Stunted Growth, Seeking Help

JayM

Member
Hi there,

I have a few successful grows under my belt over the past 2 years and am now finding it more difficult than ever before. It seems as though the more I have upgraded my setup and researched more information, the more problems I am having.

Some info about my setup:
Light: HLG 600 Rspec 600W at about 40" from my plant tops and 50% power right now.
Ventilation: T6 6" exhaust fan, T4 4" intake fan
Soil: 20% homemade compost, 10-15% homemade worm castings, remainder promix HP
Amendments: added dolomite lime powder, added glacial rockdust, added Gaia green 444 and 284 at 2tbsp per gallon
Strain: Deep Purple Reg Seeds from JOTI

I also have a humidifier going in the tent, a tower Fan, and a small clip on fan above my light.

These plants are about 6 weeks old and are barely growing and look terrible. I was away for a couple of days and it seemed like my exhaust fan didn't run so that explains the signs of heat stress.. to me that is just a side issue, I think I have bigger problems.

Can anyone help me figure out what is going on? My plants have decently thick stocks but the growth has been so bushy and the plants have stayed very squat.

Based on the photos attached, can anyone give me any advice here? Feel free to ask any questions you want. Its making me sad to see such terrible looking plants 6 weeks from germination..

I am hoping they are just super hungry due to more powerful lighting.

Thanks in advance.

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EZCalyx

Well-Known Member
It's difficult to tell. My best guess is an issue with root health or nutrient uptake.
Are you allowing the soil to completely dry between watering or do you keep it wet?
Are you feeding at each watering or do you use fresh water between feedings?
Do you water until a decent amount drains out the bottom of the pots?
What are the temps like around the tops of the plants?
 

Tokin Roll

Grow Journal of the Month: June 2021 - Member of the Month: July 2021

JayM

Member
Thanks for the response EZCalyx.

To answer your questions:
- I am letting them dry out until my pots feel very light and my plants leaves start to droop.

-I am feeding by topdressing once every 4ish weeks with gaia green dry amendments

-I am watering until a tiny amount comes out the bottom, I try to not let any runoff come out

-temps are about 25 degrees celsius maxing out at 28 degrees celsius and probably drop to about 20 degrees C overnight

Thank you
 

JayM

Member
How's it going @JayM

I agree with @EZCalyx on the watering issue, and after you get her back to good health, you may want to thin out some of those branches.

Stay safe, and grow well my friend,
Tok..
Thanks Tokin.

Would it be worth it for me to cut out smaller branches on the insides of the plant? I don't want to stress these even more.

These plants also have yet to show their sex, maybe I can kill 2 birds with one stone and remove branches then flower the cuttings to try to gauge their sex.

Thanks for the help.
 

Pbass

Well-Known Member
Those plants look overwatered to me!

EDIT: I read more, I'd guess you aren't giving them enough water then watering them too soon again. How often do you have to water? Soak the crap out of them, let them wet/dry longer.

EDIT 2: You can hack them like chainsaw massacre and they should be like "hmm what was that"?

EDIT 3: Whats the ph of your water? I often forget how important PH is. I have to put a tablespoon of vinegar in every gallon of water I serve up to go from about 7.5ish to 6.5ish.

Synopsis: I would guess you prolly have a combo meal of things going on. Check your PH, bring it down if need, only water with PH'd water for a few week, soak the crap out of them after the next dry cycle then let them wet/dry for longer periods.
 

JayM

Member
Those plants look overwatered to me!

EDIT: I read more, I'd guess you aren't giving them enough water then watering them too soon again. How often do you have to water? Soak the crap out of them, let them wet/dry longer.

EDIT 2: You can hack them like chainsaw massacre and they should be like "hmm what was that"?

EDIT 3: Whats the ph of your water? I often forget how important PH is. I have to put a tablespoon of vinegar in every gallon of water I serve up to go from about 7.5ish to 6.5ish.

Synopsis: I would guess you prolly have a combo meal of things going on. Check your PH, bring it down if need, only water with PH'd water for a few week, soak the crap out of them after the next dry cycle then let them wet/dry for longer periods.
Thanks PBass, I remember you have helped me out in the past!

I water roughly every 3 days. These pots are just under 1 gallon and I have been watering about 1 to 1.5 litres per plant, barely any runoff. Do you suggest having some runoff??

I have been PHing my water with citric acid down to 6.5, but last night in trying to figure out my issue out my PH pen into Fresca which should have a PH of about 3 and my pen showed a reading of 4.5 so I figure my pen is not calibrated. This would imply if my pen is showing 6.5, I might be closer to 5.0!! I'm going to switch back to a PH dropper solution as I find that much easier and have had success in the past.

So you would agree I should thin out the centre of my plants? Would now be too soon to do so?

Thank you.
 

EZCalyx

Well-Known Member
Yes! There must be runoff. I think this may be your issue. General rule is about 20% run off each time you water. Think of the run off like its is going to the bathroom and cleaning itself out. Without allowing any runoff you are essentially keeping all that poo and pee around your roots. I suggest watering with fresh water until you have about 100% runoff. Do this again after a good drought. Then resume feeding very lightly.

Good on you for allowing them to dry out until the next watering.
 

JayM

Member
Yes! There must be runoff. I think this may be your issue. General rule is about 20% run off each time you water. Think of the run off like its is going to the bathroom and cleaning itself out. Without allowing any runoff you are essentially keeping all that poo and pee around your roots. I suggest watering with fresh water until you have about 100% runoff. Do this again after a good drought. Then resume feeding very lightly.

Good on you for allowing them to dry out until the next watering.
Thanks, I will try what you suggested. I appreciate the help.
 

Azimuth

Member of the Month: Dec 2022
Not too bad. Maybe up-pot one and see if that helps. And then really soak another one over a half hour or so. Water it slowly until water runs out the bottom holes, let it sit for say ten minutes and do it again, and then maybe another round or two. Eventually you'll get to the point where whatever water you add will come out immediately.

See if there's a difference in the amount you usually give them. Might not be much, though. My mix can hold about 25% of the pot size in water which seems to be about what you are giving them.

I agree with the others in that you want a bit extra each time to help flush things thru, but it might be they are just cranky for an up-pot.

And your homemade wormcastings are like gold. Your compost too if you let it finish enough. When I up-pot, I add a nice thick layer of castings, like an inch thick, as a top dress and then cover that with a mulch layer. The new roots exploding from that layer is dramatic. I say that because your pic shows no roots in that upper zone and I'm running some bottom watering/feeding experiments that are suggesting the upper roots are important feeder roots.

Your feeding schedule could be the issue as well. Do the direction on your nutes really say to top dress them only once per month? That seems light to me but I've not used your nutes before. These are very hungry plants and could just be you are under feeding. But go according to the directions from the company.
 

JayM

Member
Not too bad. Maybe up-pot one and see if that helps. And then really soak another one over a half hour or so. Water it slowly until water runs out the bottom holes, let it sit for say ten minutes and do it again, and then maybe another round or two. Eventually you'll get to the point where whatever water you add will come out immediately.

See if there's a difference in the amount you usually give them. Might not be much, though. My mix can hold about 25% of the pot size in water which seems to be about what you are giving them.

I agree with the others in that you want a bit extra each time to help flush things thru, but it might be they are just cranky for an up-pot.

And your homemade wormcastings are like gold. Your compost too if you let it finish enough. When I up-pot, I add a nice thick layer of castings, like an inch thick, as a top dress and then cover that with a mulch layer. The new roots exploding from that layer is dramatic. I say that because your pic shows no roots in that upper zone and I'm running some bottom watering experiments that are suggesting the upper roots are important feeder roots.

Your feeding schedule could be the issue as well. Do the direction on your nutes really say to top dress them only once per month? That seems light to me but I've not used your nutes before. These are very hungry plants and could just be you are under feeding. But go according to the directions from the company.
Thank you. I will try that watering technique.

I could be going a bit light on the nutes, from what I recall they say Fred every 3 weeks, I was going light as I felt my compost would feed them as well.

Can you give me a quick rundown on how to tell if compost is really finished? I have been struggling with that with both this garden and my vegetable garden too. I use a screen to fill wheelbarrows of compost and filter out anything too large. At that point I can't recognize any of the original pieces of organic material, it feels spongy and it smells like earth. Then I leave it in my shed for a few months before using it.

What do you use as mulch? I'm thinking I will take your advice and up pot one of them soon. My issue is no plant has shown sex yet and I am trying not to waste 5 gallons of soil on a male.
 

JayM

Member
600 watts of led at 40" and half power? At 6 weeks I'm full power and 24in. Maybe just not the right light level?
Thanks Odjob.

I originally had these plants in a closet under 2 110w LEDs that were much closer to the plants as I was flowering some plants in my tent shown in these photos. They grew so bushy it was crazy, it seemed like all new growth was occuring lower on the plant.

When I moved the plants into the tent, I tried to get them to stretch with a slightly weaker light at 40" as I have about 4ft of space above the plants and didn't want them to stay less than a foot tall.
 

Azimuth

Member of the Month: Dec 2022
You probably have a mix of issues as others have stated. Weak light too far away, not watering to runoff enough, time for up-potting, etc, but I think your biggest issue is lack of food. Do they look better after a topdress of your nutes?

Your compost is likely fine. It's done after it cools off from the thermophilic action that breaks stuff down. If you can't recognize any of the inputs then it's likely it's good to use. But, you're 6 weeks in and, depending on your inputs, the original compost in your mix may be running out of gas.

I had a similar situation with a new mix I'm using. Plants looked unbelievable for about 6-8 weeks and then the color started to fade. I started giving them fish fertilizer and they're getting better color again after a couple of weeks.

Your compost would likely make a great mulch over a layer of castings. I use aged leaf mold screened down to 1/2 inch, but many things will work. If you just leave the castings exposed to the air they'll dry to a nice concrete-type finish and nobody wants that. ;)

Coot can get away with just compost and castings and then only water because he has superior outputs of both. What inputs do you use for each of yours?
 

NAGreengo

Well-Known Member
Looks as if they're beginning to be root bound, which can induce lockout. I'd repot them, PH your water between 6-6.5, add Myco directly to the top soil and water it in. Then I'd check the runoff PH to make sure it's in range. Finally, I would then adjust the Ppfd to around 250-350, or accordingly and watch for the leaves to pray.
 

Odjob

Well-Known Member
Your pots look thin walled. You can see light getting through. I use a mix like yours and also top dress with Gia but not as much.
 
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