pH and How It Affects Cannabis Plants
Every gardener knows that pH levels are crucial for growing any plant. Each and every type of plant has its own optimal pH level of soil and water which is most suitable for them, marijuana seeds are not different. But what is the pH? It is an indicator of the acidity or alkalinity of a water solution. A neutral level of pH is around 7.0 and it’s the pH level of pure water. Any solution with pH below 7 is treated as acidic and those with a value above 7 are alkaline. Obviously, the higher or the lower the pH level of the solution the more extreme alkaline or more toxic acid is.
Marijuana seeds require a neutral pH level of 6.5 to 7 in soil and 5.8 to 6.5 in hydroponics. Growers, who buy cannabis seeds, should monitor the pH levels of their medium, using a pH meter, and adjust the levels if there is such a need. You can choose either a liquid pH tester or an electronic one, while the electronic ones are more comfortable you need to calibrate them regularly. Nevertheless, pH testers are not expensive and necessary items for a grower.
What happens when we do not adjust pH levels?
The dangers for the cannabis seeds and plants that result from neglecting the pH levels pose significant issues for growers. Incorrect pH contributes to the most serious nutrient disorders in organic soil gardens. For example, the pH level above 7 will cause problems with iron absorption, so leaves will yellow and pH below 6 may result in black spots or burnt root tips as calcium is not accepted by the plant in such an acidic environment. Improper pH levels may hinder the assimilation of the majority of nutrients.
If we start fertilizing a medium with pH imbalance, because we misdiagnose symptoms as nutrient deficiency, the situation will only deteriorate. Even though, initially, we may see some improvement which is caused by the fact that fertilizers are acidic and adding them changes pH level. In the long run, just adding fertilizers will greatly decrease the pH level of the medium you are using for growing pot seeds.
Adjusting pH levels for soil
As previously stated the best pH for growing cannabis in soil is between 6.5 to 7, as this is a range in which nutrients are processed most efficiently. It is important to remember that pH fluctuations are dangerous and 1 point in the scale means a ten-fold change of acidity/alkalinity. This means a reading of pH 6 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 7. This is why the pH levels should be monitored daily to realize that over time the pH has been changing.
If we need to lower the pH we should add vinegar to the water as it is a neutral acid that is harmless for the plant. In the case of our soil being too acidic, we need to change the water source and use either rainwater or bottled one. Growers sometimes mix their potting soil with fine dolomite lime, because most potting soils available on the market are slightly acidic.
Adjusting pH levels for hydroponics
If we are growing weed seeds hydroponically then the appropriate pH level we need is between 5.8 and 6.5. Generally, hydroponics isn’t so susceptible to pH imbalances as the nutrients are in a solvent form. This is why even a fluctuation of 1 point in hydroponic systems is not dangerous as long as it is dealt with within one day.
Standard pH kits will include potassium and phosphoric acid for increasing and decreasing pH levels. The most important factor in terms of hydroponics pH level is water. The quality of water influences the pH level so it is important to know what kind of water you are using so you can buy appropriate fertilizer which will help in stabilizing the pH level of your hydroponic system.
Hopefully, these few dangers and guidelines about adjusting pH levels made you think about buying pH testers and seriously consider doing it next time you buy marijuana seeds. This will greatly improve the growth of your plant and monitoring pH levels will help you prevent a few typical cannabis growing problems.