Nutrient burn in coco is something growers rarely talk about. Perhaps, it’s because plants grown in coco utilize the nutrients better than plants grown in soil. Coco as a medium contains no nutrients. Thus, the plant gobbles up whatever is available in the grow bucket pretty quickly.
However, most beginners make the mistake of giving too much nutrients. It’s worse when you invest in pre-mix nutrient solutions, then add specific nutrients into your watering solution.
Coco is pretty good for roots development, and the robustness of the roots and quicker plant growth encourage optimal nutrient uptake, which means if you overfeed the plant, the leaves will be laden with too much nutrients.
The first sign of nutrient burn in coco will be the plant’s leaves becoming deeply green, the dark green color. Later, the leaves will begin to burn at the tips and curl upwards.
The burnt tips will be brown, and though it might irk you to see your precious plant’s leaves turning brown, it gives you an early sign to save your plants when you still can.
How Do You Fix Nutrient Burn In Coco?
Flush the plant with pH-balanced water to clear the nutrient debris from the medium and stabilize the pH. Once the excess nutrients have been washed away, only give half the recommended dose to avoid overwhelming the plant again.
Before you begin to nurse your plant back to health, you should be certain the problem is nutrient burn and nothing else. Sometimes, the problem is a nutrient lockout—not nutrient burn.
The remedies that work for nutrient lockout will hurt your plants further. And so you want to make sure you know what you’re dealing with before you prescribe any remedy.
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What’s The Difference Between Nutrient Burn and Nutrient Lockout?
Nutrient burn happens when the plant has absorbed more nutrients than it needs, while nutrient lockout means the plant is starved of the nutrients. The nutrients are available, but the plant can’t absorb them.
Nutrient burn and nutrient lockout can be confusing because they exhibit the same symptoms. But they’re far apart. And such are their remedies.
Nutrient lockout, the nutrients are there but aren’t getting absorbed by the plant. Nutrient lockout is a deficit, while nutrient burn means the plant has bitten more than it can chew.
RELATED READ: Should I Use Cal-Mag Every Watering?
To solve nutrient lockout, you balance the pH. In most cases, nutrient lockout is majorly caused by a pH imbalance. When you rectify the pH, the absorption begins.
— AmericanKush (@KushAmerican) November 22, 2019
Remedying Nutrient Burn and Nutrient Lockout
Remedying both nutrient burn and nutrient lockout involves flushing, but with different intentions. With nutrient burn, you flush to decrease the nutrients the plant is taking, while for nutrient lockout, you’re helping the plant absorb more nutrients from the medium.
The flushing helps to get rid of excess salts from the environment. Excess salts from the previous watering can cause nutrient buildup. By washing them away, you’re freeing the root system for robust nutrient intake.
When flushing, you must pay attention to the pH of the water going in against the runoff.
According to Marijuana Horticulture Fundamentals, a book by K of Trichome Technologies, if the mix goes in at pH 6.2 and nutrients at 1,200 PPM and comes out at pH 6.0 and 1,650 PPM, you have a massive nutrient buildup.
Continue flushing until the pH of the water going in is the same as the pH of the runoff water. However, drain in sessions, let the plant drain the water before you flush again so that the plant doesn’t suffer from overwatering.
The best way to deal with nutrient burn it is to flush the coco medium thoroughly to release all nutrients so that you can begin afresh. Keep the pH between 6.2-6.5; anything more will inhibit the absorption of the nutrients.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Nutrient Burn in Coco
Nutrient burn can severely affect the roots of the plants, but once you flush the plant and nurse it back to the correct nutrient regimen, the problem persists. The leaves that were already burnt and curled upwards will not turn green again, but the new ones will show healthy growth.
When dealing with nutrient burn, do not worry about the burnt tips. They are just the signs; the real problem is in the roots. Just flush the extra nutrients and salt buildup from the roots. The adversely affected leaves will fall off, and new ones will grow.
Nutrient burn can kill your plant if you don’t diagnose it early. The damaged leaves won’t trap light for photosynthesis, starving the plant. Nute burn also hurts the plant’s roots and affects the general plant health. However, cannabis plants are hardy and can survive nutrient burn when you flush them in good time.
Removing nutrient-burned leaves doesn’t add to your efforts to save your plants. Fix the problem in the roots by flushing the plant and leave the burnt leaves’ tips untouched. They’ll fall on their own.
You fix the nute burn in late flowering by flushing the plant to release the excess nutrients from the soil. If the nute burn isn’t severe, you can ignore it when it happens too late into flowering. Just flush to give your buds a better taste.
However, if it’s early into flowering, you can flush, but add the plant more flowering time to cover for the lost time in healing.
In conclusion, growing in coco has many advantages, but since it comes without nutrients, the plant’s health entirely depends on how well you control the nutrients.
Thus, you need to know how you deal with nutrient deficiencies, nutrient burn, and lockout. The best way to deal with nutrient burn is to flush the growing medium with pH-balanced water until all the accumulated salts are washed away, and the pH is stabilized.
While at it, remember coco doesn’t contain nutrients for the plant. So you should avail nutrients in small amounts when you’ve balanced the pH—even in the case of nutrient burn.
- ANDREW PAULL, ANDERIA ZETTA. THE CANNABIS GROW BIBLE: Growing Marijuana For Beginners How to Grow Marijuana Indoor & Outdoor, The Definitive Guide – Step by Step, Cannabis Strains.