How Far Should LED Grow Lights Be from Plants

Using grow lights correctly is crucial towards the quality and quantity of your yield. The most common mistake growers make when using grow lights is the lack of proper placement and light intensity. Failing to adjust these two factors means that you will have a reduced yield level. 

Furthermore, placing the light too close will compromise plant growth, and too far will lead to stretching. You have to use an informed approach when it comes to light placement for your plants. Consider the specific agricultural recommendations for plants of a particular species, and a particular grow area. You also have to remember that light intensity is only one of the critical factors crucial to plant growth. 

Maintain the right distance between your grow lights is crucial towards growth and photosynthesis. The benefit for growers is that the consumer market has several types of LEDs, which can help maximize plant growth. For instance, some lights have special photosynthetic activation radiation wavelengths, which are suitable for different types of plant species. Plants will reach out for a light source just in the same way as when they grow outdoors.

Indoor lights have different power ratings and perform differently at specific distances. Which lights specifically are perfect for your space? Well, the consumer market has various brands available for you to consider. Some lights are only suitable for growing a few plants, while others are suitable for many plants. 

A great example would be the G8LED range of lights, which are suitable for different types of indoor lighting applications. The lights won’t produce a large amount of heat, just in the same way as MH/HPS systems. Furthermore, the grow lights make it easy to perform temperature control in a grow space. Thus, you never face the risk of burning the plants with lights. Consider calibrating the ambient temperature to 80 degrees, instead of lower temperatures to avoid burning plants. 

Since G8 lights can save energy and won’t produce large amounts of heat, the plants won’t lose lots of water. You might also have to customize the watering schedule, especially in response to the light settings you have chosen. For instance, if the plants are exposed to lower light intensity, then you might have to apply a smaller level of water. 

Even more, the consumer market has exceptional lighting systems, which can significantly improve your farming results. Some lights are specifically designed for growers, and help farmers achieve the best yield result levels. Factors such as high-intensity output and variable spectrum control are all crucial towards how you select specific lights for your needs. Furthermore, you have undoubtedly heady of LED lights that auto-adjust, thus making the entire process convenient.

Factors to Consider with LED Grow Light Placement

There are various components in the grow room, which influence how you should position the lights. Among some of these key factors include:

Reflective walls

These are special made wall materials, which you use to improve the distribution of light in an indoor garden. Usually, light fails to penetrate up to the canopy plants, and this can have various side effects on the development of plants in your grow room. 

Even if the inverse square light applies to all types of light, this law never applies when you have reflective walls in the grow room. These walls will reflect light to the plants, and you should adjust the intensity level to match such a setting. For instance, even if you place the plants farther away from the source, the reflective walls will still work well to bounce the light for optimal growth.

Overlapping Lights

In large grow rooms, where you have several lights and components such as reflective walls, achieving the overlap effect can be highly beneficial. The overlap effect occurs when you put the lights higher, such that you increase the reach of the light for your plants.

Light Placement in Relation to Plant Growth Stages

Once again, it’s essential to understand, there are no specific rules in regards to light placement for plants in each stage of growth. Different brands make lights using different techniques. Furthermore, there are various factors to consider, including the angle and power of each LED in the fixture. Also, the use of lenses to reflect the light within the grow space is a crucial factor to consider. The best approach for getting the distance for grow lights is to consult plant experts or the brand maker of the light. 

You also have to consider that correct light placement is different for plants at various stages of growth. If you have a dimmable LED, you can adjust the light intensity of the light to suit the seedling stage. That said, if the light is not dimmable, then you can hang it on a wall, or perhaps place it farther away from the light source. These examples are not set in stone but are ballpark examples to help you make informed decisions.

Light Placement Seedling Stage

Seedlings are at a very tender stage and might require the least light intensity, and most distance between the light as well as the canopy. Never blast small plants with excessive lights, because this can easily damage the delicate plant cells.

Vegetative stage

In the vegetative stage, you want to place the LED lights close to the plants. Generally, the plants in such a stage might require half the light needed to bloom. In some cases, you might have twice the hanging height that is suitable for use in bloom.

Flowering Stage

During the flowering stage, you need the best light intensity levels. Consider making a hardening session, as you transition the plants from the vegetative to the bloom stage. Also, slowly increase or lower the light height, until you achieve the specific recommendations of your light brand. 

Remember, these are just general guidelines for lights placement. Discuss the distances with the light brand, and keep track of the plants to ensure you never overload them.

How to Recognize Light Burn in Plants

Remember these are just simple guidelines for you to consider. You may evaluate the ideal distances for your plant with a specific light manufacturer. Also, you may want to keep track of any signs that your plant is overloaded. If the plants receive excessive light, then there are various ways through which you can check for such issues. 

Since LED lights can produce customized light heat, you won’t damage the plants with warmth even when you place the light close to the canopy. However, a common issue to consider is light burn. It is commonly associated with a nitrogen deficiency, and many growers might misdiagnose their plants by addressing the wrong problem. Plants with light burn might demonstrate the following issues: 

  • The leaves face upwards, whereby they have a curly shape
  • The plants suffer from bleaching, which occurs in yellow or white discoloration. Typically, this happens on the leaves, which are closest to the light.
  • The veins on the plant remain green, even if the rest of the plant and its leaves are yellow. 
  • A nitrogen deficiency has similar characteristics, but you will notice many significant variations They include:
  • The plant might develop yellow patches, but the damage usually starts on the bottom section of the plant. However, a light burn might begin at the top, close to where the lights are placed.
  • When plants have a nitrogen deficiency, the leaves wilt. More so, the leaves might turn upward and sometimes even dry
  • The leaves of a plant with nitrogen deficiency will fall off automatically. This never occurs to plants that have light burns.

Point Sources of Light and How to Use Them

Perhaps the most crucial factor to consider relates to how point sources of light relate to the distance of plant placement. It’s important to note that the sun sits well over 93 million miles away from the earth. Thus, moving an item closer or farther away from it is inconsequential. The lights we use in grow rooms for plant growth are referred to as point sources of light. The effects of placing such lights closer or farther away from the light source are significant. 

What is PAR Value?

Plants use different types of light for growth, and you have taken this factor into perspective when investing in a light. Thus, one tricky factor when it comes to evaluating light intensity is that it’s possible with a naked eye. This is why in the PAR meters are essential when it comes to plants. You use a PAR meter to measure the available light intensity for plants. 

Using a PAR meter can be a great way to measure light intensity, and the consumer market has several amazing brands for you to consider. The recommended PAR rating averages at 500 – 1,500 PAR on the leaves of a plant. 

Plants use different types of light to fuel their growth than what we use to see with, so one of the tricky things about assessing light intensity on behalf of a plant is that our human eyes are incredibly bad at judging it. That’s why in the plant world, PAR meters are used. A PAR meter measures light intensity, which is available to plants

Other Options

Not everyone will inevitably want to shell out money for a PAR meter, which is we have various other options available. Ensure that you use a plant-specific grow light if you want to achieve the best results. 

  • Use a light metering app, and the consumer market has several options available for you to consider. A good example would be the Light Meter.
  • Open the app and make a reading from the most convenient location you can in the house. A great place would be close to a sunny window when the sun is up above. Keep track of the readings.
  • Then, go back to your grow room, and then take readings of the light intensity in relation to the plant and light distance.
  • Divide one number by the other, and you will come up with a ratio amount of a suitable light intensity level for your plants
  • If you are like most novice growers, you will be surprised at how weak some grow lights can be when compared to the sun. In most cases, your grow light produces only a small portion of the energy that the sun

Tips You Can Use for LED Light Placement for Plants

Several plants, particularly those that fall under the grass category, require lots of sun to thrive. This is because the bright light provides immense energy for plant growth and development. That said, some plants, especially those that are native to forested areas, might require a relatively low amount of light. The following are some useful requirements for you to consider about light intensity in relation to plants: 

  • Do you have a sunny backyard or one that mostly has trees with shade? How about all the other sections in your yard? You may have never evaluated these sections of the lawn, but you need to assess the type of light conditions in your yard before planting. Here are some few tips for you to consider about light and LED light placement: 
  • Watch how the sun and the shadows make contact with the ground to have an estimate of the amount of shade during the growing season. The shade under large trees is usually immense, and this test helps come up with a precise assessment of the light intensity. 
  • Full shade also occurs under trees with thick branches, and the evergreens. If you have a garden in such a place, then it’s likely to receive small amounts of light. Only a few plant species can survive in such conditions.
  • You will find partial shade under trees, which release sunlight to pass through the canopy and dapples the ground all day. If you have a garden that grows under a lightly branched cactus tree, then you will know that it falls into this category. Many plants can grow under these conditions and are perfect for such plant growth applications.

Final Verdict

The quality and quantity your plant yield at any point, depends on the efficiency of your planting capabilities. Among some of the most important factors to consider in regards to light placement involves the length at which you should place the lights. Garden lights make it easy to control the light intensity levels in your grow room. Getting the best grow light for your garden is also easy.

Using tools such as PAR meters should make it easy to measure the average light intensity level suitable for your garden. Getting it right with LED lights is about informed decision making and sufficient improvisation.

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