LIGHT POLLUTION: HOW TO AVOID IT ON WEED PLANTS
When cultivating your photoperiod marijuana plants, remember that darkness is as crucial as light. To ensure your cultivation is in its best shape, it’s vital to keep it safe from any unwanted light. In this post, we provide key tips to prevent unwanted luminosity from ruining your party, whether you’re growing indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse. Let’s get into it!
What is Light Pollution Exactly?
Light pollution is a prevalent issue, especially in urban areas, where excessive artificial light affects our environment in multifaceted ways. The effects of light pollution extend far beyond just obscuring our view of the starry night. They encompass adverse impacts on both human health and the natural word.
This term is commonly used when talking about urban areas, where abundant artificial night light makes it difficult to see most, if not all, stars. If you’ve ever observed a city at night from a distance, you likely noticed an orange glow over it; that’s light pollution. In the United States and worldwide, concerns about light pollution include its effects on public health and the disruption of natural cycles, such as the circadian rhythm. Excessive sky glow caused by bad lighting practices not only hinders our view of celestial bodies but also interferes with the lives of nocturnal creatures, such as sea turtles, whose nesting patterns are affected by sky brightness near coastlines.
In the world of cannabis, there are two ways to address this issue. On one hand, large commercial crops can contribute to light pollution, even in rural areas. For example, a greenhouse with powerful lights can illuminate the surrounding areas at night, generating light pollution derived from cannabis.
Light leaks can be problematic because marijuana is extremely sensitive to light. Its development and behavior are closely linked to the level and intensity of light, using this information to identify the season and adjust its behavior accordingly.
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Is Cannabis Sensitive to Light?
In this section, we’ll focus exclusively on photoperiod marijuana plants, as the life cycle of autoflowers does not depend on light exposure (as long as they receive enough to grow).
Photoperiod marijuana plants not only use light for photosynthesis but also to identify the season and, consequently, the growth phase they should be in. When there are many hours of light, the plant interprets it as full summer and grows vigorously during this season.
As the days shorten, plants perceive the arrival of autumn and begin to flower, preparing to reproduce before facing winter. Due to this behavior, it’s crucial that cannabis receives the right proportion of light and darkness according to the growth phase.
Therefore, it’s not just about providing enough light to the plants but also ensuring absolute darkness. Interrupting the cannabis dark period can trigger various issues, such as plants reverting to the vegetative phase, the appearance of hermaphroditic traits, stunted growth, or even death. When dark cycles are altered, it can prolong the cultivation duration and reduce the harvest.
How to Keep Light Pollution in Check in Indoor Cannabis Cultivation
Thankfully, there are several measures we can take to ensure that plants receive the darkness they need. When growing indoors, you have total control over the light and dark cycle. Here are some practical tips:
Timer to the Rescue
If you grow at home, making your life easier is as simple as plugging the lights into a timer. This means your lights will turn on and off automatically at the right times, avoiding the risk of forgetting to turn them off at night and disrupting your plant’s growth. In addition to preventing unwanted light infiltration, make sure your lights are suitable and functioning properly!
Close the Growing Space
Once your lights are ready, it’s time to tightly close the growing space, whether it’s a whole room or a cabinet. It’s not very useful to have a lighting system and a timer if light seeps through curtains or any openings in the grow cabinet.
If you’re growing in a room, make sure windows and doors are completely closed. Even artificial light seeping under a door could interfere with your plant’s dark cycle. So, stay inside the room with all lights off and check for any sources of unwanted light.
If you use a grow cabinet, it must be completely light-sealed. Ensure that all doors and ventilation grilles close properly. If there’s any gap or your cabinet shows signs of wear, adhesive tape will be your best ally to prevent any unwanted light leaks.
How to Master Cannabis Light Pollution Outdoors
When it comes to growing marijuana outdoors, light pollution can be a real problem.
Whether you’re growing in a city or simply have a streetlamp near your garden, complications can arise. Even neighbors who leave lights on all night can interfere with the cannabis dark cycle. So, how can you deal with this?
Find the Perfect Growing Spot
The first and most crucial step is to find the right place for your plants; a place where they receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight during the day and maximum darkness possible at night.
Calculating exactly how much darkness marijuana needs and how much light will interrupt flowering outdoors can be tricky (it doesn’t need to be completely dark). A simple way to check if a place is dark enough is to go out at night with a magazine and try to read the largest letter. If you can do it, better look for a darker place; and if you can read the smallest letter, you definitely need more darkness.
Opt for Container Cultivation
If you don’t have an outdoor place dark enough to grow marijuana, don’t worry, all is not lost. Container cultivation gives you the flexibility to expose plants to full sun during the day and then move them to a darker place at night (it can be a shady corner in your garden or even take them inside and place them in a well-sealed room).
This solution will be easier if you’re only managing a couple of medium to small-sized plants but may not be viable if you’re growing massive cannabis plants.
Build a Dark Structure
If you’re looking for a practical solution to protect your plants from excessive light at night, consider building or acquiring an opaque structure. You can place it around the plant at night and remove it in the morning, ensuring a completely dark environment.
This structure not only serves to prevent light pollution but can also accelerate flowering in the summer.
Another alternative is to invest in a greenhouse, as it greatly facilitates the task of providing darkness to the plants.
How to Handle Light Pollution in a Greenhouse
Greenhouses are the ideal option for growing marijuana, as they harness natural light during the day, allow the installation of artificial lights as needed, and can be completely covered to create darkness.
If you grow outdoors and face light pollution issues, consider acquiring a greenhouse.
Use an Opaque Tarp
When it comes to growing in a greenhouse, large or small, there’s a simple solution to prevent light pollution: use an opaque tarp!
When it’s time for your plants to rest, simply place the tarp over the greenhouse. If the tarp effectively blocks the light and covers the entire structure, it will perfectly fulfill its function.
If you plan to grow outdoors but anticipate light issues at night, a greenhouse and an opaque tarp offer an economical, simple, and highly effective solution.
What to Do If Light Pollution Is Inevitable?
If, for some reason, you can’t avoid light pollution at night, don’t worry; you can still continue growing marijuana! But how?
With Autoflowering Plants!
Although they also require light for photosynthesis, they are not tied to light cycles to initiate flowering. Instead, they automatically flower after a predetermined time period dictated by their genetics, and no amount of light will prevent them from entering the flowering phase and developing buds.
In fact, it’s feasible to grow autoflowers with the lights on 24 hours a day, from the seedling stage to harvest.
So, if you can’t ensure adequate darkness at night, opt for autoflowering varieties. Nowadays, they are virtually as productive and potent as photoperiods and, overall, much easier to grow.
The Importance of Avoiding Light Pollution in Cannabis Cultivation
If you’re growing photoperiod marijuana plants, it’s essential to ensure they receive enough darkness at night. During the vegetative phase, this involves providing at least 8 hours of continuous darkness, while in the flowering phase, 12 hours are required.
This aspect is crucial because flowering can be negatively affected if plants are exposed to light pollution.