Landscape lighting damaged my oranges!

RickInCoachellaSeptember 30, 2012

Since I have never read or heard anything on the subject of using landscape lighting around FRUITING trees (some people use lights to protect against frost) I thought people might be interested about my unfortunate experience.

I couldn't figure out why my fruit all seemed to suffer from brown areas with yellow margins on the bottom of the fruit while still green on the tree. Sunburn wasn't an option because all the damage was underneath the fruit where no sun shines. [BTW, I don't think this is UV or heat damage because none of the branches or foliage appears burned (if they had I would have known the cause immediately due to the direction of the light.)]

I had no parasites, nutrition, root or other issues, but thought it looked a lot like oleocellosis. Except these were on the tree, the fruit was still very green, and wind or other trauma shouldn't be so uniform in location on the fruit.

When I opened the fruit the rind in affected (the brownest) areas was paper thin but the rest of the orange was healthy and thick.

I finally figured it out one night when I walked by and saw where the light was hitting. The damage margins were exactly the lit areas and terminated exactly in the shadow cast by the light! These are bright LED low- voltage units, so nothing out of the ordinary. They were about 4 feet from the affected areas.

The take away is DON'T illuminate fruiting trees with landscape lighting while fruit is on the tree. If anyone can tell me why this happens I might be able to modify the lighting to stop the damage. Until then, the trees are now lights out!

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LED lights are taking over the world. The incandesent bulb is going the way of the dinosaur because they generate heat instead of light, and are condsidered inefficient because of this. LEDs generate more light, much of which occurs at different frequencies and probably different spectrums (possibly including UV).

Most of the new landscape lighting is nice, no running wires for power, they use solar cells and batteries. Just plug and play.

You might want to consider blackouts on the landscape lighing that hits the trees, you would still be able to have the lights and protect the tree. Light energy will dissipate over distance focus on the light(s) closest to the tree. Like you said, you already have a template for the culprit lights.

The next question is this hurting the tree itself. Either with bombarding it with too much of the wrong light or the lack of a dark cycle. Photosynthesis process does need a dark cycle for energy conversion. Do the lights shutoff 4hrs after dusk?, if so, probably not a dark cycle issue.

I would guess that there have been sutdies on this topic already.

Good find.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 2:21AM
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what type of LED? the large bulb type led or the mini led?

i read about a government light competition a few years ago, the winner was a LED light bulb. the main problem the company had with building and designing it was too much heat.

how close are the lights?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:28AM
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