pH FAQ – IncrediGrow Garden Centre

Your order may qualify for free shipping or local delivery! Click for details

🌋PUMICE NOW AVAILABLE! 🌋

pH FAQ

pH is one of the most important factors to measure when growing plants in both hydroponic and soil-based systems. pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, with a pH of 7 being neutral, pH below 7 being acidic and pH above 7 being alkaline. The pH of the growing medium can have a significant impact on plant growth and overall plant health. In this essay, we will explore why pH is so important to measure in hydroponics and soil-based systems, and how it can affect plant growth.

Hydroponic systems are based on growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution rather than soil. In these systems, it is essential to maintain a consistent pH level in the nutrient solution. The pH level of the nutrient solution can affect the availability of nutrients to the plant roots. If the pH is too high or too low, the plant will not be able to absorb the nutrients it needs to grow. Most plants prefer a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5 in hydroponic systems. If the pH level is outside of this range, the plants will begin to show signs of stress and nutrient deficiencies.

One of the most significant advantages of hydroponic systems is the ability to control the pH level of the nutrient solution precisely. By measuring the pH regularly and adjusting it as necessary, growers can ensure that their plants are getting the nutrients they need to thrive. pH levels can be adjusted using various additives, such as acids or bases, to increase or decrease the acidity of the nutrient solution.

In soil-based systems, pH is also a crucial factor to consider when growing plants. The pH of the soil can affect the availability of nutrients to the plant roots. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If the soil is too alkaline or too acidic, the plants will not be able to absorb the nutrients they need to grow properly.

The pH level of the soil can also affect the activity of microorganisms in the soil, which play a critical role in breaking down organic matter and releasing nutrients to the plants. If the pH is too low or too high, the activity of these microorganisms will be reduced, leading to nutrient deficiencies and poor plant growth.

Measuring the pH of the soil is essential to ensure that the plants are getting the nutrients they need. Soil pH can be adjusted using various methods, including adding lime to increase the pH or adding sulfur to decrease the pH.

Vegetables grown with the wrong pH may not be as nutritious as vegetables grown with the correct pH. This is because the pH level of the growing medium affects the availability of nutrients to the plants, and therefore the nutrient content of the harvested vegetables.

In conclusion, pH is a critical factor to consider when growing plants in hydroponic and soil-based systems. The pH level of the growing medium can affect the availability of nutrients to the plants, the activity of microorganisms in the soil, and ultimately the overall health and growth of the plants. By regularly measuring and adjusting the pH level, growers can ensure that their plants are getting the nutrients they need to thrive and produce healthy yields.

What happens if I decide not to measure pH in hydroponics?

If you decide not to measure pH in hydroponics, you run the risk of creating an environment that is either too acidic or too alkaline for your plants to thrive. This can lead to a variety of problems that can affect the growth and health of your plants.

If the pH of your hydroponic solution is too low (acidic), the plants may not be able to absorb certain essential nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. This can lead to stunted growth, yellowing of the leaves, and other signs of nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, the low pH can damage the roots of the plants, making them more susceptible to diseases and pests.

On the other hand, if the pH of your hydroponic solution is too high (alkaline), the plants may not be able to absorb other essential nutrients, such as iron, manganese, and zinc. This can also lead to stunted growth, yellowing of the leaves, and other signs of nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, high pH levels can cause certain nutrients to become insoluble and form deposits in your system, which can clog your irrigation lines and harm your plants.

In extreme cases, if the pH of your hydroponic solution is too low or too high, it can lead to plant death. This is because extreme pH levels can cause irreversible damage to the roots and other parts of the plant.

Overall, not measuring pH in hydroponics can have serious consequences for your plants. It is essential to regularly monitor and adjust the pH of your nutrient solution to ensure that your plants are getting the nutrients they need to thrive. By maintaining the proper pH level, you can prevent nutrient deficiencies, promote healthy plant growth, and maximize your yields.

What about pH in soil?

While measuring pH is not as critical in soil gardening as it is in hydroponics, it is still important to monitor and maintain the pH level of your soil to ensure optimal plant growth and health.

The pH level of soil affects the availability of nutrients to your plants. If the pH level is too high or too low, some essential nutrients may not be available to the plants, which can lead to stunted growth and poor yields. In acidic soil, for example, certain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus can become less available to plants. In alkaline soil, nutrients such as iron, manganese, and zinc may become less available.

In addition to affecting nutrient availability, pH can also influence the microbial activity in the soil. Soil microorganisms play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter and releasing nutrients that are essential for plant growth. A pH that is too acidic or too alkaline can disrupt the balance of these microorganisms and affect their ability to perform these important functions.

Regularly monitoring the pH level of your soil can help you adjust it as needed to optimize nutrient availability and microbial activity. Soil pH should be checked periodically, particularly if you notice signs of nutrient deficiencies in your plants, such as yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or poor yields.

While it is possible to grow plants in soil without measuring pH, doing so can result in suboptimal growth and yields. Therefore, it is recommended to monitor and maintain the pH level of your soil for best results.

How do I adjust pH?

Mega Mass pH Up and pH Down are common pH adjusting solutions used in hydroponics and soil gardening to raise or lower the pH of the nutrient solution or soil. Here's how to adjust pH using Mega Mass pH Up and pH Down:

  1. Test the pH level: Use a pH meter or test kit to determine the current pH level of your nutrient solution or soil. This will help you determine how much pH Up or pH Down you need to add.

  2. Use pH Up to raise pH: If the pH level is too low, you will need to add pH Up to raise the pH level. Start by adding small amounts of pH Up to the nutrient solution or soil and mix well. Retest the pH level and repeat until the desired pH level is achieved.

  3. Use pH Down to lower pH: If the pH level is too high, you will need to add pH Down to lower the pH level. Start by adding small amounts of pH Down to the nutrient solution or soil and mix well. Retest the pH level and repeat until the desired pH level is achieved.

  4. Wait and retest: After adding pH Up or pH Down, allow time for the solution to mix and settle before retesting the pH level. This will ensure an accurate reading of the pH level.

Note: When adding pH Up or pH Down, it's important to avoid adding too much at once, as this can cause a drastic pH swing, which can harm your plants. Start with small amounts and work your way up until you achieve the desired pH level.

Why don't pH adjusters have dosages on the bottles?

Most pH adjusting solutions do not have precise dosages on them because the amount of pH adjusting solution needed to adjust the pH of a given volume of nutrient solution or soil can vary based on a number of factors.

The main factor affecting the amount of pH adjusting solution needed is the starting pH level of the nutrient solution or soil. If the starting pH level is very far off from the target pH level, more pH adjusting solution will be needed to bring it back to the desired range. Additionally, the type of nutrient solution being used, the specific plants being grown, and the growth stage of the plants can all affect the amount of pH adjusting solution needed.

For these reasons, if there are even dosages provided on the bottles of pH Up and pH Down at all, these are typically ranges rather than precise amounts. This allows growers to start with a small amount and gradually add more as needed to achieve the desired pH level. Typically bottles will not provide dosages at all.

It's important to note that adding too much pH adjusting solution at once can cause the pH level to swing too far in the opposite direction, which can be harmful to plants. For this reason, it's best to start with small amounts of pH adjusting solution and test the pH level frequently until the desired level is reached.

Why does my pH drift in hydro?

pH drift in hydroponics can occur due to a number of factors:

  1. Nutrient uptake: Plants absorb different nutrients at different rates, which can cause the pH level of the nutrient solution to fluctuate. For example, as plants absorb more nitrogen, the pH level can rise, while the absorption of phosphorus and potassium can lower the pH level.

  2. Microbial activity: The presence of beneficial bacteria in the hydroponic system can cause the pH level to change as they convert nutrients from one form to another.

  3. Alkalinity of water source: The pH level of the water used in hydroponics can affect the pH level of the nutrient solution. Water sources with high alkalinity can cause the pH level of the nutrient solution to rise.

  4. Chemical reactions: Chemical reactions can occur between the nutrients in the nutrient solution, which can cause the pH level to change.

  5. Evaporation: As water evaporates from the nutrient solution, the concentration of nutrients in the solution increases, which can cause the pH level to change.

To control pH drift, it's important to monitor the pH level of the nutrient solution regularly and adjust it as needed using pH adjusting solutions such as pH Up and pH Down. It's also important to maintain a consistent nutrient feeding schedule and to regularly check the alkalinity of the water source. Additionally, using hydroponic systems that have good aeration and circulation can help prevent microbial activity and chemical reactions that can contribute to pH drift.

How does Coco Coir affect pH?

Coco coir is a popular growing medium for hydroponic systems and is made from the fibrous husks of coconuts. One of the unique properties of coco coir is that it has a natural pH buffering capacity, which means that it can help to stabilize the pH level of the nutrient solution.

However, coco coir can also cause some pH-related issues in hydroponics. One common issue is that coco coir can have a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), which means that it can retain nutrients and ions in the growing medium. This can lead to a buildup of excess nutrients and salts in the coco coir, which can cause the pH level of the nutrient solution to drop.

To avoid pH-related issues when using coco coir, it's important to properly prepare the growing medium before use by soaking it in pH-balanced water and flushing it thoroughly. Additionally, it's important to regularly monitor the pH level of the nutrient solution and adjust it as needed using pH adjusting solutions such as pH Up and pH Down. It's also important to maintain a consistent nutrient feeding schedule and to regularly flush the growing medium to prevent a buildup of excess nutrients and salts.

How do I pH my rockwool?

It's important to properly pH the rockwool before use to ensure that the nutrient solution stays within the optimal pH range for plant growth. Here's how you can pH your rockwool:

  1. Soak the rockwool: Before pHing your rockwool, you'll need to soak it in water to remove any impurities and adjust the pH of the rockwool to match that of the nutrient solution. Soak the rockwool for at least an hour in water that has been pH balanced to the desired level for your specific plant species.

  2. Test the pH of the rockwool: After soaking, use a pH meter or pH test kit to measure the pH level of the water that has drained out of the rockwool. The pH of the water should be within the optimal range for your plant species.

  3. Adjust the pH if necessary: If the pH of the water drained from the rockwool is too high or too low, adjust the pH of the water you are using to soak the rockwool by adding either pH Up or pH Down solutions, then soak the rockwool again. Continue testing and adjusting the pH until it falls within the optimal range for your plant species.

  4. Rinse the rockwool: After the pH of the water drained from the rockwool is within the desired range, rinse the rockwool with clean water to remove any excess salts and other impurities that may have accumulated during soaking.

By properly pHing your rockwool, you can ensure that your plants receive the proper balance of nutrients and grow to their full potential.