How to Avoid Nutrient Excess and Deficiencies for Beginners
Nutrient excess and deficiencies are common issues when it comes to growing cannabis, especially if you don’t have much experience growing. Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to figure out what is causing these issues in your plants.
This article contains a few basic snippets of advice that’ll help you identify nutrient excess or deficiencies in your cannabis plants.
Water Quality Control
You’ll need to know what kind of water you’re working with before you start watering your plants.
In general terms, there are five different types of water:
- Tap water: the quality of your tap water depends on where you live – near the Mediterranean and towards the south of Spain, water quality is horrendous and it contains heavy metals and other contaminants that are bad for your plants. In the center and the north of Spain, water quality is much better. We recommend getting your tap water analyzed if you want to use it – this service is free in some areas.
- Distilled water: this kind of water contains absolutely no mineral salts, with an EC of 0.0, although its pH tends to be quite high, around 7.5-8.0, which can be adjusted with a pH reducer – the ideal level is around 5.5-6.5. This water is ideal for cannabis plants although it’s quite expensive – it’s perfect for small amounts of plants.
- Bottled water: there’s a wide array of choices out there when it comes to bottled water, with their contents easily available on the labels. Each brand has a different pH level, as well as EC. Some waters may have high proportions of certain minerals – we’re looking for water with low amounts of minerals. Again, this method is quite expensive although if you only have a few plants it’s a great choice.
- Osmosis water: this is generally the best kind of water to use, as you can use an osmosis filter to get rid of 99% of impurities from your tap water. Osmosis filters can be a bit costly, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re going to be growing again. It’s the best way to guarantee a constant source of reliable and pure water at home, all you have to do is switch out your filters every now and then.
- Well water: this kind of water is generally used when growing outdoors – well water is generally of unknown origin and usually contains high amounts of heavy metals, pesticides or chemicals which are sprayed along the surface of crops and can get into wells. These contaminants filter through the surface of the ground and eventually end up down in the well. This is why it’s risky to use this kind of water, but you can still analyze it to see if it’s apt for use.
We recommend using distilled or osmosis water, as they’re the purest forms of water that you can give your cannabis plants.
How to adjust pH and EC
The best way to keep your water perfectly apt for your plants is to keep a close eye on its pH and EC – we highly recommend using a pH and EC gauge to make this process much easier.
- pH: You’ll need to keep pH nice and stable between 5.5 and 6.5, If you want to keep it at one set number, we recommend having a steady 6.2/6.0pH.
- EC: If you’re using only water, the perfect EC is 0.4. We have specific products used to increase EC from 0.0 to 0.4, such as Sensi Cal-Mag by Advanced nutrients or mono-nutrients by Canna Calcium and Magnesium. If your water’s EC is over 0.4, you can reduce it by adding distilled 0.0EC water.
- EC: If you’re going to be fertilizing your plants through water, keep in mind that your plants are going to need more and more nutrients as they grow. They start off needing 0.4-1.2 EC during the growth period, and 1.2-1.8/2.2 EC during the flowering period, depending on the strain of cannabis.
Controlling the amount of nutrients that end up accumulated in your cannabis plants’ substrate is the key to ensuring that they don’t end up with any sort of nutrient deficiency or excess.
Make sure that at least 20% of your fertilizer mix ends up draining out the bottom of your plants’ pots. This will ensure that no nutrients end up blocking your plants’ roots, as they tend to sit at the end of the pot and accumulate over time. The next time you water or fertilize your plants, you’ll be able to replace those nutrients and keep your plants’ substrate nice and balanced.
By using this simple method you can reduce the chances of the following issues by 75%:
- Low yields
- Nutrient deficiency due to blocked roots
- Malformed plants
- Losing money by using unnecessary products
- Bad tasting weed
- Bad flowers