An App for Sun and Shade

Those of you who have been reading for awhile know that I am more likely to leave my cellphone in the house than to take it outside with me. I am definitely not a digital native. So take all of what I say with that in mind.

I had thought that an app for sun and shade, appropriately called Sun and Shade Analyzer, or SASHA for short, might be quite useful in my mostly shady yard. I was particularly interested in the feature that would “predict” shade–in other words, even though it’s just mid-April now, it would tell me what the light would be like when the trees had leafed out.

That’s going to be useful to any gardener. I know that every year, I tend to underestimate the amount of shade that my big dogwood out front throws once it fully leafs out. Luckily, I am only doing so with containers that can be relocated, but imagine if I were planting under it!

But what I found was that I am too impatient to let the app load properly. I stood on my driveway for almost half an hour and it wasn’t fully loaded for my property (no, I don’t have dial up internet. I wonder if trying it on a Saturday in the midst of a pandemic made it slower?)

So while the features might be useful, I can’t stand out in the sun and wait for them. What little I did see looks interesting.

I also was not able to set the date to a date much earlier than May 16. Perhaps that’s full leaf out in my climate (I would argue that it’s a bit earlier, but fine.) I suspect that the point is that the app wanted to show me where the shading would be in full leaf.

But when I was standing under a tree throwing shade and the app is telling me that the shade would be somewhere completely different in a month, that’s when I get a bit skeptical. Hmm….

All in all, this is a useful tool, particularly for those of us that garden in a lot of shade (especially if you’re more patient than I am). It’s $4.99 in the Google play store from Hook Mountain (so far as I know, it is not available for Apple phones yet). And yes, I did buy it.

I will try it again. Perhaps I will try loading it when I get up at the crack of dawn. Less internet traffic….

3 thoughts on “An App for Sun and Shade

  1. George Koulomzin April 13, 2020 / 11:11 am

    Hello Karla –

    I see that you had difficulties running SASHA. I would love to help you out!

    First, send me some information about your cell phone. You can send it to george at hookmountain dot com. (I hope askimet doesn’t take this address out). I would need the make and model of the phone, and the Android version.

    Secondly, you should know that the app does not use the internet or phone system in any way while it is running. The only things the app waits for is a GPS signal, during which time you get a message saying “Please wait while SASHA determines your location…” As is common with GPS, this can take up to a minute. If it takes any longer than that, make sure you have location services enabled.

    On older phones, the calculations required to provide you with a result can take a bit of time. You should see a progress bar moving on your screen while this is happening. Is this where you were stuck?

    What date range did you try to set? It should work for any range from 2 days to 365 days within a year.

    Here’s how prediction works: The app computes all the sun’s paths across the sky during the date interval you pick. When you touch the screen, the app takes an image of your surroundings. The app then mathematically superimposes all the suns paths onto the images, and determines if leaves, trees, buildings, etc., in the image “cover” the sun’s path (thereby causing shade) or not. This is all added up and averaged and presented to you,

    If you are still having trouble, please feel free to call me, and we’ll figure out what the problem is

    George Koulomzin

  2. tonytomeo April 13, 2020 / 6:54 pm

    Do you remember the ‘weather rock’?

  3. gardendaze April 13, 2020 / 7:16 pm

    I do, and similar things like it. I think I had a Vermont weather stick.


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