inches deep to support the shade cloth during a heavy wind. The posthole digger will help to remove the dirt as the hole becomes deeper.

  • Backfill the hole after the post has been set and leveled on both sides You may want to use a bag of ready-mix concrete if the soil is loose and cannot be compacted. Allow the post to cure if you use the concrete.

  • Use the stepladder to attach the shade cloth to the wooden posts with the 16 p nails and the hammer. The shade cloth manufacturer may have a special fastener for its particular type of shade cloth and this may employ a different attachment.

Tips & Warnings

  • When dismantling the wood type shade structure for the compost pile, keep the wire for the next year. The metal wire will last many seasons if kept under roof during the winter months.
  • Depending of your climate you may want to remove the shade cloth for the winter season. The cloth is designed to shade plants and may not withstand heavy snows or ice accumulation.

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