Every grower knows that giving plants nutrients is incredibly important for the cultivation process, but not every grower knows exactly what their plant needs. There are 17 macro and micro nutrients, mineral elements that all plants require. All are important but widely varying amounts of these elements are needed, hence the terms macro nutrients and micro nutrients. According to Dave Neal from Dyna-Gro, the most important nutrients for your plants are not always the ones that are most present in your typical fertilizer.
In the 1840s, German researcher Justus van Liebig determined what is now known as “Liebig’s law of the minimum”, which states that a plant can only use one element to the extent proportionally of the lowest level of every other essential element. “So, if one of the 17 macro or micro nutrients is limited or missing, most of the rest of the elements cannot be used by the plant,” says Dave. “This is why we have manufactured a concentrated solution that features most of these nutrients. The one missing nutrient in this solution, silicon, is in a separate solution, because it requires a high pH value to remain in a concentrated solution, while the others require a low pH.”
Dyna-Gro works with a lot with cannabis growers and have done tissue analyses on dozens of Cannabis indica plants. During the growing of these plants, luxurious amounts of all nutrients were provided which allowed Dyna-Gro to test the leaves to determine the amount of each essential mineral in the leaf tissue. “This gave us insight into what the plant actually needs,” says Dave.
The results showed that out of all macro-nutrients calcium is the most important. The order of importance from most to least of the macro-nutrients is: calcium, nitrogen, potassium, silicon, magnesium, phosphorous, and finally sulfur.”
Yet most growers seem to think that nitrogen, potassium, and even phosphorous – the second least important element for cannabis – are the most important, because these elements are presented big on every label. “Calcium is more important than phosphorous for every plant on this planet yet common fertilizers have large amounts of phosphorus and no calcium,” says Dave. “And this makes sense because plants on this planet have evolved to use minerals roughly in the ratio that they are available in the Earth’s crust. Nitrogen is some 78% of the atmosphere, so there is a lot of nitrogen, there’s a lot of calcium, there’s a lot of potassium. There are lesser amounts of phosphorous and sulfur, and – when looking at micro-nutrients – much lesser amounts of iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, etc. However, they are all still essential, and play essential roles in plant growth.
Benefits of silicon
It is possible to use the 16 nutrient solution that Dyna-Gro offers and get very good results, but soluble silicon offers so many additional benefits that it’s important to use it as well. As previously stated, plants have evolved to make use of the nutrients that are available to them. “Silicon is the second most common element in the earth’s crust,” says Dave. “But it’s almost all in an insoluble form: rock and sand. Soil solutions typically contain 8 to 10 ppm of soluble silicon but the serious benefits come when soluble silicon is provided at a concentration of 50 to 100 ppm. Higher silicon levels means more blooms, but it also makes plants more resistant to mold, fungus, insects, heat, drought, and cold.”
Dave mentions a study by the Glasshouse Institute in the United Kingdom, who studied greenhouse hydroponic cucumbers. “Cucurbits are very susceptible to powdery mildew, but the researchers found that if they kept the level of soluble silicon in the nutrients at 100 ppm that they could inoculate the leaves with the fungal spores and the fungus could not get established,” he says. “They also noticed increased botanical mechanical strength, as the plants could better hold their leaves up for better light interception. On top of that, they found increased concentrations of chlorophyll and Rubisco, the enzyme that the plant uses to break the CO2 bond and to extract carbon. So increased soluble silicon availability enhances plant metabolism, and allows it to make more efficient use of carbon and light.”
A good balance
Dyna-Gro offers a product line that allows the grower to feed their plants all the necessary nutrients, without deficiencies. “A customer of ours did a test,” Dave says. “For six weeks he grew two cannabis plants with Dyna-Gro and two with a different mineral solution, and the plants grown with Dyna-Gro were twice the size of the others. This is because our product is complete and in ideal proportions. You can have higher levels of nitrogen in your product, but if it does not have high enough levels of everything else than that means that nitrogen is wasted.”
For more information:
2775 Giant Road.
Richmond, CA 94806
Toll Free: 800-DYNA-GRO