I've been doing a bit of research about how to flower plants earlier in the season, as to beat the heat and rippers. I've already found my autoflowers, but I would like to be able to flower ANY strain early. This process would be good for very long flowering time Sativas, anyone who lives in a very northern area or just to get an early harvest.
I discovered this after looking at a thread about using red mulch/plastic with tomatos to increase yields... which was inconclusive. However, it did lead me to spectrum alteration within the plants to induce flowering.
Short day plants flower when there is more darkness (Mj)
Long day plants flower when there is less darkness (Lettuce)
Day neutral plants flower no matter what (autoflowers)
Lets start off with explaining what phytochrome is and what effect it has on the plant.
Phytochrome is a photoreceptor, a pigment that plants use to detect light. It is sensitive to light in the red and far-red region of the visible spectrum. Many flowering plants use it to regulate the time of flowering based on the length of day and night (photoperiodism) and to set circadian rhythms. It also regulates other responses including the germination of seeds, elongation of seedlings, the size, shape and number of leaves, the synthesis of chlorophyll, and the straightening of the epicotyl or hypocotyl hook of dicot seedlings.
Now how does it actually work:
"Photoreceptors and circadian clocks are universal mechanisms for sensing and responding to the light environment. In addition to regulating daily activities, photoreceptors and circadian clocks are also involved in the seasonal regulation of processes such as flowering. Circadian rhythms govern many plant processes, including movements of organs such as leaves and petals, stomata opening, stem elongation, sensitivity to light of floral induction, metabolic processes such as respiration and photosynthesis and expression of a large number of different genes."
In the following text, by exposing the plants to infrared light (730 nm) at darkness they were able to reduce the amount of light needed to induce flowering Cockleburs:
Experiments with the cocklebur have shown that the term short-day is something of a misnomer; what the cocklebur needs is a sufficiently long night.
# Cockleburs (adapted to the latitude of Michigan) will flower only if they have been kept in the dark for at least 8.5 hours — the critical period. (A and B).
# Interruption of an otherwise long night by light — red (660 nm) rays are particularly effective — prevents flowering. (C) unless
# it is followed by irradiation with far red (730 nm) light (D).
So basically if you can hit your plants with infrared light at sundown for a short period of time you can reduce the amount of light needed. I happen to be at Lat 36 and my peak amount of daylight is 14, so by exposure of 730nm, I have now 'tricked' the plant into thinking there is 12 hours of darkness, hence inducing flowering at any time of the year.
Here are the links of where I obtained the information. They have more detailed info and are a good read. Some of it is confusing, still... but the main points for ourselves is in there.
If anyone else has information or real experience to bring to the table, that would be wonderful. Any comments and civil criticisms are welcome as well.