Knowing that overdoing it on nutrients is possible, nutrient lockout almost sounds like a good thing! The plants 'realize' their medium is too saturated for them to absorb anything, so they just stop intake altogether!
But this is dangerous. Eventually, your cannabis will starve itself, and the tissue that dies during this stage won't come back.
To make matters worse, new growers, or anyone growing without resources on an unfamiliar strain, may misread the symptoms of cannabis nutrient lockout as a lack of nutrition, and continue to contribute to the problem!
Imagine what it might look like if cannabis could get scared. Nutrient lockout causes leaves to go pale, shriveled, and limp–not unlike underwatering. Important distinctions is finger-testing the soil and remembering your watering schedule. Watered three days out of the last week? Growing hydroponically? The issue is probably something else then, and that else is lockout.
Does all the talk of chemicals make you a little antsy? It shouldn't! Everything you grow with is made of chemical compounds, right down to the dihydrogen monoxide you pour from your watering can. And these issues aren't isolated to users of nutrient isolates! 100% organic growers can still have problems with overfeeding their grows. The nitrogen found in manure and urine (don't knock it, it makes lemons bigger and better) can still have a detrimental effect on plants when improperly diluted, or mixed with less active soil.
Fortunately, even though tissue damage cannot be reversed, a little extra care can let your cannabis recover and grow back. Now that you know when to stop giving cannabis nutrients, you can move on to how to refine your grow's recovery! Let's talk how to flush marijuana.
Far from being flushing contraband (you'll just clog the toilet anyway, don't bother), flushing marijuana is typically considered to just be watering with only water, and halting feeding. Though sometimes flushing is done with the intention of improving the taste and smokability of a harvest close to the end of the flowering period, it can also used to course correct in situations where overfeeding has lead to cannabis damage. It won't bring anything back, so prevention is always the best recourse, but it will allow the plants to recuperate and get back on track!
To flush soil, all you need do is…water! When there's an excess of cannabis nutrients built up, you can water in such a way that you cause runoff–making sure that there's so much in each watering that you get water draining off from the bottom of the pots. Not only will this physically and chemically run the nutrients out of your plant, you'll also be able to measure when the nutrient load has normalized!
Flushing hydroponics is a little more labor intensive, but carries the advantage of fairly immediate effects! Drain your nutrient-laden water, clean your hoses, grow medium, and filters and replace it with clean, PH tested water. Plants will return to their old selves fairly shortly, and nutrients can be reintroduced after healthy growth is established.
PS, you can save on fertilization treatments outdoors by tossing it all on a growing tree or hardy bushes. Just be mindful that you aren't disposing of overly nourished water in a garden full of leafy, soft-stemmed plants that will ALSO be subject to nutrient burn.
PPM, stands for Parts Per Million: a ratio of molecules of solid compounds (the elements that make up nutrients for cannabis in this case) to parts of water. You'll measure either your soil runoff or the water in your hydroponics tank with what's called a TDS meter (standing for total dissolved solids. Just fill a cup with water, dunk the meter in, and you'll have a number!
For measuring runoff from soil, you can lift your pots into a small stool, or anything that can hold its full weight elevated off the ground to catch runoff in a glass, or even a trashbag. Just remember to keep it safe and lift with your legs (preferably BEFORE you water). If that's out of the question altogether, you can sponge water out of the drip pan in your grow tent into a glass!
Ideal PPM, just like red:blue spectrum ratio in your grow lights, will vary depending what stage of growth your cannabis is in.
Flowering cannabis needs a PPM of 1000-1100.
Veg stage cannabis needs a PPM of 800-900.
Newly cloned cannabis and cannabis seedlings need a PPM of 500-600.
Flushing to correct for overfeeding is very much a hurry up and wait process. There's not much you can do to encourage roots to filter water any faster than they already do (though we hear talking to your plants always helps). However, there is a way to help neutralize the extra chemicals in your medium.
Lotus Nutrients CarboFlush works to aid flushing in two ways. Firstly, this mix cancels out the minerals in nutrients on a chemical level. Remember 8th grade chemistry? This basic formula helps render the acidic salts inert, and keeps your grow from continuing its uptake of the nutrients before they're physically flushed out! The second prong of this formula works with the tiniest of your cannabis' little helpers. Helpful microbes in the soil are also affected by overfeeding cannabis, so CarboFlush includes a little food for them to help get their populations back up to normal, and aiding your pot in its growth, and you in your future harvesting!
Now that you know when to stop giving cannabis nutrients, there's another side of the coin to discuss. Many symptoms of excess nutrition in cannabis can look like other grow issues! Tie in the fact that different strains can show different appearances like natural darkness, paleness, and even healthy yellow edges, and you have a recipe for disaster if you're not making sure you're well-versed!
Halting nutrients and flushing cannabis too early into its growth cycle can lead to some serious situations. Plants that are nutrient deficient are subject to more harm higher rates of infestation from fungi, harmful microbes, and pests. Viral infections can overtake an entire tent full of malnourished plants before overt symptoms and attempts at isolation even start!
And even with grows that do survive an underwhelming feed schedule, yields on malnourished plants will be small, sparse, and not nearly as potent.
An eagle eye and context clues will tell you whether your grow is truly suffering from an excess of minerals. Always ask yourself a few questions before you Overall, you'll be looking for changes in:
Color: Does your plant present as a typical member of its strain family? Does it look like its clone siblings? Does it look too dark, too light, or too yellow? Are any color changes spreading or isolated? As the plant matures is all of the color changing at once? Or is it starting in any specific area?
Leaf shape: Do your leaves have the right number of 'fingers' for the type of marijuana you're growing? Are they properly broad or thin according to their family? Are they properly fanned out and extended? Are they curling, pinching, or twisting? Is any deformity coming from the tips, stems, or 'palms'?
Leaf texture: Are the leaves crumbling in your hands as you pinch them? Are they soggy and limp? Do they bounce back if you lightly push them in a different direction? Is the connection between the leaf and main branch solid, or do they fall off easily?
Of course nutrition isn't the only thing that can have an effect on everything in this list. However if your water PH, lighting schedule/distance, humidity, and air flow are all ideal…the problem is coming from inside the pot one way or the other.
Keep your eyes open, and your hands washed and ready–and if you're ready to give your cannabis the best in nutrition with easy scheduling, simple formulas, and 7-days-a-week assistance, head to our parent company to shop supplements!