How Lighting Affects Marijuana Yield
Lighting has a significant effect on marijuana yield, but optimizing yield involves far more than just exposing cannabis plants to constant, bright light. Like all plants, cannabis benefits from cycles of light and dark light. Moreover, marijuana yields can be increased by controlling the relative intensity of different wavelengths of light at different phases of the cannabis plant’s growing cycle. SpecGrade LED has developed a new line of LED grow lights with OpticPARTM Technology to give cannabis cultivation facilities the best and most effective control over the lighting conditions of their crops.
Lighting and Chlorophyll Production in Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants generate chlorophyll, a compound that converts light into food energy for the plant’s growth. Several different forms of chlorophyll, as well as secondary compounds that work with chlorophyll, are present in a cannabis plant’s leaves. Cannabis plants specifically include concentrations of chlorophyll a which absorbs light in the red to violet visible light spectrums between 430 and 600 nm, and chlorophyll b, which absorbs a broader spectrum of visible light. Sunlight contains every wavelength of light in the PAR energy spectrum at a relatively similar intensity.
One of the keys to improving marijuana yield is to adjust light wavelengths to encourage production of the right forms of chlorophyll that the plant needs at different times during its growth. Cultivators can encourage better plant growth and achieve higher crop yields when they tune their lighting to include greater relative concentrations of red to violet light. SpecGrade LED’s OpticPARTM grow lights combine various kelvin temperatures of white and deep red LEDs to produce white light that contains the full and complete spectrum of PAR energy found in daylight. Now cannabis growers can nurture their indoor crop with the unique blend of light energy that used to be found only in nature.
Cannabis and Lighting Cycles
Cannabis plants will go into bloom when they are exposed to a short day/long night lighting cycle. The plants have two types of receptors, phytochrome red and phytochrome far red, that give signals to the plants that determine whether the plants will continue to produce vegetation or will go into bloom. As periods of darkness increase, the balance of red and far red receptors in the plants change, which signals the plants to bloom. A cultivator can encourage greater vegetation before blooming by providing longer light cycles, then switch to shorter cycles when the plants have reached their optimum vegetation levels.
LED lighting is ideal for this level of control. Unlike traditional metal halide or high pressure sodium indoor light sources, LED lighting can be switched on and off almost instantaneously. This pinpoint control gives cultivators maximum flexibility to control lighting cycles that encourage either increased vegetation or blooming, and to maximize marijuana yield.
Marijuana Yield and Fixture Optics
LED light fixtures also give cultivators a better opportunity to configure lighting in an indoor grow facility to reach both cannabis plant canopies and undergrowth vegetation with highly specialized optics that focus all of the available PAR directly onto the plants, avoiding wasteful light loss into the aisles of your greenhouse. LEDs operate at low physical temperatures, and mounting LED fixtures closer to plants will not harm the plants with excess heat. SpecGrade LED has also mergedour proprietary heat sink technology with the OpticPARTM grow light technology to create lighting systems with the best passive thermal heat control regardless of the physical configuration of the growing facility.
SpecGrade LED has developed the OpticPARTM grow light technology on a foundation of more than 15 years of experience in designing and manufacturing commercial and industrial LED lighting systems for some of the most hazardous places on earth.
Our technicians are available throughout North America to consult with cannabis cultivation facilities and other indoor agriculture operations on their lighting needs.