In response to an increase in the frequency of thunderstorms that produce damaging hail, some apple growers have started to

In response to an increase in the frequency of thunderstorms that produce damaging hail, some apple growers have started to cover their apple orchards with large nets. While these nets protect the apple trees from hail damage, the nets also decrease the amount of light that reaches the trees. In an attempt to reduce the impact of shading by the nets, researchers investigated the ability of different ground covers placed around the base of the trees to reflect light back to the apple trees. An apple orchard with genetically identical apple trees was divided in half. A reflective ground cover was applied to one half of the orchard, while grass was left as the ground cover for the other half. A sample of apples was taken from every tree. The percent of light reflected by the two ground covers was measured at three distances above the ground (Figure 1).

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