You put in time and effort growing your cannabis plants. You have a watering schedule. You have your lighting set at just the right height. You have been feeding them nutrients at the right time. So why do they have limp, yellow leaves and are drooping? You may have a condition called nutrient lockout. Read this guide in order to identify nutrient lockout and learn some tips which can help you to stop it.
What is Nutrient Lockout?
Nutrient lockout is when your cannabis plants are unable to absorb the nutrients that they need to be healthy. Something has happened which stops your plants from taking the nutrients they need from the medium that you are growing in. This means that your plant is essentially starving. If not taken care of, nutrient lockout can have a negative effect on the yield of your cannabis plants. It can also lead to poor health and death.
Nutrient lockout has basically the same symptoms as nutrient deficiency. Essentially your plant is being deprived of nutrients. Your plant is not absorbing any nutrients from the soil. Adding more nutrients may be pointless until you figure out what the issue is. If you have fed it enough nutrients and you still have the same symptoms, you will want to take action against nutrient lockout.
What Causes Nutrient Lockout?
There are two primary causes of nutrient lockout:
- Your cannabis plant is over-fertilized. This can be especially true with fertilizers that have a higher salt content.
- The pH levels of your water, soil, or nutrients are not in balance. Unbalanced PH levels can cause your plant to not take in nutrients.
Over-feeding your plants with a nutrient solution, or fertilizer, with high salt content can be problematic for your marijuana. The salts can build up in the soil and, over time, stop the plant from absorbing any nutrients.
The pH of your soil, water, or solutions can also cause an issue. If the environment has become too acidic or alkaline, the plant will also enter Nutrient lockout. Test your soil, water, and nutrients. Cannabis grows best with the following pH levels: soil: 5.6 – 6.8, water: 6.0 – 7.0, and hydroponic solutions: 5.5 – 6.5. You can use a product that adjusts your pH up or down in order to correct this.
Once you have determined that you have nutrient lockout, it is important to act quickly; otherwise, your plants could die.
How to Fix Nutrient Lockout
Once you have identified nutrient lockout in your cannabis plants, you will need to do the following:
Stop giving plants nutrients
You want to stop the introduction of new nutrients to the plan while you follow these steps. It will do no good to keep giving the plants nutrients at this point.
Flush out the soil with clean, pH balanced water
You will want to pH balance your water and really soak the soil with it. This will help to dissolve all the salts and nutrients in the soil. Once they are in the solution you can continue to flush the soil with water. Ideally, you want to break down any build-ups in the soil and cause them to be taken away with the water that you are using. You should have some holes in the bottom of your pots for excess water to drain out of. These will come in handy now.
Allow the soil to dry
Once you have completed the flush, you will need to let the soil dry out. Keep an eye on it. This could take a while. If you do not let the soil dry out, you could be allowing root rot to set in.
Use only water for the next few times you water your cannabis plants
Use only pH-balanced water for the next few times you water your marijuana plants. It is important to make sure that any salt and nutrients that were not flushed out in the soil flush are now. After you do this you may go back to using the appropriate nutrient schedule.
Preventing Nutrient Lockout
You know what nutrient lockout is. You know how to fix it. How do you prevent nutrient lockout in the first place? Preventing nutrient lockout involves many of the same steps as fixing it. Follow these simple steps to prevent nutrient lockout in your cannabis plants:
Check the pH levels of your plants regularly
Check the pH levels of your plants, soil, and water, every time you water. If the pH levels are off, you can use pH Up or pH Down in order to balance them.
Use only organic nutrients
Many commercial, non-organic, nutrient solutions and fertilizers are salt-based. These compounds tend to build up in the soil and cause nutrient lockout. If you get a low salt compound or an organic one, you can help to alleviate the possibility of nutrient lockout.
Flush your cannabis plants
If you are using a lot of nutrients, take time to flush out your plants once in a while. This will help to decrease any build-ups which can cause nutrient lockout in the first place.
We have discussed nutrient lockout and what can cause it. We have explored the ways in which you can fix it and the ways to prevent it. I hope that you are able to use the information on nutrient lockout, in this guide, to improve your growth and yields.