How to Reflect the Sun for Plants

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Growing plants without a proper light source can seem impossible at times. Thankfully, it does not have to be so. If you want to fill that shady area of your garden with some sunlight-loving plants, consider creating a light reflecting system to give them the essential sunlight they need. There are many materials to reflect the sunlight you need, but one of the most simple and flexible materials you can use is a Mylar blanket. These blankets have a reflective side that, when properly handled, can aim light right into the shady spots of your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Mylar blankets
  • Wood
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Stand in your yard over the course of a day holding a Mylar blanket. Hold the reflective side of the Mylar blanket facing away from you so you can see where the sunlight is heading. This will give you an idea of what sunlight you can expect during the course of the day and where you should install the Mylar blankets for the optimal sunlight. Test the sunlight's trajectory as it bounces off your Mylar blanket at 8 in the morning, 10 in the morning, noon, 2 in the afternoon and 4 in the afternoon. The time between 8 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon provides the best quality of sunlight for your plants.

  • Have a friend lay out some string that follows the path of reflected light when you test the Mylar blankets' effectiveness. This creates a visible path that tells you where the light is going and where you need to place your frame to ensure it gets there. You may notice as the day progresses that you need to move to continue shining sunlight on the right spot. Have your friend mark the trajectory of the light every time you test the light. You should end up with five lines of string.

  • Drive two wooden stakes into the ground to build your frame. Drive them deep enough that they are easily able to stand on their own. Angle the frame as closely as possible to your original position when you tested the sunlight. Build five small frames or one large frame to reflect the light throughout the day.

  • Stretch your Mylar blanket over the frame and use nails to secure it in place. Leave the blanket a little slack while you fasten it. If you stretch the Mylar too tightly, it may be more susceptible to damage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set a thermometer in the area where your Mylar blankets are in direct sunlight. Too much light and heat can damage your plants. The thermometer can tell you if your Mylar blankets are creating an environment that is a little too hot for your plants.
  • Check your Mylar blankets regularly for any damage. If they begin to show wear, replace them before they become ineffective in reflecting sunlight to your plants.
  • Mylar blankets reflect a lot of heat. Set them far enough away from your plants to ensure the heat reflected from the Mylar blanket does not damage them.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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