Are LEDs strong enough for horticulture?
While one LED might not be very strong, the number of photons emitted from hundreds of LEDs is intense. As long as enough photons are produced of the correct spectrum, plants will thrive.
Can plants receive too much light?
Yes. If fixtures are too close to the plant canopy, the high concentration of light can cause photoinhibition or even permanent damage to pigments. Therefore, it is recommended that our fixtures are mounted at least 3 feet above the canopy and 5 - 6 feet apart, providing an overlap of light and even canopy coverage. Of course, every room may require a slightly different approach and we are happy to help you design the best configuration for your application.
What metrics are useful to compare light fixtures?
The most important comparison between light fixtures is the number of photosynthetic active photons emitted (PPF) and the energy required to produce those photons. Spectrum also plays a significant role in plant health and growth rates... especially since higher energy violet and blue photons are required to stimulate the majority of the photoreceptors in the plant. Lastly, the cost to purchase equipment and operate a facility is a major factor in today's competitive environment.
How do you maximize canopy penetration?
Leaves are very efficient at capturing photons. In environments with abundant violet and blue photons, leaves will grow thinner in width (but thicker)… allowing more photons to penetrate though the canopy. Therefore, the first step to improving penetration is to provide more than enough photons of the correct wavelengths. In addition, proper plant spacing will increase light exposure from neighboring lights. Lastly, it is important to utilize mild airflow to move leaves out of the way of lower leaves, as well as assisting in transpiration.
Are all LED fixtures the same?
Unfortunately, there is a large difference between each fixture manufacturer. Some companies use the best components and make the investments necessary to design the most effective system possible. Other companies have done the complete opposite. There are even companies who blatantly lie about the specs and performance of their fixtures and are hurting the industry through horrible customer experiences. Therefore, it is important to fact check their claims and test a small number of units before placing large orders. It is also prudent to hire a photometric lab to test fixtures in an integrated sphere.