May 07 2020 – Grow Strong Industries Collaborator
Kind LED grow lights are some of the most powerful LED lights in the industry, watt for watt. Not only do we use high efficiency diodes, but we then put them behind a secondary optical lens that magnifies the diode's light downward, achieving unparalleled canopy penetration. Due to this intense light concentration, the hanging height above the canopy needs to be taken in to consideration when finding the light's ‘sweet spot’. With the K3 series, all diodes utilize 3 watt chips, and the ‘sweet spot’ for this series of lights is 12”-24” above the canopy. With the K5 series lights, a mix of 3 and 5 watt chips are used and thus have a recommended hanging height of 30" to 36” above the canopy. This will ensure the right intensity of light is being received and that the maximum footprint is being taken advantage of.
When first introducing LED grow lights to new plants and clones, it is recommended that the intensity be turned down to 50% (on the K5 series) or that the light be hung 48” or more for the first 3-4 days. After this initial break in period, we then suggest lowering the light 4-6” every couple of days until the desired height is achieved.
The signs that you have exceeded the minimum distance to your plants will usually manifest in the form of slight curling of the youngest leaves on the plant and/or overall slower growth. If either of these are experienced, simply raise the light back up 4-6” and wait a few days. The results in backing the light off should be immediate, and you should see the plant return to robust, lush growth within a day or so. If it seems like the plant is still being overwhelmed, back the light off to the top end of the recommended height and allow the plant some time to acclimate, before trying to lower the light back down.
Warm your room for optimal results...
Growing with LED lights can be very different than growing with their HPS counterparts. LEDs run cool due to the fact that they emit light solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor, or as its known, the LED chip. Because of this, and the fact that an LED diode is so efficient, they run cool and don’t need a lot of extra equipment to cool them. It also means that very little energy goes unused, resulting in very little excess heat energy.
HPS on the other hand is a burning mix of Xenon, Mercury, and Sodium gases. This mixture of gas burns at extremely high temperatures in order to produce the massive amount of light that these bulbs emit. The issue with this massive amount of light is that much of it is wasted due to the low absorption rate of certain areas of the spectrum that are the highest energy output and ends up as nothing more than excess heat energy, and lots of it. That heat energy is then absorbed by the plants and results in unusable photons, which then translates into high surface temperatures on the leaves of plants.
The other thing affecting leaf surface temperatures is the ambient temperature of the room. The surface of an HPS bulb can reach an excess of 750 degrees and can warm a room up fairly quickly, even if it’s being properly cooled.
The surface temperature of the leaf, and thus the internal temperature of the leaf, can have a huge effect on the rate in which the plant transpires. Transpiration is the mode in which plants control the movement of water out of small pores in the leaves' surface called stomata. The release of this water vapor through the leaves' surface is the plants way of not only regulating temperate, but is also the way the plant cycles water and is able to renew its moisture feed via the root system. Think of it as a wicking system. The water leaving the plant is what is creating the force for the roots to pull more in. So, a plant that has healthy transpiration, also has a healthy uptake of water through its root system. The healthier the uptake through the root system, the more nutrients the plant can absorb and utilized for rapid growth.
Transpiration is greatly affected by temperatures within the leaf. The cooler the temperature, the less the leaf will transpire. The warmer the temperature, the more it will transpire. Because the surface temps on a leaf of a LED lit room can average up to 12 degrees colder than a HPS lit room, transpiration can slow, and thus result in slower uptake by the roots and as a result slow growth rates.
Because of this, Kind LED strongly recommends raising the temperature of your grow to 82-85 degrees when growing with our lights. This will ensure that the stomata of your plants can fully perform their job and also allow metabolic processes to continue uninhibited for robust growth.
There are other added benefits from being able to run higher temps, but we’ll discuss those in another section of LED Tech.
In the last LED Tech section we talked about raising the overall ambient temperature of your room to aid in transpiration. Now let’s talk about one of the greatest added benefits to having those warmer temps in your room, increased effectiveness of CO2 augmentation.
Carbon assimilation, or carbon fixation, is the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form metabolically active carbon compounds, such as carbohydrates, by way of photosynthesis.
The ability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide, or assimilation, has been observed to rapidly increase in plants as room temperatures are increased to 82-86 degrees, up from the typical 72-78 degrees recommended for HID lit grow rooms. This increase in absorption rate has an enormous effect on growth rate and also on the size of fruits and flowers.
This means that all those heavy CO2 tanks that you’ve been lugging around suddenly have a bigger impact on your yields!