Shading tomato plants: Avoiding sunburn, sunscald in hot weather
During sunny hot weather the hot sun may sunburn/sunscald your tomatoes. Best to make some shade for that especially-hot-afte-2 p.m. sun if you can.
50% shade cloth works well and is simple to use. Most shade cloth sold in big box stores is about 75%. That means it filters out about 75% of the sun. 50% is better and easily purchased online.
Using 50% shade cloth, cut strips about 2-3 feet wide and about 6 feet tall. As seen in the picture, hang these strips on the outside of the cages to shield plants from the hot blistering sun. You may need 2 strips on one plant. You can leave the shade cloth hanging on the cages 24/7 for the rest of the season. This will help prevent sunscald/sunburn.
If you see that your tomatoes are getting sunburned, sometimes it’s best to pick them a little early and let them finish ripening inside. When it gets really hot, many tomato plants stop producing red pigment; instead of turning red, tomatoes will ripen an orange color.
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Dave Freed / the Tomato Guy