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How To Prevent Hydroponic Plant Problems
Whether you have a contamination in your nutrients or your pH is slightly off, the effects on your plants can seem huge. Attack the problem head on with a smart and simple solution. Even the most common troubles can inflict damage to your indoor garden. The best defense is a good offense. Stop problems before they start. Here are several common problems that are frequently found in hydroponic gardens and what you can do to fix them!
Threat: Additives and other unnatural compounds in tap water can contaminate nutrient solutions.
Know: Water from municipal treatment plants often has chlorine and other chemicals that can affect your plants in a variety of ways.
Do: Install a reverse osmosis filtration system (starting at $150) or buy a pitcher with a filter that purifies water to keep the nutrients under control.
Threat: When your nutrient solution’s pH is outside the healthy range, your plants may be malnourished.
Know: Plants need a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 to efficiently absorb nutrients. Be aware that synthetic fertilizers—high in salts—lower the pH.
Do: Use organic fertilizer. Adjust pH as needed with natural white vinegar (acetic acid) or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
Threat: A hot grow room is a breeding ground for fungi that rot plants and clog hydroponic systems.
Know: High-powered lights throw off heat that, with the moisture in the room, raises the humidity.
Do: Eliminate and prevent fungal diseases with nontoxic, sulfur-based fungicides like the Safer® Brand Garden Fungicide. A dehumidifier reduces the moisture in the air and makes the room less hospitable to fungus.
Threat: Stale air deprives plants of the oxygen and carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis.
Know: Talking to your plants actually helps (because you exhale CO2), but they also need constant fresh air.
Do: Run small fans or—even better—set up an exhaust fan and vent system.
Threat: Grow lights are hot and can scorch leaf tips. If plants are too far from the light the stems will grow tall and thin.
Know: The bulbs of high-intensity grow lights can get hotter than 400 degrees Fahrenheit which plants do not tolerate well if placed improperly.
Do: Set up lights 6 inches (for 250-watt bulbs) to 2 feet (for 1,000-watt bulbs) above the plants and raise the lights as the plants grow to keep the distance constant.
Threat: Whiteflies, spider mites, thrips, and other pests find their way even into indoor growing rooms.
Know: These pests suck on plant juices and leave behind sooty mildew that is just as damaging.
Do: Use sticky traps to capture flying pests and use a neem-based spray to eliminate pests’ eggs and adults climbing on your plants.
The more prevention methods you use, the better. Eliminating bugs is particularly difficult since their life stages are short. You have to target them in all life stages multiple times.
Threat: Plant diseases lurk everywhere—on your hands, tools, and every surface in your grow room.
Know: You spread disease when you handle healthy plants after you’ve touched afflicted ones.
Do: Discard diseased plants immediately. Sanitize your hands, tools, and surfaces with rubbing alcohol.
Remember: Like people, stressed plants are more vulnerable to diseases and other problems. Synthetic fertilizers promote unnatural growth that strains plants energy.
Which Common Problem Was Plaguing Your Garden?
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