What is DLI?
Plant cultivation requires a lot of specific components to get it right. From temperature to nutrients and even the size of your greenhouse, taking care of your plants is no easy process, especially for beginners. However, we’re here to make it easier. Today, we’re talking all about DLI, or Daily Light Integrals, and how they, too, play a huge factor in the cultivation of your plants.
If you’ve never heard of DLI before, or if you’re just not sure what it is, Luna Cultivation is here to help. From what they are to what they do and what kind of impact this lighting has on your plants, we’re covering it all. Keep on reading to find out more about this special type of light range and why so many growers rely on it to perfect their crops.
Understanding Daily Light Integrals
First thing’s first: what is DLI? Again, DLI stands for Daily Light Integrals and it is what measures how much light your plants are exposed to throughout the days, seasons, and years. You can think of a DLI similar to someone tracking snowfall: both will measure how much snow/light a particular area gets during a certain amount of time.
Of course, this is going to fluctuate a ton not only throughout the year but also depending on where you live. For those who live in more desert-esque states, they are likely to see a higher DLI, especially during the summer, than colder, more forested states. Having this sort of information allows cultivators to see, generally, what areas across the US would be best for cultivation, and which areas should be avoided due to lack of light or light inconsistency.
When it comes to DLIs, it’s important to realize that the DLI of an outdoor area is going to be completely different from the DLI of a greenhouse or grow facility where most people conduct their large-scale grows. Here, you have to keep in mind not only cloud coverage, but the coverage that your facility’s ceiling might produce, too.
Finally, it’s important to remember that every type of plant is going to have a different DLI requirement for the best growth possible. Just as not every person grows the same way, not every piece of botany will grow the same, either. If you’re growing cannabis, for example, you must take the time to discover what levels of DLI are best for your special green plants.
Why Measure DLIs in Greenhouses?
So, why do growers choose to measure DLI for their greenhouses? As we hinted at above, understanding the Daily Light Integrals within your greenhouses is a wonderful way of truly perfecting the growth of your plants. Light is what helps your plants grow healthy and strong, and having this kind of knowledge about the amount of light they are receiving is crucial.
Light manipulation is how a lot of cannabis growers perfect their yields and potencies, as these plants require specific amounts of exposure during specific times in their life cycle. By understanding the DLI of the plants in their greenhouses, farmers are easily able to determine when the plants aren’t getting enough light, or when they’re getting too much. From there, they can adjust.
If greenhouse growers do not take into account DLI, some supplemental lighting options may actually be a hindrance to the growth of their plants. Again, without knowledge of the DLI in your area, you may think that your plants require more light than they actually do. This can tire your plants out, degrade terpenes, and even affect potency/smell depending on what you’re growing. All of this, we don’t have to tell you, can ruin a yield, wasting both your precious time and money. But, with the knowledge of the DLI in your location, this can easily be avoided.
Advantages of Using DLI
The advantages of measuring DLI for your cultivation goes on and on. Every grower is going to turn to DLIs for a different reason, but here are some of the most common benefits.
Like we mentioned above, many people turn to DLI specifically in hopes of improving their plant’s yield. A plant’s yield can be greatly affected by lighting, as certain amounts of light and light variations can trigger flowering, deeper growth, and more nourished plants. The result? A happy, healthy yield that any grower can benefit from.
Measuring DLI can also seriously help reduce growing costs. Supplemental lighting is an important but pricey factor in the process of cultivation. However, understanding the DLI of your grow location can help determine how much supplemental lighting you’ll need and when. This can help reduce some serious energy costs, as you’ll know exactly when to utilize your supplemental lighting, and when Mother Earth’s is good enough.
Finally, many people choose to turn to measure DLI to help maintain predictability. During a grow, it’s incredibly advantageous to know what to expect and promote consistency. Unfortunately, without knowing aspects like a DLI, doing this is nearly impossible, and you’re left up to the mercy of Mother Nature to figure it out for you. Instead, DLIs can help you better control crop’s quality, as you know exactly what to expect.
Mastering Greenhouse Lighting
Simply put, if you’re able to understand the DLI in your area, mastering your plant’s greenhouse lighting becomes that much more doable. Here at Luna Cultivation, we specialize in crafting ideal lighting setups for your grow operation, so we like to think we know a thing or two about proper lighting. Knowing your location’s DLI in combination with a high-quality lighting setup puts you right at the top for mastering your operation’s lighting. (And, trust us, this can take years for some cultivators.)
So, whether you measure DLI to help save money, grow better plants, or just have a bit of predictability is totally up to you. Regardless, understanding your plant’s Daily Light Integrals may be the best thing you do for your grow operation-- and for the plants themselves, too.