Grow Tips for LED Grow Lights
As lighting technology continues to advance, cultivators are starting to witness the benefits of replacing HPS grow lights with LED grow lights. Beyond a reduction in energy consumption and utility costs, cultivators are actively looking to do more than just replace HPS with LED, they’re looking towards LED to advance product quality, increase yield and drive efficiencies in their supply chain. There are several tips for maximizing LED grow lights.
A very common mistake made when switching from HID to LED lights is overwatering. HID lighting generates heat and contains high levels of infrared light (IR) which helps dry out the soil and plants. LED lighting doesn’t generate the same amount of heat and no IR light, so you need to be careful that you don’t overwater your plants.
Growers using HIDs often rely on the heat coming from traditional grow lights. After switching to LED grow lights growers often experience a drop in temperature because LEDs don’t generate the same amount of heat. This means that growers might have to raise the temperature where the plants are being grown for their crop to thrive. LEDs energy efficiency will offset any increased cost for heating.
Installing your LEDs at the precise height can enrich yield and quality. You want to make sure that your LEDs can maintain a wide, uniform light distribution concentrated deep into the canopy.If you mount your LEDs too high, you may increase your coverage area, but you will also be reducing the light’s intensity. If you mount your LEDs too low, the intense proximity of the light could stress your plants and cause numerous issues. Your best option is to start with the LED manufacturer’s mounting recommendation, understand your DLI (Daily Light Integral)and calculate and adjust from there.
You can spotlight one section with oneLED lamp, and repeat the isolation for each cluster of your crop. However, it is best to calculate and useseverallamps in your facility. This allows the beams to overlap and maximize light distribution across the entire canopy. It is recommended that you ask a professional lighting company for a light plan before you begin.
Light cycles set the rhythm for your plant’s life. Indoor growers can manipulate these light cycles by increasing or decreasing the hours of light and darkness, stimulating a plant’s photoperiod whenever it is wanted. For greenhouse cultivators it is also possible to manipulate light and dark cycles by the use of blackout curtains and additional lighting. Automated blackout curtains helps growers block out unwanted sunlight and ensure needed dark periods during long summer days and additional lighting helps fill the gap of light needed during dark winter days. The average light cycle during the vegetative stage is 18 hours of light per day with 6 hours of darkness for flowers. A 12/12 cycle will trigger flowering for most flower crops because the increased amount of uninterrupted darkness tells the plant that fall is approaching.
Just as you can manipulate the photoperiod with LEDs, you can also manipulate exposure to blue, white, red and far-red spectrums at different stages in the plant’s growth cycle. While the flowering cycle can be influenced by multiple factors, a custom light recipe that taps into the far-red spectrum has been shown to reduce the flowering cycle of plants, which expedites the time until harvest.A light recipe also allows you to set the light intensity throughout the day. For example, in a greenhouse, cultivators are able to calculate the DLI(Daily Light Integral) for their crop and increase or decrease the output depending on the need for supplemental lighting throughout the day.
With the latest innovations in LED lights, day and night can be manipulated for optimal growth and yield of your plants while conserving energy costs.