Growing cannabis isn’t as simple as putting the plant in the sun and watering it occasionally. The minerals the plant receives must balance between a slight touch of acidity and neutral. Unfortunately, seeing this is beyond human senses. Many tools can test the potential of hydrogen (PH) that’s in the soil. There are also testers for hydroponic and soilless setups as well. Testing the soil’s PH, however, is by far the most common and most straightforward of all solutions.
PH is the study of hydrogen ion concentration, but most don’t know what that exactly means. Preferably, the more efficient way to understand PH is by its scale. For those who do not remember which ways goes in what direction, anything below a 7 is considered acidic as above 7 is considered alkaline where 7 is considered the neutral position since its the halfway number between 1 and 14. The PH levels determine how the amount of pure water the plant will absorb.
A common mistake in gaging PH is mistaking a whole point drop as insignificant. A whole point swing will be fatal to any growing environment, as each point signifies a PH difference of ten times. If the PH drops a whole two points, it’s a 100 times difference. For each point, the difference in acidity or alkalinity is magnified. Maintaining a healthy grow area means being detail-oriented and attentive to slight changes. A drop or rise in PH will affect the growing cycle of the flower from slow growth to decay to eventual death.
There are many options to watching the PH level of the soil, where the plant feeds on nutrients. The PH level for cannabis plants need to range around 6 to 7, so anything greater than pure water will hurt the yield and growth of the crop. Cannabis feeds on acidic, as soilless and hydroponic hookups require a PH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
The larger the area the more area where the PH will need to be checked. Growing outdoors should measured more comprehensively with three to five spots that need to be observed. Another common mistake is believing that one portion of the soil has the exact PH level as another area.
The PH needs to be checked once a week. Make sure to not constantly or drastically change the PH so not to confuse the plant with inconsistent nutrients. Fertilizer will help the plant grow but it also can have drastic change in the PH, so check before and after planting the fertilizer to see the difference. If it’s too acidic, the plant will be poisoned and provide paltry yields.
Dolomite Lime can be used to stabilize the PH of the soil to neutrality. Soil tends to become more acidic over time since the rain does a good job of stealing minerals from the ground. Luckily, cannabis needs acidic soil to grow but it does not need a hyperacidic garden to grow from. Dolomite Lime can come powdery or in chips, but its always chalky and coarse no matter the form its bought in. Chips are aesthetically pleasing and provide structure for the plant to grow around so it’s highly recommended.
Adversely, if the PH is too high, composite leaves and cottonseed meal will add some acidity to the soil. Chances aren’t likely that this will be a problem, but better safe than sorry. The most important part of testing PH is to be patient because it will take time for the soil to change. However, being consistent and fastidious are the traits that will keep a healthy soil.
Maintaining proper PH levels takes science. Keeping a daily sheet of the PH levels helps determine in the future what amount of dolomite lime or composite seeds the soil will need. Ideally, the PH of the soil is between 6.2 to 6.7, with anything outside of 6 and 7 dooms the plant. Having soil at 6 compared to 6.5 is like choosing to eat food cooked at extremely rare or medium-well.