“I’m constantly adding micro-nutrients to my crop in the greenhouse, but I am still seeing a deficiency!”. This is something I often hear from our growers. My answer is always, “What’s the pH of your water?”
We all know that plants need light, carbon dioxide, water and mineral nutrients in order to grow. The mobility of these nutrients is determined by the pH of the soil that your plant is growing in. The micronutrients that are only required in small amounts are especially affected. If the pH of your water is too high, the micronutrients are less mobile (Shown in Figure 1.) so the plant cannot absorb them resulting in deficiencies. The opposite would happen if your pH is too low, your plant would exhibit nutrient toxicities.
Figure 1. The Ideal pH range is highlighted on this chart based on the availability of nutrients to plants.
The goal of any grower, regardless of what they are growing, is to maintain a stable pH level in their crop. Where you are getting your water from directly affects the pH of your water and varies incredibly due to time of year, geographic location and water source (river, well, pond, etc.). We have come across many stories of, “We have never had problems with our water in the past, why now?” Many growers are seeing more of an issue in recent years due to fluctuations in the ground water table. Hard water especially, often has a high pH due to the level of carbonates it contains. Watering in a greenhouse often occurs daily under warm spring and summer conditions, this continuous application of high pH water increases the pH of the soil which in turn decreases the uptake of nutrients.
Foliar fertilizers are a great way to give your plants the nutrients that they need at any given time during the season. The nutrients are applied and taken-up directly by their foliage providing a specific and rapid response. This can help with some of the problems caused by the lack of nutrient uptake from the roots, but unfortunately won’t cure it.
The only solution is to correct your pH with the use of a water softener.
Sophtner95 is a soil and water pH conditioner. It is formulated using naturally occurring acids and represents an environmentally sound management tool for lowering high pH water conditions. By adding Sophtner95, hardness of your water can be lowered, which reduces the possibility of soil pH rise. This product is safer for use in-crop and to the users more than other traditionally used pH reducers such as sulfuric acid and ammonium sulfate. Injecting it into your water line before adding your fertilizer is a great way to ensure that your pH is adjusted before hitting the plants. The use of a pH and EC reader will help you keep track of what your pH is at throughout the growing season.
Sophtner95 does more than just lower the pH of the water. It also acts as a weak chelator improving the efficiency of nutrient uptake through the leaves. Many herbicides and fungicides require an acidic solution for better efficacy in the crop. Sophtner95 lowers the pH of a spray solution to meet these requirements.
Sophtner95 can be used for any type of plant. From vegetables, fruits, turf, trees, ornamentals and greenhouse soil mixes, its sure to help alleviate some of your stresses.
Contact Growforge for more information!
By: Stephanie Moskal