Light Deprivation Tarps a.k.a “Light Dep Tarps”
Farmers have always understood that light plays a critical role in the growth of plants, but it wasn’t until the early 20 th century that scientists began to understand the actual role of light and darkness in the growth and flowering cycles of certain plants. At first, it was assumed that plants performed better with more exposure to light. However, we now understand that it is actually the hours of uninterrupted darkness that determines when plants bloom and how many blooms are produced.
For modern farmers and plant enthusiasts, the practice of light deprivation is all about manipulating the light supply to force flowering in certain plants at a preferred time of year. Light deprivation simply means restricting the light that a plant receives naturally so that you can modify flowering cycles. To accomplish this, light dep farmers use lightweight polyethylene tarps to cover plants and extend “nighttime” periods.
Stimulate Crop Bloom
A plant that requires a long period of darkness is termed a “short day” (long night) plant. Short day plants form flowers with the long nights of spring or fall, when periods of daylight are less than 12 hours. Many spring and fall flowering plants are short day plants, including chrysanthemums, poinsettias, Christmas cactus, some varieties of marigold, orchid and strawberry, as well as a number of other high-value specialty crops. Making the days shorter by covering these plants with poly tarps for at least 12 hours a day for several weeks over the late spring and early summer allows growers to simulate the light and darkness pattern of spring or fall, thereby stimulating summer blooming.
For light deprivation, growers plant crops in hoop houses or greenhouses which are covered with greenhouse tarps for a period of time each morning or evening. The goal is to block sunlight and increase the number of hours the crop spends in darkness. The challenge is to keep the schedule consistent and to ensure that the darkness is not interrupted, either by unseen rips in the coverings, shifts in the coverings caused by wind, or human error. Interruptions or inconsistencies in the light deprivation cycle can confuse the plant and slow flower growth. In fact, even brief flashes of light during dark periods can interfere with flower development.
BTL’s lightweight polyethylene tarps are ideal for light dep tactics because of their strength and low cost. They can be used in sophisticated, automatic greenhouse systems as well as extremely low tech hoop houses, which are then covered with light dep tarps.
If you are looking for the perfect light deprivation tarp for your growing venture, call us today to find out how our products can save you money and help guarantee your success. We work with large commercial producers and small do-it-yourselfers with the same commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. For more information on our agricultural products, visit our Agricultural Page.