Many improvements have been made since polyethylene sheeting was first used to cover greenhouses to help growers better control the elements. Now, growers in all industries rely on the durability and strength of greenhouse covers for their crops. When looking for the right cover for your plants, it’s important to understand the strength and thickness of the polyethylene film, its composition, additives, chemical makeup, and how it supports your needs. Before you purchase a greenhouse cover, here’s how to assess those factors and determine whether your selected cover is right for your project.
1. Film Life
Polyethylene film has a limited lifespan due to degradation processes caused by sunlight, heat, and exposure. With the inclusion of low-cost copolymer poly in the manufacturing of these products, you can expect the plastic cover to last for one season. Its most ideal uses include seasonal greenhouses, overwintering structures, and high tunnels.
Greenhouse-grade poly, on the other hand, is built to last up to four or more years and can sustain you through multiple seasons. However, it is more expensive than construction grade poly that you find in your local DIY store. This durability is due to the built-in ultraviolet stabilizers that reduce degradation.
In addition to these options, if you are working in a high-wind location, you should consider using a woven poly or scrim-reinforced material.
The thickness of these covers varies based on the needs of your project. Greenhouse films are available in a range of thicknesses from 3-12 mil. For example, if you are in an area with high wind, or plan to leave your greenhouse up through the winter in an area that snows, you may want to consider a thicker material.
3. Condensation Control
Another factor to consider is condensation control. Anti-condensate is an option that can be applied to your greenhouse cover. If not controlled, condensation droplets can reduce light transmission and lead to disease problems. This coating reduces surface tension, allowing condensation to flow rather than form droplets.
4. Reduced Nighttime Heat Loss
Overnight weather can be detrimental to your greenhouse. It’s important to consider an additive that traps the radiant heat inside. Double-layer poly installations are a great option to minimize heat loss. An infrared (IR) film is installed as the inner layer of this poly to retain nighttime heat. You may also experience additional benefits from this infrared film, including increased plant color and compactness and accelerated crop development due to the higher nighttime plant temperature.
5. Bee Compatibility
Bee pollination is extremely important for many growers. If you use this method for your plants, you need a film that allows ultraviolet light to pass through and guide bees to the right plants. The right UV blocking film will also reduce unwanted insects and can control some fungal diseases.
6. Controlled Diffusion
Light diffusion is a popular property that has been added to improve greenhouse covers. This refers to increasing diffused light to plants while reducing scorching of top leaves and transmitting light to lower leaves. Light diffusion also allows plants to grow more steadily and produce tall vegetable crops.
When shopping for your greenhouse cover, it’s essential that you consider all of the elements needed to properly protect your crops. During the current supply shortages and shipping delays, we understand that obtaining the right materials for your products can be difficult.
We are the source for multiple types of greenhouse covers and can help you get the tools you need quickly. All of our products are American-made and come in a variety of stock and custom fabrications. Due to our wealth of products, we can deliver everything you need for your projects more quickly.
Trusted by Growers, Builders, and Distributors
Americover is the smart source for plastic and polyethylene sheeting. Trusted by contractors and distributors across the construction and agriculture industries, our American-made products combine reliability with quality and innovation.
As an Americover customer, you will receive the personalized support of a dedicated account manager to simplify the ordering process and ensure the best solution for every one of your projects. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to answer your questions and fulfill orders Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. If you would like to speak with a representative, call us at 760-388-6294 or contact us.