How intercanopy lighting can help your grow
Added on 26 September 2023
One of the most limiting factors in greenhouse crop production is light and seasonal variation, and limitations of light can inhibit crop productivity. In greenhouse crops, planting densities are high and can cause unwanted plant shading from plant to plant and deep into the plant canopy. Thus, there can be variation in light intensities that can reduce the physiological and biochemical process of the plant, leading to reduced yields and quality. However, for leafy greens and herbs, the effect of shading can be minimal. For vine crops like tomato and cucumber and crops like cannabis that are bushy, light intensities are significantly reduced deep within the plant canopy. Even though light is absorbed by leaves at the top of the canopy, shading from neighboring leaves reduces the light available to leaves lower in the canopy and the plant is living up to less than its full photosynthetic potential.
Intercanopy LED lighting has become an increasingly popular choice for greenhouse vegetable crop growers due to its numerous benefits. This type of lighting system is designed to be installed between the rows of plants and within the plant canopy, providing optimal illumination for crops while minimizing shadowing. Intercanopy lighting has traditionally been paired with supplemental, whether that be high-intensity discharge (HID) lights like high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps or energy efficient LED top lights, or a combination of these lighting strategies known as a hybrid lighting system. However, there are legacy greenhouses in many parts of the world that are built too low to house top lighting and may benefit from sole source supplemental intercanopy lighting. One of the great benefits of LED lighting is that growers can place these lights closer to the plant without intense radiant light energy, such lights as HIDs, that can potentially burn the foliage of the plants if too close to the plant canopy. Thus, growers can use LEDs in places, such as the intercanopy of the crop, to increase the distribution of the light where crops can benefit the most and increase crop productivity. In this article, we will explore the benefits of intercanopy LED lighting for greenhouse vegetable crops and how it can help maximize yield and quality.