Using Shade Cloth to Prevent Heat Damage in Summer Broccoli

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2021: $10,320.00
Projected End Date: 11/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Urbanowicz Farm
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Project Leader:
Andrew Urbanowicz
Urbanowicz Farm


  • Vegetables: broccoli


  • Crop Production: other, shade cloth

    Proposal summary:

    This project seeks to determine if heat damage in summer broccoli production can be significantly reduced by shading the plants with tobacco shade cloth and/or commercial shade cloth. The remedy for heat damage in summer broccoli crops has principally been through planting heat tolerant varieties, but tolerance does not equate to resistance, and during the ever increasing extreme summer heat significant damage still occurs. This project seeks to tackle this situation from the perspective of keeping the environment around the plant cooler, thereby preventing the heat damage from occurring.

    If this project is successful it will help farmers to meet the high market demand for summer broccoli in a more sustainable way by reducing damage losses from extreme heat.

    The outreach plan is to hold an on-farm field day to share the results of this project. Additionally, articles concerning this project will be published in the UMASS Vegetable Notes Newsletter.


    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to determine whether or not a simulated shade environment will actually yield more uniform summer broccoli production. This study seeks to compare plots of a heat tolerant variety against plots of a heat susceptible variety, further comparing sub plots without cover, with tobacco shade netting, and with commercial horticultural shade netting. If the shading is successful, it would help other farmers to produce summer broccoli in the river valley, thereby improving their farm income. Further if the use of the shade tobacco netting is successful, it could create an adaptive reuse of a waste product that is piled away in many barns in the area. Lastly, this project will answer whether, if successful, the cost of shading the broccoli produces an economically significant boost in production over broccoli grown in the conventional manner.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.