What is a Fertigation System?
Fertigation systems inject plants with the proper nutrients using an irrigation system that combines fertilizer and irrigation. A mixture of treated water is distributed to the plants throughout their growth cycle to help ensure proper nutrients absorption. Simple fertigation is done with a pump, distribution pipes, capillaries, and a dripper pen. Advanced fertigation systems are often automated to help support the operation of a grow room.
Crucial to hydroponic growing is proper pH balance of the water. Fertigation systems can have pH sensors that alert the system to pump base or acid into the water to achieve successful pH levels. The pH doser can be set within your parameters so that it never rises or falls to a certain level. This ensures optimal nutrient absorption for your crop, but more on that later.
These pH dosers can range in size with mini versions that operate with very basic instructions, to larger systems that can handle multiple recipes and commands. While mini dosers can still work with tanks from 50-1000 gallons, adjusting pH levels per the set points, it cannot be scheduled out like with larger systems. For a complex grow, where both nutrient deposits as well as pH balance are required, a larger system would be better suited.
Benefits of a Fertigation System
Fertigation systems allow for more automation and accuracy within your grow, allowing for more time spent elsewhere overseeing your operation. These systems also provide flexibility for the user to mix recipes and set specific grow parameters. With more advanced fertigation systems you can have multiple setpoint targets that mix and deliver nutrient batches up to 14 zones through 1 central mixing tank. Schedule your nutrient delivery, correct for pH and receive email alerts about completed tasks, alerts, or malfunctions.
Fertigation provides reliable dosing for your crop. A fertigation system can offer remote control access and an alert system, which can help to cut back on down time. You can trust the system to dose your plants correctly, so you can focus on other aspects of your business. These systems are an added value to your agriculture operation, whether greenhouse or indoor, and can help you save time and money in the long run.
Cannabis and Fertigation
Cannabis growers know that pH control is critical for their plants to make sure optimal nutrients are absorbed. With fertigation equipment you can program an auto pH dosing system, with high-quality sensors and electronics, plus a pump that can inject acid or base accurately into the tank. You can rest easy knowing that these systems will detect issues with sensors, and stop the system in order to avoid error.
These sophisticated auto nutrient doser systems can accurately feed your plants throughout multiple stages of growth, adjusting recipes as time goes on. Fertigation systems can also prevent pH lockout, where the plant is unable to absorb nutrients when out of a certain range. The optimal absorption rates for cannabis can be achieved by monitoring the pH levels and adjusting it to absorb optimal nutrients.
Elements are absorbable only within a certain pH range, and they can greatly change the outcome of your crop. Some elements like iron require a more acidic pH, while magnesium will ideally absorb in plants with a more alkaline base. Below is a chart of the nutrient availability based on the pH for key elements in cannabis plant nutrition.
Figure 1 courtesy of Michigan State University
Cannabis cultivation is greatly benefited when best-practices can be regulated and repeated. Once you have established your grow controls, let a fertigation system help you automate your system to achieve the best possible results every time. You’ll save time and money with an auto pH dosing system, and an auto nutrient doser hooked up to smart sensors that constantly monitor and eliminate downtime.