It’s always tricky to ask a grower what makes their cannabis unique; it’s the same old story of the secret sauce: I’d let you have it, but don’t ask me what’s inside. Admittedly, it is a kind of fair attitude in an overly competitive context such as the cannabis industry. At the same time, cannabis growers have been increasingly looking at their ‘traditional’ horticulture colleagues, and have been quick to pick up methods and ideas and apply them to cannabis. “I have been growing cannabis for a very long time,” says Matt Scheerer with AgTonik. “I have always been interested in biostimulants. That is why after a few years of cannabis growing I decided to join AgTonik, which manufactures fulvic acid products."

Cannabis and biostimulants 
Biostimulants improve plant growth on top of a base fertilizer. “This biostimulant helps plants absorb elements into plant cells.” AgTonik owns a mine where they source the material to make their fulvic acid products. “There are millions of years of organic matter broken down slowly there that are just perfect to make a great biostimulant for cannabis.” The organic matter in the mine is very diversified making it a good source of amino and organic acids like gallic acid. “These elements greatly reduce stress in plants,” and this is particularly important when it comes to growing cannabis, especially during the vegetative phase.

Photo courtesy of AgTonik 

“When you grow cannabis, you control everything that goes into that plant,” Matt points out. “There are so many environmental inputs to pay attention to, that there’s limited margin for error there. If some parameters are not perfect, the plant might experience stress and not achieve growth potential. Of course, I am talking specifically about the negative stress, the one that you don’t want to have, say, during the germination or generative phase.” So, a way to prevent that from happening is the use of fulvic acid.

Fulvic acid and nutrient uptake 
“Fulvic acid helps plants to access nutrients more easily. In doing so, the plant grows healthier and stronger and remains safe from the negative stress.” Fulvic acid can be applied in different ways. “An application is drenching the root zone, for instance,” Matt continues. “The fulvic, amino and organic acids in our solution prevents stress from a root zone level, as well as helping with water, temperature, salinity and pest and disease related stress.”

Photo courtesy of AgTonik  

Because of the added benefit of such a biostimulant, it goes very well with any integrated pest management (IPM) or nutrient program. “Since it helps reducing stress, our solution complements perfectly any IPM program as a stress-free plant is stronger and more capable of fighting pathogens back. This is also thanks to the carbon content in our fulvic acid, as that is good for beneficial microbes.”

A better product is critical for a competitive market
Matt recounts a grower that was struggling to have their nutrient lineup dialed in. “This grower was having a truly hard time with their plants, using every booster and biostimulant bottle they could throw at their garden, thinking it would help it grow. Bluntly put, they were making things more difficult for themselves. So, we helped them, simplified their nutrient schedule to a base fertilizer, and added only our biostimulant. When everything was set up, it was like a light went on: plants were happy and any input like pH and ppm slightly out of range was buffered by AGT-50 Fulvic Mineral Complex. It was really satisfying when he came back to say thank you.”

Photo courtesy of AgTonik 

All the benefits of fulvic acid make it suitable for every type of grower, regardless of the cultivation methodology. “It’s an easy drop-in solution” he says. “We deal with soil growers, soilless, indoors, outdoors and hydroponics as well. Depending on the specific methodology, it might be that the application method of the fulvic acid changes between drench and foliar, but the results don’t –flowers have a better terpene and cannabinoid profile, a more fragrant smell, resistance to diseases and longer shelf life.”

A better product is critical in a market that is getting ever more competitive. “The commercial market is getting huge, yet there’s always going to be a place for craft growers. If a grower wants to stand out, it’s crucial to have a way better product than the competition.” Adding a fulvic acid biostimulant can enhance an already successful operation.

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