Monitoring soil pH is important from seed to harvest time because soil that is too acidic or too basic may impede its absorption of nutrients. It is easy to adjust soil pH levels and of course before you make adjustments, you must check for the pH levels first.
You want to maintain soil pH levels of 6 to 7. If you are using hydroponics, soilless or coco soil then the optimum pH is 5.5 to 6.5. pH levels must be tested on the water that is going into your plant and the water that has run off the bottom of the pot. Too low or too high pH levels can result to nutrient deficiencies even if the nutrients are already present in the growing medium.
You can use a digital pH pen or digital tester or a pH measurement kit that uses strips or drops to test for soil pH. Simply follow the steps on the packaging and you will be able to see results right away. After you have tested water that you water your plants and the water run-off, you can now make adjustments accordingly.
Using a pH adjuster
There are many ways to adjust pH and the most common one used by growers is a bottle of PH Up and PH Down. This is an easy pH adjuster that will allow you to adjust plants grown on soil and plants grown on hydroponics medium. PH Up and PH Down come in separate bottles that will allow you to easily make adjustments.
If you need to mix nutrients to adjust soil pH then use tap water. There is no special water to do this. You can also use the water bottle or container that the water came from to mix nutrients. Do not use fragile or breakable containers.
How to adjust pH levels
- Add nutrients or supplements in your water. Use the water bottle that the water came with. Add nutrients before you check for pH since these can easily adjust pH of water.
- Shake the water to dissolve the nutrients. This is why it’s easy to use a plastic water bottle; just cover the bottle tightly and you can shake till all the nutrients dissolve.
- Use a digital pH tester or a testing strip to test for the water pH. Record your results.
- Once you have a reading, use the PH Up or the PH Down solution to make adjustments. Simply us PH Up to increase water pH or use PH Down to reduce pH if the reading is too high.
- Retest to check if your pH is now at the ideal range. If you still need to adjust then do so.
- Once the pH is at the ideal level, you may now proceed with watering your plants with the solution or add this to your hydroponic nutrient reservoir.
- Check the pH of your water run-off. Get a sample as soon as you see water running off from the small hole at the bottom of the pot.
How much up and down solution do you use to get the ideal pH levels
It’s easy to say that you need to use an Up and Down solution to correct pH. But how do you do this using the PH Down and PHU Ups solution. Firs to call, consider the type of water you use. If you are using soft water or very soft water, add just a tiny amount of solution to adjust water pH. You may add more if you are using hard water.
In using PH Down, 1 ml/gallon of water will reduce water pH about 1 point. Use a syringe with calibrated measurements because it is easier to use. For PH Up, you may need to use more solution in water to adjust pH. Add 2 to 4 ml/gallon of water to raise pH about 1 point. Be sure to take note of the amount of PH Up and PH Down to save you time the next time you will add nutrients to your water.
Some useful tips on adjusting pH and nutrient management
- If this is your first time to adjust water pH, use only a small amount and slowly work your way up to larger amounts once you are able to do this easily. Usually it takes around two to three waterings when you will be able to do this confidently.
- It is always better to give too little than too much when it comes to giving nutrients to cannabis plants. It’s easy to add more but it is difficult to take what you added too much back. Just start at half the recommended dose to be safe.
- Do not add nutrients with each other. Always add these directly to water. Mixing nutrients together can cause a reaction that can be harmful to your plants. In fact, you can find this rule in labels of many nutrient adjusters as well.
- Use tap water to adjust pH rather than highly-filtered water. Tap water will not swing pH levels too high or too low unlike RO water which has very little buffering abilities.
- Take note that shaking water can change its pH. Usually you check and recheck water pH by shaking the water bottle so nutrients can be dissolved. However, this can increase the pH of water due to increased dissolved oxygen in water. Plant roots love more oxygen but shaking can raise water pH dramatically. But don’t worry, there is no need to readjust. Just let water in the bottle sit for a while to remove oxygen bubbles. Now do not shake the bottle vigorously once you have managed to adjust your pH.
- Aside from PH Up and PH Down, there are other versions of this product. You can ask your local gardening supplies store or ask other growers for their preferred products. Some may use vinegar or baking soda to do this but using a trusted product is a better alternative.