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Thread: Do Roots Really Grow in the Dark?

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    420 Member SmokeyMacPot's Avatar
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    Do Roots Really Grow in the Dark?

    Note: diels alder was instrumental in helping turn this very technical subject into something much easier to understand. This is by no means a complete, technical explanation of Botany, rather it’s an understanding of the basic principles.

    Many times I’ve seen in posts that “roots grow during the dark.”. If this were true, the 24/0 photoperiod would result in a plant with a tiny root structure, if one at all! We know this is not the case - so how does it actually work?

    To simplify things, lets use an analogy. Try to think of a plant as a building… one constantly under construction. The plant needs raw materials, (fertilizers and water), and energy (light) in order to “build itself”. The raw materials are the “bricks and mortar” of the building. The energy is the workers, vehicles and power tools used to assemble the building.

    The Plant is capable of storing some raw materials and some energy for use later, but the amount is limited...think of a warehouse and a battery.

    * During the day, (Lights ON) the plant is collecting and storing light energy, and is using and storing raw materials. The plant is stockpiling raw material, and is charging it’s batteries… it is ALSO using raw materials and using the energy it is collecting. It’s building itself, literally putting itself together.

    During the day however, the plant is not as efficient at building itself, as it is at night (lights OFF.) It can build itself, but not as quickly.

    * While the lights are OFF, the plant is using energy and raw materials to build itself…. the plant is more efficiently using the raw materials that it stored during the day. The plant is better at transporting and assembling the raw materials.

    The bad news: since there is no light energy, the plant must rely on energy it stored while the lights were ON (its stored energy). (Essentially, the plant is running on batteries, and using raw material from the warehouse.)

    There is no light energy to collect. Since the plant needs energy to absorb more raw materials, it is easier for the plant to use raw materials that it stored during the day than it is to absorb raw materials through its roots.

    * Although the plant IS capable of “doing it all” with the lights on, (Collect, store and use energy & raw materials) it does a better job of actually doing the work (using the energy and raw material) while the lights are out. During the dark however, it relies solely on its limited supply of stored energy and stored raw material.

    One last thing to remember is the fact that a plant will always strive to maintain a balance between the size of its roots and the size of its canopy (Leaf mass.) The roots must be big enough to supply as much raw materials as the canopy can use, and the canopy must be big enough to provide the energy required to store those raw materials….

    * Trim the roots on a healthy plant, and canopy growth will slow to a crawl until the roots have grown big enough to again support the canopy.

    * Trim the TOP of a healthy plant, and root growth will slow similarly, until the canopy has grown big enough to again support the roots.

    * If the plant is already in balance, the canopy and the roots will grow at the same rate.

    If you actually measured them several times daily over several days, you’d notice that they actually DO get bigger at night, but roots and canopy at the same rate, unless either has been trimmed, and as long as the “batteries” hold out.

    Author: Smokey D Dope

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    Thumbs up Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyMacPot View Post
    Note: diels alder was instrumental in helping turn this very technical subject into something much easier to understand. This is by no means a complete, technical explanation of Botany, rather it’s an understanding of the basic principles.

    Many times I’ve seen in posts that “roots grow during the dark.”. If this were true, the 24/0 photoperiod would result in a plant with a tiny root structure, if one at all! We know this is not the case - so how does it actually work?

    To simplify things, lets use an analogy. Try to think of a plant as a building… one constantly under construction. The plant needs raw materials, (fertilizers and water), and energy (light) in order to “build itself”. The raw materials are the “bricks and mortar” of the building. The energy is the workers, vehicles and power tools used to assemble the building.

    The Plant is capable of storing some raw materials and some energy for use later, but the amount is limited...think of a warehouse and a battery.

    * During the day, (Lights ON) the plant is collecting and storing light energy, and is using and storing raw materials. The plant is stockpiling raw material, and is charging it’s batteries… it is ALSO using raw materials and using the energy it is collecting. It’s building itself, literally putting itself together.

    During the day however, the plant is not as efficient at building itself, as it is at night (lights OFF.) It can build itself, but not as quickly.

    * While the lights are OFF, the plant is using energy and raw materials to build itself…. the plant is more efficiently using the raw materials that it stored during the day. The plant is better at transporting and assembling the raw materials.

    The bad news: since there is no light energy, the plant must rely on energy it stored while the lights were ON (its stored energy). (Essentially, the plant is running on batteries, and using raw material from the warehouse.)

    There is no light energy to collect. Since the plant needs energy to absorb more raw materials, it is easier for the plant to use raw materials that it stored during the day than it is to absorb raw materials through its roots.

    * Although the plant IS capable of “doing it all” with the lights on, (Collect, store and use energy & raw materials) it does a better job of actually doing the work (using the energy and raw material) while the lights are out. During the dark however, it relies solely on its limited supply of stored energy and stored raw material.

    One last thing to remember is the fact that a plant will always strive to maintain a balance between the size of its roots and the size of its canopy (Leaf mass.) The roots must be big enough to supply as much raw materials as the canopy can use, and the canopy must be big enough to provide the energy required to store those raw materials….

    * Trim the roots on a healthy plant, and canopy growth will slow to a crawl until the roots have grown big enough to again support the canopy.

    * Trim the TOP of a healthy plant, and root growth will slow similarly, until the canopy has grown big enough to again support the roots.

    * If the plant is already in balance, the canopy and the roots will grow at the same rate.

    If you actually measured them several times daily over several days, you’d notice that they actually DO get bigger at night, but roots and canopy at the same rate, unless either has been trimmed, and as long as the “batteries” hold out.

    Author: Smokey D Dope

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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    Thanks os much ,that make sense!

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    420 Member origamijoint's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    [QUOTE=Green-Goblin;987139]the reason roots appear to grow more in the dark is simply down to cell elongation.

    Thank you...I shall not get off my ass and install a timer in my veg room.
    grannyT likes this.

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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    Great information.
    grannyT likes this.

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    On Vacation BEARtokin's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?


    this is why i love this site.
    how else would i know this without purchasing a book!?!
    thank you my friend.
    all is appreciated.

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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    good stuff man.

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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    i can tell you that my plants grow 3" in 30 hrs of dark cycle when Im flipping to 12/12....i dont look at the roots but that should indicate something.

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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    I see noticeable growth after 12 hours of dark, but they grew fairly well for 45 days of 24 hour light too.
    http://www.420magazine.com/forums/jo...ry-clones.html

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    420 Member sully508's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    well said. i know my plants grow in the dark.
    i dont really watch my roots grow but,
    you'll know when your roots grow by the way the plant grows.

  11. #11
    420 Member GangaKing's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    This is interesting, for I've always been influenced by the idea that trimming the tip caused the roots to grow and the plant to become more bushy. That the tip of the plant caused the 'grow for light' factor, especially with inadequate lighting. But roots growing in the dark, wow.. love it

  12. #12
    420 Member sully508's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    the whole plant grows in the dark. i watched a time lapse video that was shot w/ night time vision. its unbelievable how much movement there is w/ the time lapse. but they grow day and night. but theres more activity in the dark.

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    420 Member Knuckles420's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    I always use a timer with a cycle of on 14 and off for 10. It seems to do fairly well.





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    420 Member GROWITSTICKY's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    heres what ive noticed from the years ive been gardening.
    fact-- roots die when air and light hit em.
    fact-- photosynthesis happens when the sun or light hits the plant.
    probably the only reason a plant can even tell its day is that the plant is growing and photosynthesising during that time. taking up water and all that.
    its a pretty basic trueth that the more roots the more fruits....so wouldnt it make sense that the plant grows up and out during the day with all that it does. then when things calm down and slow at nite the anchor probably has to catch up and start spreading out itself.....i could be totaly wrong but it makes sense to me.

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    420 Member GangaKing's Avatar
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    Re: Do Roots REALLY Grow in the Dark?

    When using the 14 on 10 off, do you leave it that way throughout the cycle? Starting from seed to flowering? This is real important so appreciate very much any input.
    Thanks,

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