Shade Cloth: Not Just for Sun
We’ve talked before about shade cloth and its utility in protecting bonsai during hot summer weather. There’s one other protective measure that it provides, though…
Hail of various sizes tends to start falling in the spring. Some is so small it was called ‘sleet’ where I grew up, diminutive ice balls around the size of sesame seeds, which cause no damage. Then you get into the small aduki beans which will begin marking leaves and knocking a few off. And finally there’s the great northern beans that can begin causing damage even to branches. (I’m leaving out the clementine-sized hail that might be worthy of hiding in a cellar.)
Normal shade cloth that you put up for sun definitely helps protect trees from damaging hail. Some folks simply put this up a bit early for that reason. There’s also speciality cloth called ‘hail netting’, which can greatly reduce damage and might be something to consider if you don’t need sun protection yet get frequent and damaging deluges of great northern bean-sized or larger hail.
More about setting up a structure to protect bonsai from sun or hail: https://crataegus.com/2015/09/16/building-a-metal-shadecloth-structure/