The pH is a measure used in chemistry to determine the degree of acidity or alkalinity of an element or substance. The pH measurement determines the amount of hydrogen ions (acidic substances) or hydroxide ions (alkaline substances) that this element or substance contributes to the medium in which it is found.
The pH measurement is carried out by means of a table whose values are established between 0 and 14, considering 7 the pH value neutral in liquid media. Thus, a substance is considered acidic if its pH is less than 7 and alkaline if its pH is higher than 7. Zero and fourteen are considered extreme values: maximum acidity or alkalinity, respectively.
How does the pH value affect plants?
For nutrients to be available to plants they must be dissolved in the nutrient solution. All plant species have an optimum pH range for the correct assimilation of nutrients, and incorrect values can affect plants.
We can find problems in the nutrient-absorption process basically motivated by two main causes:
• Nutrient precipitation: At extreme pH levels, a precipitation of nutrients can occur so they are no longer available (not dissolved) for the plant and cannot be absorbed.
• Deterioration of the root system: Outside of the optimum pH range, the absorption of nutrients is hampered for the roots, which can lead to deterioration if the pH values are extreme.
It is considered that nutrients are available for plants in the pH range 5-6.5. Below 5 the root system can be damaged and above 6.5 the precipitation of nutrients can lead to plant nutrition problems.
When working in medium with controlled EC, such as coconut fibre, it is important to keep the pH level under control (it is recommended to fix it between 5.8 and 6.2), since the nutrients are fed to the plants in an external manner, that is, through the nutrient solution. If the nutrients precipitate not only they are not available for the plants, but there will be an accumulation of insoluble salts in the culture medium that can hinder or even block the absorption of essential nutrients for the development of the plant.
In a very acidic media, bacterial life is very low and the substrate has a very poor quality. In addition some nutrients can be absorbed in excess (iron, aluminum) or not absorbed enough (as magnesium) causing deficiencies.
In a very alkaline media nutrients do not dissolve easily, so elements such as calcium, iron, zinc and boron may no longer be absorbed by the plant.
Using UGroCoco allows you greater control over your plants pH Levels, as we use robust coco coir. This means it has a quick response to your solution’s pH level.