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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325

Photoperiod studies in a greenhouse usually require that the natural photoperiod be modified to increase or decrease the daylength. Modification involves using lights to extend the daylength or using some opaque material (e.g., black sateen cloth or black plastic) to shorten the photoperiod by excluding light. Air temperatures under the material can deviate from those of the surrounding air. It is common knowledge that when plants are covered by the cloth prior to sunset, solar radiation will increase the temperature under the it. It is not as widely known that temperature under the cloth will be lower than surrounding air temperature during the night. Radiant cooling of the material occurs when the greenhouse glazing material is cooler than the air temperature, resulting in cooling of the air and plants contained under the material. We have observed radiant cooling exceeding 150 W·m-2 when glazing is cold (-7°C), resulting in a temperature reduction under the material of up to 4°C. The difference in temperature between short-day and normal- or long-day treatments can lead to incorrect conclusions about the effect of photoperiod on plant development rate. Data will be presented with a sample control system to correct the problem.

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