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watering issue?

snack420

Well-Known Member
Hello 420 gurus!

I'm starting to worry a bit because my plant seems to be very sad and droopy for the last several days. I've read a ton about under-watering and over-watering but unfortunately I'm still unsure if one of those is the issue, so I'm hoping some kind folks with more experience might be able to lend a helpful hand. Can anyone tell from this picture what might be going on? I can provide additional details if that helps.

Here she is at this moment:

july8-droopy.png

View image in gallery

I *was* watering her using a blumat auto-watering thing with a plastic bottle, but one kind contributor with a few successful gardens suggested (thanks Teldren!) I shouldn't use this method and that was borne out by a ton of reading last night, so I removed the blumat and bottle completely. That said, the plant only drank about 1/4 of a liter over 4 days while I was away for the long weekend, so I have a hard time believing she's been over-watered. However, I'm also starting to realize it's not necessarily about the amount of water as much as the frequency. I did water it with about 1 liter last night using a watering can very slowly covering all the top soil and getting a bit of runoff that I suctioned out of the saucer under the pot. To rule out over-watering, I am planning to not water it for the next 2-3 days and see what happens. Is this a mistake? The coco is pretty dry right now. If it's over-watered, I don't want to make the problem worse by watering more, but if it's been under-watered, again, I don't want to make it worse by not watering. Tough times, though I'm probably overreacting. First grow and kind of nervous.

Also, I checked the bottom of the pot and I can see some roots coming out the bottom holes. I smelled for root rot but there is no smell at all, so I'm hopeful this isn't a rot problem. Here is a pic of the bottom of the pot:


Maybe I need to transplant into something larger???

Oh, and one final question. Do the plants normally seem more vibrant in the daytime hours and more droopy as they get toward the dark period? That could explain it to some degree since I'm generally not viewing the plant until it's close to the dark period, but I'm still convinced it is more droopy than I've seen with many other grows.

I really don't want to lose this plant, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!!
:peace:
 

Antics

420 Member
The plant could theoretically be grown to flower in that pot, but a larger pot will give the roots more room to stretch out, and could increase your yield.

As for the pictures, the top of your medium is dry, leaves are drooping, I would guess she wants water. But since you watered last night, and see no change in leaves, I'd stop watering now.
What is the PH of your medium?
What is the PH of your water?
Are you feeding any nutrients?
What is in your growing medium?

Leaves shouldn't get droopy towards the end of the day. This makes me wonder about a heat issue. What is the temperature in your tent with lights on? And with lights off?
 

snack420

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the feedback Antics.

I went to the hydro store yesterday and spoke with the owner and we tried to analyze the situation. We discussed transplanting it to a bigger pot, but he said the 4G pot should be big enough for her, especially since I'm intending to cut over to the flowering phase fairly soon.

He believes the droopiness is probably due to a fungus gnat issue and not over or under watering. This makes sense because I wasn't really doing anything excessive either way with watering, but the fungus gnats were noticed for the first time around two weeks ago shortly before this problem started happening. He convinced me to try a SNS 203 drench which I did last night. I took the pH of the runoff water and it was a little on the high side, around 7ish. Actually this brings up a question. What is the target runoff pH I want here? I know the pH of the feeding water should be in the 5.8-6.3 range for coco and I'm aiming around 6 with the pH kit I have (since it isn't super accurate within .5 steps).

Anyway, I mixed up a new batch of water and nutrients, using half strength of the recommended amount this time and go the pH down to between 5.5 and 6.0. I added that to the plant via the blumat auto-watering system because he said that since coco dries out very fast, it isn't recommended to let it dry 2-3 days between waterings. The growing medium is straight up coco coir - nothing else is mixed in. The heat with the air-cooled 600W light is between 75-80F. I have the air-cooled intake duct feeding from the AC vent in the wall to help keep that air extra cool which is definitely helping. For my next grow I plan on running two ducts from the AC vent - one for air-cooling the light, and the second for air-cooling the tent through a bottom intake duct.

This morning the plant looks a little perkier, though it's hard to tell for sure at a glance. I took a bunch of before and after pictures so I can compare on the computer in a side by side manner. I also put down new yellow sticky traps and so far there are no gnats caught, so I'm sincerely hoping that problem is solved or is in the process of being solved. I will check on her again this weekend and provide an update, but fingers crossed this regimen will get her back on track. My sense is that the plant has been suffering from a minor gnat infestation and also water at too high a pH level, so I'm hoping that taking care of those two things will get in her good shape soon.
 

Antics

420 Member
4 Gallons SHOULD be big enough to support about a 4'tall plant. Roughly 1 gallon for every 12" of plant height.

I have heard some growers say that it takes a while for fungus gnats to cause damage, but once they start eating roots, the damage can be severe.

I'm not sure what a target runoff should be. I measure my soil PH, and then PH my nutes accordingly to reach a target soil PH of 6.0-6.8. As for the coco coir specific questions, someone more knowledgeable will have to help you with those. I'm a soil grower myself, and still learning about the other methods.

75-80 is fine for your plants. Pictures help a lot, that'll give you a great way to compare past and present and see if you're on the right track.

As long as your sticky traps are clear, you've gotten rid of most of the flying ones. I'd keep those up for another couple weeks to keep an eye on things. Just PHing your water and nutrients will make a big difference in the speed of recovery.
 

snack420

Well-Known Member
How do you measure your soil pH? I think the problem with my plant wasn't over or under watering but rather fungus gnats. I spoke with the guru at the hydro store and he strongly suggested using a soil drench with SNS 203, which I did on the evening of 7/9, and now my plant seems much happier. See before and after pics. I also put down a couple of new yellow sticky traps and they caught a total of two gnats, but I think that was on 7/9, so no new ones that I have detected, which seems to be great news. I'm really hoping one application of the soil drench will be sufficient in keeping from them returning.

july9-fungus-gnat-suffering.png
july12-profile.png
 

Antics

420 Member
To measure soil PH, the best way is to use a digital meter, but if budget is an issue, you can get by with one of the cheaper 3-way meters that test PH, Lux, and Moisture. I use a cheaper meter myself, and it works ok for right now.

The guru you spoke to should have also told you that overwatering creates ideal conditions that attract fungus gnats.

As long as you keep a strict watering schedule, and only water when the soil needs it, not just because the top is dry, your plants will grow a lot better also. Everyone says they like to get a nice healthy watering until you get about 10% runoff out of the bottom of the pot, then no water for several days (pot size and growing medium will play a big part in how often you water also)

The fungus gnat life cycle is roughly 28 days.

From egg to larva takes 4-6 days
From larva to pupa takes 10-14 days
From pupa to adult takes 4-6 days.

So you should see new adults in 18-26 days or less if the SNS didn't work. Just keep your eyes open for ant gnats running around the grow medium, they're going to be pretty difficult to see, but a little movement from your hands around the pot and the plant usually scares them into flying around.
 
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