XL unveils innovative polytunnel products

Devon's XL Horticulture used the National Fruit Show to showcase innovations for protected-fruit growers.

It unveiled SunMaster DuraLite, an ultraviolet-open polytunnel film with a puncture strength three times that of conventional films.

"When you pierce it, it's almost impossible to tear further," said owner Les Lane. The price premium will be an "irrelevant" £40 per tonne over other films, he added.

"We go after the re-cladding business," he explained. "The limiting factor in polytunnel films is usually mechanical damage."

Another means of averting this is in the form of a synthetic flat tape for tying down which is "a lot kinder" to polytunnel film than the ropes usually employed, as well as being quicker to secure and adjust using specially designed clips, Lane went on.

XL has also developed a ratcheted pulley system for raising and lowering film doors on tunnels that can also be used for side vents.

Next on the horizon is flame-retardant film that would retain the light permeability of the films that XL has already developed, Lane added. "I've never heard of a polytunnel catching fire, but if it did you wouldn't want to be underneath it."


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