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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Can You Shade Grow Any Tobacco Variety? (and have it be good)

davek14

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#1
I was reading about shade grown Connecticut tobacco and was wondering if you can shade grow any tobacco. I'm wanting to do a few more plants this year than last and have somewhat limited sunny space. There is a shade tree I could grow a few under conveniently. I would avoid the root issue with raised beds and/or growing in hay bales.
 

deluxestogie

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#2
I would guess that you can shade-grow most cigar varieties. They may need support. Most shade-grown leaf is not topped.

You are correct about paying attention to the tree roots. They will certainly suck the moisture out of the soil beneath your raised beds, so be attentive to that.

Bob
 

DistillingJim

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#3
When I grew Tutu's Besuki last year, the spot I grew it was heavily shaded which I suspect contributed to its poor growth
 

deluxestogie

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#4
By shade-growing, I specifically mean in shade that reduces the total daily sun exposure by roughly 30 to 40%, either by total shade for part of the day, or by partial shade throughout the day. Connecticut Shade is grown beneath 40% shade cloth. Certain areas of Indonesia and Ecuador grow beneath clouds (tropical or cloud forest conditions).

The most common problem with growing in the shade of most residential properties is that the trees producing the shade are close enough to inhibit growth by root intrusion. This is not a problem if there are very tall trees at a significant distance, or the lay of the land (together with distant trees) blocks part of the sun's path.

Shade from nearby structures (a house, a fence, etc.) may shade for part of the day. Whether it gives you a shade-grown response from tobacco depends, to a large extent, on the color and reflectivity of the structure. As an example, I regularly grow tobacco in a long bed beside my house. The house completely blocks the sun for about 1/3 of every day. But the house is sheathed in white vinyl siding. So the tobacco gets shade, but then gets blasted with direct and reflected sun for the remainder of the day. It doesn't seem to create thinner, larger leaves, but instead gives me hardy, normal size leaf with a rich aroma and flavor.

I would say that growing within the drip margin (directly beneath the canopy) of a large tree is usually a troublesome location. Since I haven't created raised beds, I can't comment on the degree to which that would mitigate the issue of root intrusion.

Bob
 

LeftyRighty

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#6
About a third of my garden tobacco plot is in shade for most of the day, or under the canopy of a large tree. I still plant there, but only varieties that I'll use in less quantity in my cigarette blends, like burley or turkish.
Definitely, the plants are smaller, with thinner, smaller leaf, and less nicotine and milder flavor. This works well for me, I'm still getting tobacco out of this space and a nice blend.
 

Smokin Harley

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#8
jitterbugs right. You could grown anything under (controlled) shade . whether or not it "turns out right" depends on the variety ,its growing needs, and your expected results. I grew my last crop in northern IL under shade and besides my originally intended Ct Shade and Habano 2000 ,I also grew a few others - Comstock Spanish ,Coroja and one other I cant remember off the top of my head . Ct Shade and H2K turned out superior IMO as far as size ,quality, elasticity and thinness of leaf . Its still in storage tubs aging so I can't say yet about taste nor combustibility. The Coroja IMO didn't turn out quite that good,plant and leaf size was very small compared to the row I planted in full sun . When its all aged out I'm sure the shade grown flavors will be mild.
 
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#10
I was reading about shade grown Connecticut tobacco and was wondering if you can shade grow any tobacco. I'm wanting to do a few more plants this year than last and have somewhat limited sunny space. There is a shade tree I could grow a few under conveniently. I would avoid the root issue with raised beds and/or growing in hay bales.
"Shade grown" refers to growing tobacco under cloth in cloth tents, as shown in my icon picture. Cheesecloth was originally used in Connecticut but we use synthetic cloth now. It doesn't mean growing in the shade of trees. That being said, if you are growing some kind of wrapper tobacco, you will probably achieve thinner leaves by growing in any kind of shade. If you want thinner leaves, don't top the tobacco, but be vigilant in removing any flowers that fall on the leaves, as they will produce "flower burn"
 
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