In modern times, orchardists and horticulturists are constantly looking for ways to optimize plants and fruits. Over the last 20 years, reflective mulches, foils, and fabrics have been introduced to reflect or redirect light back into the lower and middle parts of the plant shaded by the top vegetative canopy. More of the entire light spectrum is available, improving photosynthesis.
The increased light result is:
- greater growth
- better fruit quality
- and a higher percentage of the mature crops at first picking
Some researchers have noted that reflective mulches and fabrics benefit from acting as an insect repellent.
Foil and plastic mulches are less expensive and are trenched in and held in place with soil. As such, these products are not very durable and typically last one season or less. Woven reflective fabrics are more expensive, but are abrasion and tear-resistant and can hold heavy farm equipment.
Typically these fabrics are UV treated and are water and air permeable and can be used for 5 or more seasons. When the season is over, they can be rolled up and stored for later use. Additionally, the fabrics can be moved around the orchard, depending on the needs of various blocks of trees and varieties. Generally, the reflective fabrics are placed in the rows between plants and trees and secured using a bungee cord and fabric clip or attachment.
Belton Industries is available to assist you with your reflective fabric needs or other custom fabric solutions for agriculture and horticulture uses. Please contact us for more information.