Research by UF/IFAS shows that the right amount of shade increases citrus yields, reduces tree stress, and more.

A three-year study by UF/IFAS has shown multiple benefits of “mild shade” for citrus, including increasing citrus yields. The results were shared in a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week in a Citrus Industry article. The research tested 30%, 50%, 70% shade, and full shade on citrus. See the details below.

Increase in Citrus Yields and More

According to the article, “Mild shade reduces stress, increases growth and yield, and may improve pest management under huanglongbing (HLB).” Shade for citrus can take the following forms:

1) Citrus under protective screen is already being used.

2) Individual protective covers can be optimized to provide the healthiest amount of shade.

3) Particle film technology (kaolin clay) can be similarly dosed.

The article also maintained that “It may be worthwhile to invest in approaches to shade netting for production of high-value varieties.”

Other results from the research, in addition to increases in citrus yields, include:

  • “It reduces high temperature and water stresses.”
  • “Shade also may reduce HLB transmission by making trees less visible to Asian citrus psyllids (ACP).”
  • “Shaded trees have less ACP, and shade appears to reduce the severity of HLB symptoms in already infected trees.”
  • “30% shade doubledthe yield, on average, of HLB-affected shaded trees compared with trees in full sun.”
  • “Too much shade, though, (50% and 70% shade) reduced yields relative to the 30% level.”
  • “Shade improved water status and enhanced photosynthesis in HLB-positive trees.”
  • “It also made trees more heat tolerant.”
  • “Overall, shaded trees were less stressed and grew more than full-sun trees.”

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