Plant Moisture Stress
Plant Moisture Stress
Moisture stress is a condition in which the water level inside a plant’s cells gets too high or too low, impairing proper function. Unfortunately, this condition can be difficult for novice growers to diagnose. Catching it early is the best way to prevent serious damage, so growers should familiarize themselves not just with the many symptoms of moisture stress, but also its myriad of causes.
Symptoms of Moisture Stress
Common symptoms of moisture stress include cupping, leaf discoloration, and dropped leaves. These symptoms can also be signs of other common problems such as nutrient deficiencies and pest infestations. If i49 growers treat their plants’ symptoms based on an incorrect assessment, it can make the problem worse, leading to decreased yields or even plant death, so don’t make the call to adjust water levels based on one symptom alone. Instead, take the plant’s general health into account and evaluate its growing environment to determine whether moisture stress is to blame.
Cupping and Browning of Leaves
When a plant isn’t getting enough water, its leaves will usually cup at the edges. If dehydration is accompanied by high heat, the leaves may also burn, causing them to develop brown or copper-colored spots and become brittle. A healthy plant’s leaves should be uniformly green and soft to the touch, and they should not be cupping upward at the edges.
A plant’s roots will also be affected by the combination of insufficient water and excess heat. They will shrink and become less efficient at absorbing water and nutrients. Unless they are growing in hydroponic systems, which don’t usually have problems with moisture stress, most growers aren’t able to observe the roots of their plants. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the leaves, especially on hot summer days.
Drooping and Unhealthy Appearance
Plants suffering from prolonged moisture stress will start to wilt. Both the leaves and the stems will droop, and the crop will become increasingly vulnerable to pests and diseases. The overall appearance of your og kush, for example, will change and it will be obvious even to novice growers that something is wrong. Don’t blame your og kush seeds, look instead at the moisture and humidity of your grow room.
Part of what makes identifying moisture problems such a difficult ordeal is that too much moisture also leads to wilting. The best way to tell if a plant is suffering from excess moisture in the soil is to check the texture of the leaves. Dehydrated plants have hard, brittle leaves, while overwatered plants have leaves that are limp and sagging, but still green.
Plants suffering from moisture stress have to devote more of their energy to recovering from trauma, which means they have less energy to devote to growing and producing buds. This is especially true of overwatered plants.
When soil becomes waterlogged, plants’ roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen. This affects everything from plant respiration to nutrient accumulation. Many growers mistakenly believe that adding fertilizer, plant food, or compost to the soil will alleviate problems with stunted growth, but when the plants become waterlogged, this won’t solve the problem. If growers don’t give the soil enough time to dry out, the plants may stop growing entirely and they might not produce a single bud.
Solving Problems with Moisture Stress
Now that growers know what to look for, it’s time to learn how to solve the problem. These solutions are simple and affordable, but they require a basic understanding of how plants absorb water and nutrients and how they grow.
Change Watering Habits
Remember that while plants need water to live, overwatering can be just as detrimental to their health as underwatering. Overwatering deprives cannabis seeds and plants of oxygen and causes root rot. Waterlogged soils are also more prone to other problems, including mold growth, algae development, and fungus gnats.
Outdoor growers can’t just rely on watering schedules. They have to learn how to evaluate the moisture content in their soils. This process looks a little different for container growers and those who grow in raised beds or straight in the ground.
The easiest way for container growers to get an idea of how much moisture the soil holds is to pick the pots up when the soil is dry, then give the plants plenty of water and pick them up again. The difference will be noticeable, as water weighs more than many people think. Instead of watering the plants when the soil at the top of the pot looks dry, pick it up to see how much it weighs. If it’s on the lighter side, give the plant plenty of water.
It’s best to let the soil dry out between watering and feeding. Water the plant until the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot begin to leak, then wait at least a few days, depending on the weather, to water again. Just like when first germinating your marijana seeds, you never want your plants to be too wet either.
There’s no way for growers who cultivate marijuana using in-ground garden beds to pick them up and check the weight, so they have to take a different approach. There are a few ways to measure soil moisture, but the easiest one is to stick a finger in the loose soil around their roots. If growers can stick a finger in up to their second knuckle without getting wet, it’s time to water.
If plants are suffering from moisture stress due to insufficient watering, the soil will tell a different story. It will appear cracked and dry on the surface, and the plants will start exhibiting the symptoms noted at the beginning of this article. Thankfully, even severely underwatered plants usually bounce back quickly after getting a drink.
Indoor growers need to worry about more than just watering schedules. They also need to control light intensity. This goes hand-in-hand with water stress, as plants that receive too little water in conjunction with too much light will be more prone to heat stress.
If a super lemon haze plant appears to be exhibiting signs of heat stress but is already getting plenty of water, the grower may need to move their lights further away from the tops of the plants. Again, it’s likely not the fault of your super lemon haze seeds. It is also always a good idea to have rotating fans installed in the grow room to ensure even heat distribution.
Outdoor growers in excessively sunny, tropical climates may also have to worry about light intensity. If their plants are getting scorched and their soil is drying out quickly, they can use shade cloth during the sunniest hours of the day to protect the plants from the worst of the scorching heat.
Maintain Optimal Temperatures
Excessive heat is the most common cause of water loss. Hot temperatures increase evapotranspiration through the leaves and dry out the soil, which can damage the plants’ roots. Indoor growers can deal with this problem by installing adequate ventilation or using an air cooler to suck heat from the air in their grow rooms.
Outdoor growers have less control over temperature, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing they can do to protect their crops from heat-induced moisture stress. Start by purchasing high-quality medical cannabis seeds and choosing strains of marijuana like tropicana cookies
that are resilient to high heat. Providing adequate water and shade during the hottest hours of the day will also help, as will using products like seaweed extracts to protect the plants’ roots and keep them cool.
Apply Correct Amounts of Fertilizer
Like water and light, nutrient application should be seen as a Goldilocks situation. If growers apply too much fertilizer, it will increase the electrical conductivity (EC) in the soil and alter its pH, making it difficult for the roots to absorb water and nutrients. If they apply too little, the plants will suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Growers have to get nutrient levels just right.
If the plants are showing signs of moisture stress even after a heavy watering, it may be time to test the EC of the soil. This can be done using a total dissolved solids (TDS) meter. If the EC level is too high, flush the excess nutrients from the soil and start over from the beginning. When using nitrogen-rich additives, start out slow and apply the fertilizer or plant food at half the prescribed dosage. Nitrogen toxicity can destroy a plant’s roots and cause its leaves to turn brown and brittle, mimicking the symptoms of moisture stress.
Plants that are suffering from nutrient deficiencies also exhibit some of the same symptoms associated with moisture stress. Don’t just assume the nutrient levels are too low and apply fertilizer indiscriminately. Learn the unique symptoms of each nutrient deficiency and how to distinguish them from more generalized problems with overwatering and underwatering.
The Bottom Line
It’s a mistake to assume that any problem with moisture stress can be resolved by just watering the crops more often. Overwatering is just as much of a problem as underwatering, and its effects can be even more devastating.
Identifying the cause of moisture stress is the first step toward coming up with the right solution, but even if they’re confident in their diagnoses, growers need to monitor their plants’ growth patterns and environmental conditions carefully throughout the season. Catching problems early is the best way to prevent them from decimating a crop of ak 47 feminised seeds, so remain diligent and give the plants all the attention they need to grow and thrive. The I 49 seed bank grow guide is here to help you through any problem you encounter – big or small.