Tomato plants covered with 30% shade, July 5, 2012

Tomato plants covered with 30% shade, July 5, 2012

Updated: September 16, 2021
By Gerald (Jerry) Brust

Tomato plastic mulch and shade study - 2012

Tomato plants were transplanted on May 7, 2012 into black (grower standard), white or reflective plastic mulch.

Five different varieties of tomato were used: Mt Spring+, Celebrity, Mt Fresh+, Crista and Scarlet Red.

When tomato plants began to develop fruit, a 30% shade cloth was randomly placed over 6-10 plants per row.

All plants were treated with fungicides four times (chlorothalonil and copper). Shaded plants were sprayed through the shade cloth.

Shade cloth covered 50-70% of the plant, bottom of plants were not shaded.

At each harvest (5 harvests) the shade cloth was removed from one side of a row and laid over the other side, once harvest was over shade was placed back in its original position.

Two types of yield were taken. Total yield: All ripe tomatoes were picked off a plant and were counted and weighed and Marketable yield: Tomatoes that rated extra large or large with no defects, were counted and weighed.

At the end of harvest shade cloth was removed completely and comparisons between plants were taken.