Can you ever over-nourish your weed? You wouldn't stop feeding a fish, or watering a rose bush, after all. So figuring out when to stop giving cannabis nutrients might sound like an exercise in plant neglect! Is there ever actually an ideal time to stop? Why is halting nutrients any different than denying access to a grow light? We'll explore why growers decide to stop their nutrient regimen, and the effects it can have for beginner growers, old heads considering something new, and everyone in between.
There aren't many reasons why stopping a nutrient schedule is right for your cannabis. After all, there's no other way for them to obtain the minerals and salts (not salt, salts) that they need. Deficiencies are no joke, and a stressed out, underfed plant will put out puny yields at best, and starve to death at worst! But of the few reasons there are to stop feeding your weed, some of them are monumentally important!
Turns out when it comes to concentrated chemical compounds, you can have too much of a good thing! Unlike us, plants don't have the option to recognize an unhealthy eating pattern and move away from it. So it's important to correctly size your plant, triple-check the feeding schedule, and to dilute dry nutrients properly in order to avoid overfeeding your grow. Without these steps, your cannabis will have too high a concentration of normally helpful elements in its growing medium, and be subject to nutrient burn and nutrient lockout!
Nutrient burn in cannabis plants occurs when your plant has absorbed too many compounds to safely break down and use. You can find the human equivalent in an iron overdose–when there's just too much of it for the body to process, it becomes toxic!
As your plant tries and fails to break down the excess elements, root and leaf tissue will begin to degrade, and wither–leading to the "burn". This breakdown effects overall plant health, impedes ability to feed on light and water, and can affect yields severely as a result. If left totally unchecked, nutrient burn is fatal to cannabis–so being careful not to over love your crops and knowing when to stop giving cannabis nutrients is tantamount!
Nutrient burn starts at the roots, but it will be visible in the leaves as it spreads. Your cannabis, depending on the natural color of the strain, may turn a much darker, more vibrant green at first–leading beginner growers to assume they're doing something very right if they aren't careful! But soon after, starting from the bottom of the plant, leaves will begin to develop twisting, curling, and yellowing at the tips of the leaves that will begin spreading inwards. The yellowing can't be corrected, and those leaves will be lost! It takes energy to grow leaves back (energy that could be saved for growing buds), so minimizing the greenery lost through prevention of overfeeding is key!