Shading Dahlias With Umbrellas

The way we do it. - Don & Carroll McAllister



Shading dahlias is certainly a curious activity for neighbors and alley walkers. However, these temporary umbrellas are also an effective way to develop better blooms for showing.  We own about 50 umbrellas and each year during show season our back yard takes on the appearance of an umbrella city with daily changes.


So, how do we do umbrellas?


To support the umbrellas we use what are known as ‘U’ or utility posts which can be obtained at almost any good building center.


In order to accommodate different plant heights we have posts in 4, 5 and 6-foot lengths. 

The tools and materials we use are pictured to the right. 

For ease of use, the post driver should be the lightest weight one can find.


We have also found that the inexpensive duct tape works much better for our purposes than the super sticky premium grades.

The umbrellas we purchase at Wal-Mart. 

To set the ‘U’ post, I use the small sledge to position and start the post. I then drive it home with the small post driver.


WARNING:I have found that using the sledge to do the whole job will quickly lead to nagging wrist and elbow pain. 

For convenience, I first tear off two strips of duct tape in the lengths I think I will need and stick them to my shirt.

The umbrellas are then opened and positioned to the desired height with the shaft cradled in the ‘U’ of the utility post.

The top of the umbrella shaft is taped to the post first with about three turns of duct tape.

The umbrella handle is then taped to the post.

And, the finished product looks this.

The result is blooms that have retained the delicate shading and colors they are capable of producing.


Protection from rain and hail can be an additional advantage in some parts of the planet.

To remove the umbrella from the post, one can simply cut the tape with a utility knife and turn the shaft of the umbrella until the tape winds off the post.