Unique Science Based Spectrum
At Black Dog LED, we take spectrum very seriously- it is what makes our lights grow plants exceptionally well. Unlike most LED grow lights that use one or two colors of LEDs, we utilize 9 different color LEDs from 4 different LED manufacturers to create our unique Phyto-Genesis Spectrum®, going Beyond PAR™ to include ultraviolet and infrared. This costs us more to make our lights, but we do it because it grows plants better!
Chlorophyll is the pigment plants use to convert light into energy through a process called photosynthesis. Photons (particles of light) are captured by chlorophyll molecules and converted into energy, which is utilized by specialized systems in the plant to create sugars from CO2 and water. Chlorophyll most strongly absorbs light in the blue and red area of the spectrum, and is very poor at absorbing yellow and green light. This is why plants appear green to us- much of the green light is reflected rather than being absorbed.
Plants have evolved other pigments that can absorb yellow light and convert it to red light that chlorophyll can use. These "accessory" or "antenna" pigments steal a bit of energy from yellow photons to convert them to red photons that chlorophyll can absorb, but they release the excess energy as heat. This allows plants to photosynthesize with yellow light, but at the cost of heating up their leaves more than red or blue light would. This is why plants grown under primarily-yellow HPS light can't tolerate temperatures much above 80 °F / 27 °C, even though outdoors the same plants in natural sunlight easily handle much higher temperatures.
White "full spectrum" LEDs are designed for human eyes, which are most-sensitive to the green and yellow area of the spectrum. The majority of light produced by these white LEDs is therefore in the yellow and green area of the spectrum, perfect for human eyes, but the least efficient for photosynthesis- and prone to causing heat stress in plants.
Our Phyto-Genesis Spectrum maximizes photosynthetic efficiency by providing the majority of light in the blue and red area of the spectrum, avoiding unnecessary heating of the plants' leaves. This allows you to run your grow area much warmer without stressing the plants, with up to a 60% reduction in cooling costs. Less heat stress also means any temporary problems with HVAC are tolerated by the plants, instead of leading to a complete crop failure.
Infrared light from 700-750nm also increases photosynthetic efficiency through a process known as the Emerson Effect. We include just the right amount of this infrared light to maximize photosynthesis and growth.
Human Eye Sensitivity (yellow) versus Photosynthetic Efficiency (green):
|Select Spectral Data|
All plants react to the ratio of red and blue light they receive to control stem elongation. An excess of red light compared to blue makes the plants think they're not seeing "blue sky", triggering a hormonal response to lengthen their stems to try and out-grow what they perceive to be shading them out. This happens regardless of light intensity, which is why plants grown under even intense HPS light still "stretch" their stems much more than under natural sunlight, as HPS has almost no blue but a decent amount of red light.
Energy expended to grow longer stems comes at the cost of energy devoted to flower and fruit production, so minimizing stem elongation leads to higher yields per plant. In addition, longer stems cause the plants to take up more room, limiting the number of plants that can fit in your growing area. Longer, floppy stems are also more prone to breaking and require more labor staking or netting the plants.
Our Phyto-Genesis Spectrum uses a ratio of red to blue light that encourages plants to keep their stems short and compact, leaving more energy for flowers and fruit, more space for additional plants in your growing area, and fewer headaches dealing with floppy, unwieldy plants.
The ratio of red to blue, and the ratio of far-red to red light control leaf size in plants, in addition to light intensity. While it may seem intuitively that bigger leaves would provide the plant with more energy, they also create larger shadows, preventing lower leaves from getting enough light. By providing high-intensity light with the right ratio of red to far-red and red to blue light, our PhytoMAX lights trigger plants to grow smaller leaves. Just as with stems, the energy saved by growing smaller leaves is redirected to more flower and fruit production. Reduced shadowing increases canopy penetration, getting more light to lower leaves to nourish flowers lower on the plant, increasing yield overall.
The same hormonal response that triggers stem elongation also affects the density of flowers- too much red and not enough blue light causes plants to grow open, airy flowers. Our ratio of red to blue light leads plants to grow dense, tight flowers for maximum appeal.
Increased Canopy Penetration
The secret to maximizing yield per square foot is maximizing canopy penetration to ensure the thickest, most-productive canopy possible. By controlling the leaf size through the ratio of red to far-red and red to blue light in our spectrum, we minimize shading of lower leaves. However, our Phyto-Genesis Spectrum goes another step beyond to deliver more light to lower leaves and nourish flowers lower on the plant.
When photons go through a leaf, they often hit something in the leaf and lose a bit of energy in the process, shifting the photon to a longer, lower-energy (redder) wavelength. Once the photons lose enough energy they are no longer useful to the plant for photosynthesis, so if a red photon loses just a bit of energy it becomes useless to the plant. Our Phyto-Genesis Spectrum includes significant amounts of higher-energy UV and deep blue photons, which can pass through multiple leaves, losing a bit of energy each time, but still keeping them in the photosynthetically-active region of the spectrum.
Increased Quality and
We include ultraviolet (UV) light in our Phyto-Genesis Spectrum, in the same ratio present in natural sunlight. UV light exposure triggers many desirable reactions in plants, but the vast majority of grow lights have little or no UV in their spectrum.
UV exposure triggers plants to create natural sunscreen compounds, much as UV light triggers our skin to produce melanin. In plants, these compounds include anthocyanins (red / purple pigmentation), terpenes, and in Cannabis plants, THC and CBD. Simply including UV light increases flower potency, flavor and appeal.
Beyond sunscreen compounds, plants also change their morphology when exposed to UV light, growing thicker cell walls. This makes it harder for insects, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens to attack the plant, keeping your plants healthier. UV light also triggers more trichomes to be grown, leading to frostier, more-potent flowers.
Our carefully-tuned Phyto-Genesis Spectrum controls how plants grow, keeping them compact so you can fit more in the same area. Smaller leaves, coupled with our higher-energy ultraviolet and deep blue light allow for superior canopy penetration. Combined, these effects allow our lights to deliver maximum yield per square foot.
It isn't just weight though- by increasing trichome production, potency, flavors and colors with ultraviolet light, our spectrum delivers top-quality results as well! Because our spectrum is designed for both vegetative and flowering, there's no need to change lights or settings to get consistently superior results.
Superior Field Transplantation
If you're growing plants indoors for later transplantation outdoors, our unique spectrum will make your job much easier. By keeping plants compact with small leaves, they're much less likely to get damaged by wind when put outdoors. Thicker cell walls triggered by exposure to UV light also leads to less desiccation in windy conditions, as well as superior resistance to insects and pathogens when moved to the field. And because plants grown under our lights are accustomed to the same amount of ultraviolet light present in natural sunlight, they won't burn when exposed to full sunlight.
Starting your plants under the Phyto-Genesis Spectrum can eliminate or greatly reduce the need to harden-off your plants before transplantation to the field!