How to remove lights from pre lit tree


Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Repair/Replace • Queen Bee of Honey Dos

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istmas tree ornamnetsSeven years ago, I purchase a beautiful 9′, Vienna Pine. You know, the kind with the pre-lit Christmas tree lights? Well, it was wonderful for the first five years. Then, a few years ago the lights began to gradually twinkle out. So, last year after putting the thing together, wouldn’t you know it! Several rows wouldn’t light up.

(This post may contain affiliate links (*). That means that I make a small commission from sales that result through these links, at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.)

So, after spending hours trying to find and replace the burnt out bulbs, and after checking all the fuses, I was about to give up. Then, I decided to try one of those light repair guns*. Luckily, that got me through the Christmas season, but it was still a struggle. With me having to constantly get the gun out and click multiple lights every day, only to have to do it all over again the next day, I decided no more. The lights had to be replaced.

Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Repair/Replace…

When I unpacked the tree this year, I knew that I had a project ahead of me. My tree was still in very good shape, but the 1300 plus lights were shot. I guess I could have just bought a new pre-lit tree, but mine cost a pretty penny. Even with replacing the old lights with all LEDs, I would still be spending less than half the cost to replace the tree. Plus, LEDs will be perfect for when I get around to flocking my tree, and eventually, I will.

So, LED lights it is! I looked long and hard before deciding on a GE brand in soft white. Of course, a LEDs soft light is nowhere near as soft as the old incandescent bulbs. But, at least they do not have that bluish tint that the regular LEDs have. I bought my lights at Lowe’s, but if you can’t find those, Amazon sells these warm LED lights*.

I have also noticed that Walmart has some GE lights* available on their website. To be precise, the lights that I used were the GE warm white in the green packaging.  However, regardless of the brand that you choose, the most important is to be consistent.

If you need five strands, make sure all five are the same brand, style, and color temp. Otherwise, your tree will look funky. Also, if your tree comes in sections like mine, you will likely need a brand that comes in both 100 lights and 50 or 150 lights per strand. You’ll see why when you look at how I determined my light distribution in step 2.

PRE-LIT CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS, Step 1…

Where to begin? Oh, yeah. First, let’s lay out all the sections of the tree. (Mine has five sections).

Now, remove all of the old lights. Since I felt that mine were pretty much useless, I am using wire snips to cut through the jumble of crisscrossed wires that make up my trees old lighting system. Be prepared to spend an entire afternoon just taking all the old lights off. It’s not hard, just a bit tedious.

PRE-LIT CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS, STEP 2…

Then, to determine how many lights that I was going to need, I decided on about 5-6 bulbs would be dispersed on the top sections of each branch. So, I counted the branches (the very top doesn’t have individual branches. So, I just allotted 40 bulbs).

The bottom of the top section had 12 branches. That makes 12 x 5 = 30 + 40 more for the top tips. In other words, the top section gets a strand of 100. From there, I increased the bulbs per branch as I moved down the sections. (as the branches get longer, it will take more lights). This is how I worked out the lights on my tree. (click any image to enlarge).

To make things easier, I used the tree stand to hold each individual section as I wrapped the lights. On most sections, the lights needed to go from the interior towards the tip. Then, back along the length and cross over to the next branch. However, on a few sections, the branches were staggered. So, it made more sense to jump from branch to branch, in an up-and-down direction.

Try to make it so that male and female ends will connect at the interior of the tree. If that is not possible, use an orange colored zip-tie to mark the location of the plugs. You will be glad that you did next year when you have forgotten where you ended each strand.

When starting each section make sure that you begin with the female end on the top branches of the section and keep the male end on the bottom branches of the sections. That way you will finish with the plug (male) at the bottom of the tree. Doing this makes it easy to connect your 1st stand to an outlet and leaves a female hook-up at the top of each section.

Tip – to help keep things in place, use zip ties. You especially will want to zip tie the light connections that are made within a section. (i.e. anyplace where you plug the next strand into the previous one). That way the connections that are made within a section are easier to locate should they come unplugged in later years.

 

As you work your way along the branches, separate the needles so that the wires can be wrapped right up against the metal branch. This will help to hide the wires. Then when you reach the outer tips, just intertwine the lights loosely and to your liking. This will also be beneficial if you ever decide to flock your tree.

Reverse the process and go back down the length of the branch before crossing over to the next branch. (FYI – a few strategically placed band-aids will protect your fingers from becoming cut and raw.) :-) Make sure you leave enough slack at the end of each strand to reach the plug on the next tree section.

Continue stringing the lights, one tree section at a time. Once you finish with one section, set it aside and start on the next section, using the allocated strand length.

Finally…

Assemble the tree sections and plug in each male to the corresponding female jack. I ended up using exactly 1000 lights to get this result. However, the number of lights will depend on your tree size and your personal taste.

When you disassemble your tree this year, just unplug the strands between each section. (The same way that you did with the old lights). Good luck!

UPDATE: Three years later and my lights are still working perfectly. You can check it out on my 2018 Southern Home Christmas Tour. You will also notice that I have flocked my tree, as well. I just did that this year, and will post those instructions next week.

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, by Rachel Lynn 3 Comments

About Rachel Lynn

Rachel is a home improvement expert with more than 20 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, and interior design and has more than 10 years experience in graphic and web design. She used the combination of her experience and knowledge to start her own digital media publishing company where she shares her knowledge across three different websites.

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Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Not Working

You plug the tree in but not all the lights are shining. This can be a frustrating situation, especially if the tree is only 2-3 years old. Often, a Christmas light tester is the easiest way to locate the problem area. This page is about pre-lit Christmas tree lights not working.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Question: Malfunctioning Pre-lit Tree?

November 25, 2014

I need some electrical help! I am trying to replace burnt out bulbs on my tree. However with one row of branches, every time I replace a bulb, the whole branch turns off. I have even tried putting the old burnt bulb back in, the one that still kept the whole strand on the branch working originally, and it still won't turn the rest of the strand on that particular branch back on :(

I gave up on the one branch and found another burnt out bulb on the branch beside it. Guess what happened when I replaced it? Yup, you guess it, I broke the whole strand on that branch too. I thought it was just a fluke and said I'll just throw that end of the tree up against the wall, but I still didn't learn. I found one more burnt out bulb on the next branch over... and yup, I broke that strand too.

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Now I'm stuck with 3 dark branches and it stands out, badly.Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? Please help! This tree is for a unit I work on at the hospital. My good deed is driving me crazy :p

By SincerelyReallyFrustrated

Answers

Matthew T.

December 1, 20143 found this helpful

Best Answer

I'm not an expert, but I was having a similar issue and finally broke down and bought a Light Keeper Pro from Home Depot for $20. Problem solved! Very easy to use, and paid for itself within 5 minutes. Now I'm going back to all my old decorations that use mini lights and fixing them, too.
Hope it helps. Good luck!

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rkaelin85

December 2, 20141 found this helpful

Best Answer

I saw the answer above and purchase the Light Keeper Pro from Home Depot for $20+tax. Just as above Problem solved! Very easy to use, and paid for itself within 5 minutes.

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There were 9 bulbs out with 3 burnt shunts (keeping the string dead). It would have taken an hour to solve if I was able to get them all out of the string. Wow.

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Question: Pre-lit Christmas Tree Bulbs Not Working?

January 2, 2012

My pre-lit tree is 2 years old; one section is out and it seems like almost every bulb has blown at once. What causes that?

By Carmine


Answers

Best Answer

It may be a fuse in the light set. They have a fuse in the line. Check what kind and most drugstores and walmart sale them. Sometimes you can get one out of another old set of lights.

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Pat Phillips

January 9, 20120 found this helpful

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It is very important to make certain that none of the bulbs are loose. That is usually the problem. They can become loosened in shipment or just getting them out of the box and putting them up.

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If you have ONE bad bulb and it's still in tight, the others will remain lit, and of course check the fuses in the plug, if all else fails...

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Question: Lights Not Working on Pre-lit Tree?

December 22, 2014

We bought a pre-lit xmas tree about ten tears ago. We set it up this year and all was well until a week later. We plugged it in and all the lights were out. Any first aid suggestions other than to get another tree?

By Theresa from Chicopee, MA

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Question: Pre-lit Tree Lights Not Working?

The clear lights on the top part of my pre-lit tree are dim. What can I do?

By Anthony from RI

Answers

Best Answer

The little gun zapper worked great and we could only find it at Walgreens. We got most pre-lit lights back on but not all. thanks so much for the info.

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Liston

January 10, 20110 found this helpful

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I have a 7ft GE pre-lit tree that I bought in November '10. One row of lights went out just after Christmas. Discovered one of the non-replaceable bulbs blew. Lost the warranty card so I paid GE $15 for a new section of lights. Figured since I'm basically out of warranty, I would try pulling the white bulb before trying to rewrap the wires (Read some of the horror stories below).

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Pulled the bulb and white base, swapped the bulb with one from a green, replacable base and plugged it back in. The tree is as good as new. Does anyone know if there is a difference between the replaceable and non-replaceable bulbs, besides the base? Besides being more difficult to get out of the socket, I see no difference in the bulb.

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JoAT

January 31, 20120 found this helpful

Best Answer

I was just told that the 'non-replaceable' bulb has a built in fuse. When the fuse blows, they purposely don't want you to be able to remove the bulb and white base for safety reasons. That's apparently why they say replace the whole string.

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That said, it seems to me that the bulb could blow without the fuse blowing. I'm assuming that the bulb in the white socket is the same as all the others. (True?). But you can't replace that bulb if you can't get the white base out of socket! Some folks have talked about forcing the base out and replacing the bulb that way, but I think you're asking for safety issues. ... 'you're playing with fire'... maybe literally! :) Any time you try to bypass or play with a designed safety mechanism you're asking for trouble. You're in an unknown area where you are using something in a way which it was not designed to be used.

Bottom line, to me at least, is that all these light sets on prelit trees (and loose strings too) are not meant to last forever. Some, maybe all, of these light strings have labels that say they are only to be used for 90 days! So putting an unremoveable fused base in a light string serves the purpose of making sure that these lights are not used 'forever' and are taken out of service after a while: Either when the fuse blows or when the bulb in that base burns out.

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Anonymous

November 24, 20122 found this helpful

Best Answer

I came across this issue and read all the online info. Found myself in a similar situation, out of warranty and with dead bulbs. Bought a light keeper pro with no improvement. Decided to try to pull the white ringed bulbs in desperation. First after unpluging the tree, I took a heat gun (a hair dryer would probably work just as well or better as I needed to be careful not to melt the actual tree) the soften the socket area slightly.

Once the white ring socket was warm I twisted the clearly burnt up bulb off. I was able to wedge a plexiglass etching tool in between the bulb socket and the base. Then a narrow/ thin needle nose was manipulated into the same space. A little tug and it was out damage free. I then inserted a new replacement bulb into the base and reinserted the white ring. Did this x 2 and my tree is fully operational! I think the heat made a big difference in making things more malleable.

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Question: Trouble Connecting Lights on a Pre-lit Christmas Tree?

Reba

December 7, 2009

No one seemed to understand the problem with my pre-lit Christmas tree. Anyway my tree has a main hot wire that runs up the center of the tree. The tree also has lots of plug-in ones that will connect to the main wire on each section, then the other plug-ins that will connect to each other so each section will burn.

My problem is getting the main one plugged in the right socket so I can work my way up the tree. All fuses and lights are OK. Will someone give me some idea how to get all these plugged in? Or tell me which one plugs to the main hot wire on each section? There are no color codes on the plug-in. Thanks

By Reba from Bristol

Answers

Joan
Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks

December 7, 20090 found this helpful

Best Answer

When I assemble my tree, I always plug in the bottom section, that way as I put each additional tier on it, I can plug it in making sure that each section is plugged into the right place. I hope this is what I understood your problem to be.

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Best Answer

I did what redhatterb suggested, but then I made a diagram showing which branch numbers get plugged into the tree plug and which get plugged into the previous branch's plug. I keep this diagram in my tree storage container in a plastic sleeve. It's made putting the tree up each year much easier.

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Question: Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Keep Going Off and On?

November 16, 2012

The top section of my newly bought tree keeps going on and off. It seems when they are on and I try to adjust the branches the lights go off. Then when they go on again they stay on indefinitely as long as I don't touch the branches. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By Celeste O.

Answers

Anthony G.

December 13, 20141 found this helpful

Best Answer

While it is common to hear the term 'short' in the wiring, it is often used incorrectly by laymen and when they mean exactly the opposite of a short; a short would be a connection in a place it is not intended, and would probably blow out fuses, circuit breakers before it causes a fire. While it may help pass over the problem quickly with afternoon tea and biscuits, in a technical or troubleshooting discussion, it should not be used incorrectly. In this instance, nothing said indicates a short. Rather, it sounds like an opening in the wiring or a poor connection at a junction. Wiggling the wires should help you find the area with the poor or open connection.

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Question: Pre-lit Tree Won't Light?

So I have a GE 7.5ft pre lit Christmas tree. It has a foot pedal to control three different settings. What is the foot pedal connector part called? The tree is not lighting up at all. I have replaced all the bulbs and even replaced the connector that the lights plug into.

But when I hit the foot pedal to turn it on/off I'm not hearing a click. So needless to say I believe the foot pedal portion needs to be replaced, but can not find anything online. I really don't want to cut them off and replace them if I don't have to.

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Question: Prelit Christmas Tree Not Working?

What if there is no white socket light?


Answers

reidbarter

November 20, 20160 found this helpful

Cannot find a white socket...What do I do now

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Question: Some Lights Out on Pre-lit Tree?

December 18, 2011

I have a pre-lit tree and noticed that some of the lights are out and have turned black. Does that mean that I need to replace that strand? Can you do that on these?

By pj

Answers

Joan
Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks

December 18, 20110 found this helpful

Best Answer

I don't know why the bulbs have turned black, or do you just mean they don't light up. If some of them have just burned out, you should be able to replace the bulb. Anyway any pre lit tree that I have had have been that way. I don't know if you can replace the whole string or not, to me they look like they are attached to the tree in places. I kind of decided that when this happens to mine, I will just pretend it is one that didn't come with lights and string strings of new lights on it. The pre lit trees are kind of expensive to replace.

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Question: Problems Getting Pre-lit Tree to Light?

Is there a certain way to plug pre-lit Christmas trees in.

By liz from Idaho


Answers

Best Answer

I'm beginning to hate my pre-lit tree 8). But this year we bought one of those 'guns' that you can use to 'restart' the lights. They have helped with about half of the un-lit strands. It's called a "Light Keeper Pro". Can't remember the cost, but well worth it! Found it at the big box store.

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Question: Some Lights Out on Pre-lit Tree?

Our pre-lit "Barcana" artificial Xmas tree is 10 years old, and has functioned very well until this year. I just noticed that a section of the lower part of the tree doesn't light, although the rest of the tree does. I also saw that almost all the mini-bulbs in that section are burned out. I replaced maybe 30 of the bulbs, using the correct 2.5 volt bulbs. On the last one, the section lit up, but it was abnormally bright, lasted maybe 3 seconds, then went out.

Most of the new replacement bulbs were burned out. What seems to be happening is, that section of lights is drawing too much current for the bulbs, but not enough to burn the fuse; i.e., the bulbs are acting like fuses. Anyone know what is happening here, and what I can do to fix it?

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Question: Replacing a Strand of Lights on Pre-lit Tree?

Alice

December 6, 2015

My dog chewed the wire on the bottom strand of lights on our prelit tree. Can we unplug this strand from the one it's connected to and replace it with a new strand?


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Question: Christmas Tree Lights Not Working?

December 10, 2014

Christmas tree light manufacturers claim that if one light goes out the rest stay lit, this is not true. I have at least 20 sets with this claim that don't work including 2 prelit trees, why?

By scw

Answers

Glammom2

December 12, 20141 found this helpful

Best Answer

Buy the "Light Keeper Pro!" I thought it first it was a gimmick, but it works fantastically. It's like a little gun and you shoot it into the socket of light strand - it actually clears the current. It is a must especially with these pre-lit Christmas trees. We found ours at English gardens. But check online just Google and you'll be able to find other retailers that sell it ... sometimes drugstores have it too I would not have pre-lit trees or Christmas lights without it. My husband thought it was a joke, until it cleared out areas of lights not working on our pre-lit tree.

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Question: Pre-Lit Christmas Tree Has a Short?

Sara

January 5, 2010

We have a pre-lit Christmas tree that has worked for years beautifully, but this year the whole tree has been going out on us. The first time it happened we figured it was the main 5 amp fuse. We bought another and we were right, it lit again beautifully, but only for 1 day.

We again put in a new fuse and have found that the tree will light for a few hours and then everything goes off. As soon as I change the main fuse it goes on again. Obviously we must have some sort of short somewhere but how do I find it?

By Sara from NJ

Answers

kjablue

January 5, 20100 found this helpful

Best Answer

First and foremost, if I were you, I'd check with an electrician and make absolutely positive that your tree isn't going to short out and maybe cause a fire. If it were me, I'd trash the tree and find a new one. Sorry but the cost of a new tree is nothing compared to what the cost would be if it caused even a small fire. I once had a toaster short out and I was standing maybe 10 feet away. It scorched a spot on my wall about a foot wide and almost twice that up the wall before I could get to the electrical box and flip switches which took probably less than 90 seconds.

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How to get rid of glare in photos

One of the most annoying problems in photography can be ugly highlights that appear at the most inopportune moments. They are known to occur when a light source strikes a reflective surface. You can see this in any image, from the glare on glasses in portraits to reflections on the surface of a body of water. Don't forget about the windows too, glare appears on them even if you try to take a picture through the car window!

Regardless of why flare occurs, unintentional glare can ruin even the best images. Luckily, there are several different ways to get around, reduce, and even completely eliminate the bugs to make your photos a little less...well, not as bright!

We've translated this article for you, in which photographer Christina Harman shares some tips for reducing glare when photographing.

Filter light

If harsh sunlight causes flare in portraits or close-ups, consider diffuse lighting. If you bring a diffuser with you, you can gently filter out some of the harsh sunlight. You can use a reflector or even a fill flash to "return" some of the light back to your subjects, helping to fill in dark shadows.

Reflect light

If you are shooting with a flash or some external light source, bouncing the light off another surface (not the subject itself) can help reduce flare. When using the built-in flash, when it is impossible to turn it in a direction other than the standard one, it is necessary to use simple reflectors and diffusers for on-camera flashes. This is necessary to make the lighting softer and more attractive.

Reposition

If you find flare when photographing a particular subject, try simply repositioning yourself first. By moving around a little and placing the sun over your shoulder, you can certainly reduce the flare in the frame. You can also try to move the object itself, shielding it from the sun or other light source.

If there is a problem with glasses, suggest that your subject tilt their head away from the light source, this will reduce the chance of reflections from the glasses.

Consider a different time to shoot

If you're talking about natural light and repositioning doesn't work, you can come back later when the light improves. For example, the height of a bright sunny day is a time that abounds in glare and reflections. Instead, wait until the sun dips a little in the sky for optimal lighting that is much easier to work with. Also remember that clouds are your best friend when it comes to lighting, they will help diffuse the light so that the chance of glare is minimized.

Use a polarizer

A polarizing filter is guaranteed to reduce reflections and glare and produce brighter, more saturated colors in your photos. If you want to get rid of the glare on the surface of water, foliage, rocks, or even a shop window, try putting on a polarizer and rotating it until the glare disappears.

If you are photographing a sunset, it is good to use a gradient filter for shooting. With it, you can get rid of glare and preserve bright colors, such as the sky.

Use a lens hood

A lens hood can be a good way to reduce one type of flare. It's lens flare. These simple yet reliable fixtures are specifically designed to eliminate sunspots while letting in a lot of light. The presence of a lens hood saves the photographer from so many problems in photography.

Compose an image from several

As an option when dealing with unnecessary light in the frame, take two images with different exposures and combine them together in post-processing.

Expose one image for the highlighted areas and another for the rest of the scene. Use a tripod to ensure you get shots from a single vantage point.

Remove highlights in photo editor

As a last resort, you can remove highlights in post-processing. Of course, it is impossible to do this if the highlight covers the face of the subject or a key area of ​​the image, but when the highlights are shifted and located to the side, it becomes possible to painlessly remove them using the repair and clone tools in the photo editor.

Just accept it

If you can't fix a problem, play it up in your composition. Sometimes "funny bunnies" can add an unexpected artistic twist. Just make sure that the highlights you include in the photo are definitely intentional and used to enhance the overall composition.

While flare can be a problem, knowing how to deal with it will help ensure you don't miss an opportunity to capture the right shot simply because you have problematic lighting in your scene.

Take these tips into account and then be patient. You will be happy with the result!

Tags: natural light, portrait, reflector, theory

What, when, how to highlight seedlings

To highlight seedlings or not to highlight is another sore subject in the community of gardeners and gardeners. Many successfully grow healthy seedlings without additional lighting and are proud of it. Others claim that nothing grows in them without additional illumination. Both of them are right. In this matter, everything is decided by individual conditions and factors.

Do you highlight seedlings? Maybe you're wondering if it's worth it or not? Let's find out how to highlight seedlings and when it is really necessary. At the same time, we will find out which lamps to choose for lighting plants or how to get by with improvised means.

Is it necessary to highlight the seedlings and why

Light ensures the harmonious and rapid growth of any plant. Leaves absorb light. Under its influence, photochemical reactions occur, as a result of which organic substances are formed. In low light, the process of photosynthesis slows down, and this affects the plants in a bad way.

And now let's remember what our window sills look like in February and in the first half of March. Even on the southern and eastern windows it is a bit dark, to say nothing of the northern ones. It is not surprising that our seedlings are experiencing an acute shortage of lighting. As a result, they stretch, turn pale, sometimes wither. Stretched plants are more difficult to transport to the site and plant. They will warp and break. And after transplantation, it takes a long time to adapt to new conditions. They may not fit in at all.

On the other hand, seedlings that have received a sufficient amount of light at the initial stage of growth have a developed ground and root system. They have fewer problems with immunity to various diseases. From such seedlings there is every reason to expect a good harvest.

Artificial light: yes or no? Growing conditions play a huge role here.

It is difficult to do without lighting if you:

  • start sowing in February,
  • grow crops with a long growing season (watermelons, melons, strawberries from seeds, eggplant, peppers, root celery and others),
  • prefer late-season tomatoes varieties,
  • plant a large number of seedlings in a limited space,
  • are forced to put trays with seedlings on a dark window sill or keep them away from the window.

You can do without lighting if you:

  • start the "sowing" in the second half of March,
  • grow early-ripening varieties of seedlings,
  • have one (or several) well-lit window sills,
  • are ready to compensate for the lack of light with top dressing ,
  • always plant seedlings “with a margin” so that later weak seedlings are rejected.

Let's make it clear right away that "can do" does not always mean "better". Many gardeners do not light seedlings because it is expensive or troublesome, not because the backlight is useless.

So is it necessary to highlight or not? We advise you to act on the basis of a specific situation. If, in general, you are satisfied with the quality of the seedlings and the work on caring for them does not seem excessive, you can not spend money on an expensive lamp, but limit yourself to a home-made reflective screen.

But when the seedlings stretch out year after year, or grow slowly, or get sick, it makes sense to try "light therapy". Scientific interest is also a great reason to try backlighting. Compare and check on your own experience whether artificial light is really so good, or whether everyone on the Internet is lying.

How to illuminate seedlings on the windowsill

Additional lighting does not mean the lamp is on 24 hours a day. The general rule is this: turn on the lamp at 6 o'clock in the morning (before sunrise) for 2.5 - 3 hours. And turn it on in the same way in the evening - at 17 o'clock (after sunset). In the daytime, as a rule, there is enough light.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. In cloudy weather, it is recommended to illuminate the seedlings even during the day. To determine the need for daylight lighting, you just need to evaluate the difference between the illumination of the room when the lamp is on and off. If it is palpable, then natural light is clearly not enough. Let's use an artificial one.

The exact backlight time depends on the crop. Tomatoes need the most light - about 15-17 hours a day. Peppers and eggplants have their own lighting schedule - from 16 to 10 hours, depending on the stage of development. For details, you are welcome to our Reference table "Growing seedlings: timing, additional lighting, optimal temperature." It says how many hours you need to highlight popular seedlings.

Another important rule of lighting is to observe the day and night regimen. It must be dark at night. It should be light during the day. It is impossible to turn on the backlight at night and confuse the plants. Experienced vegetable growers recommend covering seedling containers with dark material if possible at night. Especially if a street lamp shines through your window.

How to illuminate seedlings and is there an alternative to lamps

There are two ways to organize the illumination of seedlings on the windowsill: with or without lamps. In the first case, be prepared to spend money on the lamp itself and kilowatts on the meter. The second option involves working with your hands and head.

Lamps for additional illumination of plants: what to choose

Halogen, sodium, incandescent, LED, fluorescent, gas discharge, induction - at first glance, the choice is great. However, if you are not engaged in growing seedlings on an industrial scale, the list can be reduced to a couple of options.

Incandescent lamps

Ordinary incandescent lamps are practically not used to illuminate seedlings. Despite their availability, they have a number of disadvantages:

  • short service life;
  • rapid drying of soil in seedling pots;
  • high risk of burning the plant.

In addition, in terms of energy consumption, this is the most unprofitable option, since only 5% of the energy is converted into light, the rest is thermal radiation. And many gardeners are not satisfied with the yellow spectrum of the radiation of "Ilyich's lamps". It is believed that blue and red light is much more beneficial for plants. In general, conventional light bulbs are not an option.

Fluorescent phytolamps (OSRAM Fluora, Camelion, TNeon)

Fluorescent lamps (LB or LBT) are affordable and easy to use. They can be hung and removed by a person without special skills. They don't heat the air. And more economical than conventional incandescent bulbs. Manufacturers produce special fluorescent lamps for illuminating plants with the necessary red and blue emission spectra. They do not overheat themselves and do not heat the lamp. And, importantly, they last a long time.

Still, fluorescent lamps (even energy-saving spirals) are already the last century. Toward the end of their life, the lighting power of such lamps decreases, they may begin to flicker. In addition, they contain mercury in their flasks, so they should not be thrown away with household waste. Lamps must be taken to specialized collection points.

For these and some other reasons, LED lamps for supplementary lighting of plants are becoming more and more popular and in demand.

LED phytolamps (Photosynthesis, Helios, Spring, ERA, etc.)

The most modern, safe and durable variant of phytolamps are LED. They are designed specifically for lighting plants. Here are their main advantages:

  • economical energy consumption;
  • no glow effect;
  • moisture resistant;
  • safe use;
  • uniform light and no flicker;
  • no infrared (thermal) radiation;
  • resistance to the negative influence of environmental factors;
  • high light output.

True, the lilac-pink glow can be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage of this type of illumination. Sometimes such light irritates the eyes and provokes headaches. Such lamps are not recommended to be installed on windows in a room where a person spends a lot of time. If this is not possible, you will have to fence off with blackout curtains.

Fitolamps are of three types:

  • Bicolor (emitting red and blue light),
  • Multispectral (red, blue, warm white, far red spectra),
  • Full Spectrum - has the widest range of luminescence.

By and large, for seedlings that are on the windowsill, the lamp of the first type is enough. All the missing spectrums of the plant will get from the natural light outside the window. Multi-spectrum and full-spectrum lamps are more suitable for highlighting flowers or growing plants in the complete absence of other light sources.

The main disadvantage of LED phytolamps is rather high cost. However, the long service life and high power justifies such costs.

Gardeners who understand electricity can create their own backlighting of the right size, power and illumination level from red, blue and white LED strips.

How to correctly position the backlight

Experts do not recommend the use of side lighting. Otherwise, the stems will bend towards the lighting fixture. Lamps should be placed only at the top so that the light is directed from top to bottom and evenly distributed over all shoots.

To effectively reflect light and reduce its loss, foil or foil foam is often placed under seedling containers.

How far from the plant should a phytolamp be installed

The answer to this question depends on the phase of the life cycle of seedlings and on the power of the lamp. The smaller the plant, the lower the lamp can be lowered. It is important to avoid burns on the leaves. The minimum distance is 10-12 centimeters. So low lamps can be placed before the emergence of shoots. Then, as the seedlings grow, the backlight is raised to 40-60 centimeters.

Lighting without lamps: reflective screens and other ways to increase illumination

Not every gardener (especially a pensioner) can even afford a fluorescent phytolamp. An inventive mind, skillful hands and improvised material come to the rescue. When there is no way to use artificial lighting, the only way out is to make the most of natural lighting.

Foil and reflective film screens

Foil and reflective film screens are most commonly used to improve natural light. These materials are good at redirecting the sun's rays in the opposite direction. So, such reflectors will help illuminate the seedlings from all sides. And it will not stretch towards the window.

A good effect is the use of a cardboard box pasted over with foil or reflective film. Previously, one sidewall and top are cut out from a large box. The rest is covered with reflective material. Containers with seedlings are placed inside the box. It turns out that on the one hand there is a window, and on the bottom and on the sides there is foil. Such a product refracts the sun's rays, thereby providing a comprehensive illumination of seedlings.

White paper shield

White paper is also reflective. Gardeners take advantage of this by constructing screens from paper and cardboard. They redirect the sun's rays to the shaded part of the seedlings.

If the seedlings are arranged in 1 row, then a rectangle should be cut out of cardboard along the length of the window sill, 35 to 40 cm high. It should be pasted over with white paper, and strong long threads should be attached to the sides. The structure is tied to the eaves so that the seedling box is between the window glass and the paper screen.

Foil foam structures

Foil foam can be used not only for window sill insulation to maintain the temperature. It makes an excellent reflector if you hang a piece of foam phenol from the eaves to the level of pots with seedlings. It is inexpensive, it keeps its shape by itself, at the same time it reflects light and works as a heater - a win-win option.

Simple "tricks" for more light

There are a number of even simpler ways to improve seedling light. Experienced gardeners recommend raising pots of seedlings above the windowsill. To do this, seedling containers are placed in pallets for watering, and small boxes, old books or any other material at hand are placed under the pallets. This will be especially useful for small seedlings that can be shaded by a window frame.

With a large number of seedlings, "two-story" racks help. This design will allow more efficient use of the window sill and provide better lighting.

The shelving unit is easy to make at home from leftover PVC pipes or wooden blocks. It is a construction of shelves with empty compartments where boxes with seedlings are placed. The optimal height is 2 tiers, the maximum is 3 tiers, but no more. The inner walls of the rack can be pasted over with the same penofol.

Finally, let's not forget one of the most important conditions for good lighting - thoroughly washed windows. There will be at least 15% more light.

It is up to you to highlight the seedlings or not, to buy a phytolamp or rely on improvised means. Growing conditions and financial opportunities are so different for everyone that there can be no general advice. Yes, additional light will never be superfluous even on the sunniest windowsill. But it is also impossible to say that you cannot grow high-quality seedlings without an expensive lamp.


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