Nutrient Burn: What it is and how to fix it
Nutrient burn is an issue that a lot of new growers may face.
The main cause of this problem sprouts from overfeeding your plants.
It doesn’t sound crazy to think if your plant really likes a certain nutrient, giving it extra amounts of that nutrient would make your plant grow through the ceiling! Unfortunately, this is not what happens, and overfeeding your plants can lead to them being "burned" by the excess concentration of nutrients.
So now we know that overfeeding can cause burns, but what exactly are burns? One of the major compounds found in plant nutrients is Nitrogen, which is used predominantly during the vegetative stages.
Overuse of nitrogen from nutrients can result in nitrogen toxicity, which if not treated in a timely manner can lead to more severe symptoms. Early indications of nutrient build-up prior to burning becoming a serious issue include:
- Leaf tips bending 90 degrees
- Deep green leaves
- Bright green leaf tips
- Stalks and branches show deep red or purple color
- Yellow, burnt tips on leaves
Fixing Nutrient Burn
Remember that it isn’t just nitrogen that can cause plant burn if overused. After vegetative stages, your plants will want more calcium and magnesium, and overfeeding these nutrients can cause similar issues.
The fastest way to take care of nutrient burn is to get rid of any damaged or burned leaves. To be extra safe, follow the calyx clusters back to their branch and remove the entire impacted flower.
The next thing you want to do is flush your growing medium with clean, pH balanced water. If using a reservoir, measure your contents with a pH meter and adjust with new, fresh water. Shoot for a gallon of water per gallon of media until you flush all fertilizer from the pot. Then use just water and maybe an organic tea solution for about a week, easing back into nutrients if the plant is starting to accept it again.
See Something, Do Something
Nutrient burn can be a serious problem and if not taken of in the early stages, it can destroy an entire crop. The best way to stop nutrient burn is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Always use the right nutrients for your growth stage, and even start with using only ¾ of the recommended dosage on nutrient packaging. This gives a little more room for error if you put in a little too much solution. Always take exact measurements, and use a measuring device with a set capacity to limit chance of human error.
Nutrient burn can be scary and detrimental if not dealt with or prevented. Just remember that it pays to be cautious, and you will be the one paying if you’re not.