Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Root Rot--Panic, Solution--Water Less!

Just when you think you’re doing everything right, things fall apart so quickly that your head starts spinning. My six ladies are safely ensconced in their hydro buckets filled with baked clay pellets, all the Advanced Nutrients products are being mixed and poured into the reservoir as instructed, and yet I have a feeling that something is not quite right.

I discover root rot on one of my ladies. Just the beginning of it, but if left to fester, this could kill the whole plant. I have to act quickly. I run to the phone and phone the Advanced Nutrients technical guy. His first question is—“how often do I flood the buckets? What intervals have I set on my timer?”

He explained that most growers tend to overwater their pot plants. It’s as simple as that. The roots of cannabis are roughly divided into three sections. The upper third need oxygen to thrive. The middle third need both oxygen and water. Only the bottom third are totally satisfied with a liquid diet.

Mike the Tech Guy told me that he has three rules. #1—Don’t apply, until they’re dry. #2—When in doubt, flush them out. #3—Uptake should be determined by leaf surface.

He said that your reservoir is a good bio-feedback loop. Make notches on the side, to see how much of the solution your plants gobble up. And all this attention paid to maintaining a level ppm is based on human arrogance. Mother Nature never maintains a level. She fluctuates.

Once the plants have had their fill from the correctly mixed solution, toward the end of the week you should add just water and the concentration should be about 50-70% of the original level.

Then you can remix the next week’s batch according to correct ratios. The Nutrient Calculator on the Advanced website will give you an idea of what to aim for in terms of weekly ppm. But remember, it will always fluctuate!

He told me to cut back on the number of times I’m flooding my buckets and leave a longer period in between for the clay pebbles and the roots to get oxygenated and to dry. Sure enough, within a few days the root rot problem cleared up.

I guess it’s not enough to pamper your roots with the beneficial fungi colonization of Piranha. I use a lower application rate than the one they recommend, since I also use Carbo Load Liquid. So instead of 3g/L I use 1.5g/L, starting during the first two weeks of growth, and at three week intervals after that.

As far asTarantula is concerned, again, I use 1.5g/L instead of the 3g/L recommended, right at the first two weeks. Once the beneficial bacteria have colonized the root system, you may want to top them up at three week intervals.

The same holds true for Voodoo Juice, the microbial rhizosphere colonizer. I mix this at half the recommended rate of 30mL per 4 L, or 15 mL per 4 L, which is roughly a gallon of water. The label says that this can also be applied every three weeks.

Mike the Tech Guy added that what I presumed to be root rot might have been some very energetic colonization by the root enhancers, due to their intake of extra carbohydrates. He said I should flush the system with a weak solution of HyOx to be on the safe side. Then cut back on my watering.

Normally, the use of HyOx is not recommended when you’re using Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice, as well as SensiZym, since it kills off the beneficial microorganisms, thus de facto neutralizing their benefits.

I use SensiZym since its 88 enzymes are very much alive and they help clean my clay pebbles by munching on all the plant debris left behind by crop after crop going through my ebb and flow hydro system. I also flush the system frequently, as recommended, but it is nice to be able to use a product that helps in the clean up.

SensiZym helps my plants absorb water--as well as the dissolved nutrients in the water--better which makes for bigger plants and a larger yield. It also accelerates the growth of the microorganisms contained in Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice, which in turn guarantee a heavier harvest.

It is recommended that you mix SensiZym according to the ratio of 5 mL/L and add to your nutrient reservoir, if you’re using hydroponics. However, during the eight-week vegetative cycle you might 6.27 fl. oz. during the first two weeks, then increase that to 7.61 fl. oz. during weeks three and four, culminating in 9.39 fl. oz. during weeks five, six, seven, and eight. These calculations are based on a 19.82 Gallon reservoir, with an acid-alkaline balance of 5.6 pH.

Remember, if you want to get things right, pre-mix your nutrient solution in a large bucket (adding hard to dissolve products like Barricade the night before) and take pH readings every half-hour until your mixture’s acid-alkaline balance stabilizes. Then you can add the solution to your reservoir!

posted by Wes @ 10:06 PM

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