Growing With LEDs

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) — common replacements for incandescent bulbs in applications ranging from coffeemakers to holiday string lights — stay cool to the touch, don’t burn out as easily, and use up to 90% less energy.

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LEDs also can be designed to emit very specific frequencies of light, and University of Florida researchers are using those exacting frequencies to promote plant growth. For example, they are using specific light frequencies to restrict flowering in the early life of strawberry plants — causing the plants to divert their resources to growing more runners and leaves. If such techniques were employed by growers, the result could be stronger plants that produce more fruit. Other studies with LEDs are taking place around the globe on crops such as rice, peas, tomatoes, and maize.