The Food Forest

Sunscreen for Plants

Home gardeners and commercial fruit and vegetable growers have seen disastrous damage done to their crops by heat-waves over recent years. Even plantings with excellent irrigation systems have been unable to withstand the intense solar radiation.

On days when the temperature rises above 40 degrees C, the temperature of fruit in direct sunshine can top 50 degrees. This may well lead to the breakdown of tissue which manifests itself in external burning and the collapse of internal tissue into discoloured mush or shrivelled kernels.

Applied onto the plant surface with a knapsack or orchard sprayer, plant sunscreens form a film of microscopic "prisms," that reflect 85%-95% of harmful Ultraviolet radiation and reflect infra-red rays, keeping plants up to 4 degrees C cooler; however valuable photosynthetic light is still allowed to pass through to the plant which enables basic physiological processes to continue in high temperature conditions. It's like applying a powerful SPF 45 sunscreen to your crop!

apple trees in orchardThese products can reduce sun damage by as much as 40%, as well as improving crop quality through larger fruit and better colouring. Sunscreens can also reduce plant stress by 50%, improving the plant's use of available water resources.

We have successfully trialled the certified organic product Parasol-O on walnut and apple crops last year and is expecting even better yields and quality in 2011.

An interesting alternative use for Parasol is to increase chill hours in winter, vital for setting up many tree crops for proper flowering and fruit set. The Calcium carbonate based sunscreens also act as fertilisers and pH modifiers.

More technical information is available here...

Parasol, is available via the Elders group of companies (see below):

Head Office
27 Currie Street
Phone: 08 8425 4000
Fax: 08 8231 1910

Elders DiManno McLaren Vale
Lot 30 Old Mill Road
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 08 8323 7501
Fax: 08 8323 7502

Elders DiManno Virginia
Old Port Wakefield Road
Virginia SA 5120
Phone: 08 8380 9324
Fax: 08 8380 9755

Strathalbyn Merchandise
35 Milne Road
SA 5255
Phone: 08 8536 4688
Fax: 08 8536 4698

Cnr Flett & Roseworthy Road
Phone: 08 8524 8333 or 08 8521 0302 Real Estate
Fax: 08 8524 8311