How to prevent and treat cannabis light burn?
Light burn or light bleaching is a serious problem if you’ve got a got a room full of cannabis plants. Light serves as food for the plants, but it can also be an issue if it goes overboard. Think of it this way – humans need food for energy, but what happens if you eat too much? Yep, you’ll have several problems from obesity to diabetes.
Similarly, cannabis plants use light as food, but if you install too many lights and hang them too close to the plants, you’re asking for trouble. If you notice your plants struggling, keep reading to figure out how to prevent and treat cannabis light burn.
What is a light burn?
ight burn is nothing but light bleaching. You’ll notice that the leaves too close to the light turn white or look bleached. Plants growing outside cannot suffer from light burn because the sun is too far away from the earth to burn the plants. Cannabis has evolved for centuries and has adjusted to the sunlight enough to not get burnt.
But, light burn can happen indoors. The leaves and even the buds begin to look white or burnt when the lights are hung too close to the plants. The heat is so high that the plants cannot tolerate it. White buds look amazing when you look at them, but it’s a sign that the buds are damaged.
Since the light is too close to the buds, the resin along with the cannabinoids are destroyed. You probably already know that heat kills plants, and buds are no exception. In fact, not only will the buds be useless for both medicinal and recreation users, but the taste goes for a toss too. And the fragrance deteriorates as well.
Yellow leaves can also indicate light burn at times. But, do not get confused between nitrogen deficiency and light burn because they look the same. With nitrogen deficiency, though, yellowing of the leaves start from the bottom and move towards the top. Also, the leaves are limp and fall off from the plant without any effort. On the other hand, if they are suffering from light burn, the leaves feel crispy and are harder to pluck from the plant.
Leaves turning brown and crisp is an indication of light burn too. It’s a combination of heat and too much light that fries the leaves and render them useless to the plant.
How to prevent light burn?
Prevention is far better than cure, they say. Thus, you must try to prevent light burn rather than trying to cure it. First off, light burn depends on the type of light you’re using. For instance, a CFL hung even 10 inches away from the plant will not damage the plant. The same applies to fluorescent or T5 lights because they aren’t that powerful and don’t emit a lot of heat. However, HID and LED lights positioned even 10 inches away from the plants can kill them.
Secondly, determine the wattage of the lighting you’re using. For example, a 50W LED light may not be too harmful, but a 1000W LED will have disastrous consequences if you place it too close to the plants. HID lights are too powerful even if the wattage is low. Another problem is that they emit way too much heat that can be unbearable to the plants.
Having said that, remember that you can’t hang the lights too far away either. If the plants are very far away from the light, they will not have enough food to grow properly! You can consider both HPS and Metal Halide lights in the same category. Here’s a tip to help:
Light burn or light bleaching is a serious problem if you’ve got a got a room full of cannabis plants. Light serves as food for the plants, but it can als
How To Spot And Treat A Light Burn On Your Cannabis Plants
Although not fixable with a nutrient solution boost, this is a problem that your plant can survive easily. As long as it’s not too late, after this article, you’ll know how to fix it.
This is a problem faced with indoor plants only. If you have an outdoor grow operation and feel your cannabis plants are suffering from light burn, forget it! You’ll probably want to look into other conditions that can show similar symptoms. The sun is too far out to damage your outdoor plants. Cannabis has existed for longer than the human race. It has developed well enough to handle the sun’s heat and light.
Light burn will only happen to an outdoor plant in a specific situation. It might happen if you grew it in the shade and just now transferred it into the light. In cases like this, the plant won’t be used to the heat and light and will eventually die.
WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO IDENTIFY IT
• Bleached Buds
One surefire symptom of light burn is bleaching of the flowers. This phenomenon occurs when flowers are located too close to high-powered lights. You may have seen images online of pure white “albino” cannabis flowers. This might look like the intentional development of rare genetics, but the fact is, most of the time this is simply bleaching. Luckily, it’s very hard to miss your flowers turning bright white.
Although white buds may look interesting, most of the time they have been rendered useless. The heat degrades cannabinoids present in the resin, which causes buds to lose potency. The scent and taste of these buds will also be less than desirable. The terpenes responsible for these traits are highly volatile aromatic hydrocarbons, and excess heat will also cause them to degrade.
• Yellow Leaves
Yellow leaves are another sign that your plant is being subject to light burn. However, yellow leaves can also signify nitrogen deficiency. The difference is that yellow leaves caused by this nutritional deficiency start from the bottom of the plant, display significant wilting, and will either fall off or are extremely easy to remove. On the other hand, yellowing caused by light burn will occur at the top of the plant, and these leaves will be much sturdier and harder to remove.
HOW TO SOLVE IT
The first thing you should do is move your plants a bit further away from the lights. This can either be done by moving the plants or by moving the lights, if you have the space. Take into consideration the most affected areas of each plant when choosing a new location for them. You can also remove some of your lights. If you have these well organized, it shouldn’t hurt your plants to remove a few bulbs.
If reducing the light or moving the plant isn’t an option, you can always low stress train your plants. This is a technique for obtaining more yields, where you try to keep the plant’s branches all at the same height. As the stem gets taller, it should be bent sideways and kept in that position with an external aid.
Try decreasing the temperature of the room too. Do this very slowly and always keep the temperature consistent. The plant will need time to adjust. Any change you’ll need to make to a plant’s environment or medium needs to be done carefully and patiently. It won’t matter how well you water and feed your plants, if you don’t take proper care of the environment, the plant will die.
HOW TO PREVENT IT
Growers can also utilise a lux meter to measure how much light different parts of their plants are being exposed to. These devices are used to measure lux, the unit of illuminance, per metre squared. They are handy as they offer readings regarding the intensity of light beaming down on any given area. Lux meters are ideal for hobby and small-scale growers as they are leagues cheaper than other light-measuring devices on the market. Growers can use them to determine if their plants aren’t getting enough light to produce an optimal yield, or if they are getting too much and are at risk of light burn.
A general healthy range for cannabis plants is between 35,000–70,000 lux during the vegetative phase and 55,000–85,000 during the flowering phase. If you notice any of the symptoms above and your lux meter is giving readings above these values, move your light source further away from your plants to reduce the intensity.
This can be a very hard problem to fix if not done in a timely manner. Be sure that you're informed about it if a light burn ever happens to you!