Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Adams, S. A. & Todd, K. A. (2015). High tunnel design, site development, and construction. Nebraska Extension. EC308.


© 2015, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska– Lincoln Extension.


High tunnels are low technology plant growing structures that provide opportunity for season extension, severe weather protection, and modified environments to increase productivity and visual quality of harvested plant products. This publication describes high tunnel components, site selection, development, covering materials, installation, and operation.

Experienced specialty plant growers can increase the quality of their products and the duration of their marketing of high- value crops through the use of high tunnels. High tunnels give growers the opportunity to plant earlier and include more sequential planting dates. This can result in early- season, high- dollar returns and the ability to offer their products for longer periods. High tunnels also provide environmental protection, which helps reduce blemishes and discoloration, improving visual appeal. For successful high tunnel crop production, decisions and actions before planting the first crop include choosing a structural design to meet specific needs, identifying the best site for locating the structure, initial soil preparation, and the method of construction.