Understanding how your plants Effect Ph and EC, PPM
i had to share this...........
For your plants to grow at their optimum rate, the nutrient concentration and pH must be consistently balanced over time to insure plants have what they need, when they need it.
As your nutrient solution is circulated around the root of your plants, there is an exchange of ions, and over time your nutrients changes in concentration.
The easiest way to keep on top of your nutrient solution is to take a measurement of PPM or TDS (Parts Per Million and Total Dissolved Solids). This measurement is also commonly referred to as the EC or the "Electrical Conductivity" of a solution, because that is actually what you are measuring.
My favorite is the digital PPM or EC meter that is submerged in the nutrient solution for a reading to be taken. You should test your meter once a week with a solution that has a known PPM or EC value.
If you are running smaller reservoirs then changing the nutrient solution once a week is a must. I would say reservoirs smaller than 50 gallons qualifies as a weekly change.
No matter how much nutrients you throw at your plants, it will do no good if the plant can't absorb it. A major factor of how easy your plant will intake nutrients is controlled by pH.
PH is taken by measuring a voltage in a solution and registering it on a scale of 0-14 that represents the concentration of hydronium ions in solution.
This measurement of the nutrient solution in the reservoir will tell you if it is too acidic or alkaline.
When you mix your nutrients solution up in water it is best to let it sit for a least a few hours to stabilize before you try to adjust it. Today most hydroponic solutions have PH buffers in them. You should also be aware that commonly available pH control products are very powerful, and a little bit too much can sacrifice your entire nutrient solution fast. For first timers, I would even
suggest mixing up a single gallon of nutrient solution, letting it sit for a day, and then counting how many drops of pH adjustment (up or down) it takes to get it to a range of 5.8 to 6.5. You can then multiply your count by the volume of your reservoir as a baseline for rapid, full reservoir adjustments.
Nutrients may become unavailable to the plant if the solution pH drifts from an optimal reading, which for most plants is between 5.8 and 6.5. This condition is called "nutrient lockout".
Changing your nutrient solution at least every 2 weeks is the best insurance against plant damage, by change the solution it will provide the nutrients that your plant needs to survive.
Remember as your plant feeds the EC, PPM, and PH will drift a little, this is normal.
By running a bigger reservoir you will maintain pH and concentration better than a reservoir that is just big enough to do the job. If your reservoir is smaller you will see a much bigger drift change in EC,PPM, or PH. Most newbie's will think something is wrong with their system.
By monitoring pH, EC, PPM, you will have the ability to make corrections to your nutrient solution before your plant suffers.
PH and EC, PPM share a relationship with each other. What I mean by this is a perfect balance exists between plant requirements, solution pH and nutrient concentration. This reading never changes and is perfect day in and day out. But this will never happen, because as plants feed the nutrient solution changes.
So let's look at we can use this changes to help us take care of the plant. If you took a reading during the day, the plant is absorbing nutrients because of photolysis and you're PPM, EC will lower and your PH will raise daily. Now if you take this reading at night you're when you plants are asleep your PPM, EC will raise and your PH will lower. This is due to the fact that the plant is sleeping and not absorbing nutrients.
Now if you're EC, PPM is raising and your PH is decreasing, this is caused by the plant sweating. Possible causes are high heat or intense lighting. This problem will cause a nutrient lock out.
Most of the time this can be fixed by raising the light or creating more air circulation in the room moving that heat from the lights away from the top of the canopy.
Once you get into a routine with a particular strain and growing environment, you will develop a understanding for what should and should not be done, Only when you fully understand how this process work, will it become second nature making your life easier.
Keep a log and LEARN!
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