“It turns out there doesn’t have to be one way to use this versatile covering”

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Michael Row at Windmill Nurseries south of Franklinton, Louisiana, USA, was considering ways to avoid dedicating a team of eight people to erecting and taking down his hoophouses ahead of the cold and rainy season from October. If only they could be left in place. The solution was a special confection of Solarwoven with an Xsect insect net. “It was fantastic,” he says. “When you walked into the new tunnel – it would be 20°F cooler than the tunnel next door. Just a much, much better environment for the people and the plants.”

It is one of the examples of the use of Solarwoven. The material, developed by Svensson, is applicable in much more occasions. Solarwoven is a 0.33mm thick plastic covering that is made from an open polyolefin weave and that is front and back encased in plastic. According to the company, the covering stands out for its strength and durability. Hugo Plaisier, Svensson Climate Consultant, elaborates: “It has a high tensile strength and will not stretch. For a grower, the screen has an interesting combination of properties. It can provide a 50% energy saving when installed to Svensson’s specifications but also provides 90% UV protection in a material that itself is UV resistant. In contrast, a typical 0.2mm conventional plastic hoophouse sheet might offer 65% UV protection. In addition, Solarwoven has a 29% shading level in diffused light conditions and 18% in direct light. This combination of shade and UV protection means it provides good protection against burning in hot conditions.”

He continues: “Its woven and encased inner structure means it will not tear and is hard to puncture. Under tests according to ISO 13934, it showed a tensile strength of 900/794 Newtons per 5cm area of material. In other words, it can withstand a lot of pulling and stretching. 900 Newtons on the warp and 794 Newtons on the weft. It is for this reason that even if a sheet of Solarwoven is pierced, a tear will not open up except under the most extreme circumstances. Solarwoven was developed to be tough, with unparalleled tensile strength.”

The Solar Woven Six: exploring the Solarwoven
At Svensson, they are convinced that these traits make the Solarwoven more versatile than other polyethylene coverings – and Michael Row with Windmill Nurseries agrees. The combination of Solarwoven sewn together with Xsect net brought remarkable results. “We took literally months off the time needed to bring the plants to maturity,” says Michael, “and next season, we will skip putting the liners in a 1-gallon pot and go straight to the 3-gallon pot,” he adds. “That will save more on labor.”

Left: Michael Row, right: Hugo Plaisier

Thanks to the cooler interior, Windmill has been able to leave the tunnels in place 365 days a year, saving a considerable four-week effort by the growing team. This has also made it possible to protect the crop year-round, which brought further benefits. “This was one of the principal goals, and it’s really worked,” he says. “Even though there is a strip of ventilating Xsect insect screen at the top of the tunnel, the mesh is so fine that it keeps heavy rain off the plants.” So, would Michael Roe feel confident recommending Svensson’s combination of expertise and screens? In other words, is he now a really, really happy customer? “Absolutely,” says Michael. “The quality of the product is great, the team is obviously willing to think out of the box, and the customer service is beyond belief,” he says, adding: “And it’s a great team to work with.”

Recently, Svensson explored why and how the greenhouse covering is used and shared their findings in a white paper. In the white paper titled ‘The Solar Woven Six’, the company delves into the stories and practical applications of Solarwoven growers worldwide, from the greenhouses of Spain to the landscapes of Louisiana. More detailed information about the different applications of Solarwoven can be read in the full whitepaper.

For more information:
Ludvig Svensson

[email protected]

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