What is pH and when should it be checked?
In hydroponics ‘pH’ is an extremely important factor. The pH is a scientific term used to describe the amount of acidity or alkalinity in a nutrient solution. If not monitored and adjusted regularly plants can become either weak or die.
pH is expressed as a series of numbers which represent degrees of acidity or alkalinity. The range used is usually between 1 and 14. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. Values from 1 to 7 are degrees of acidity whereas 7 to 14 are degrees of alkalinity. The nutrient solution should always be kept slightly acidic and typically in a range between 5.8 to 6.5 which is suitable for most plants.
Nutrients will be more readily available for adsorption once the pH is set to the optimum range, therefore maximising their uptake. If the pH is too high or too low pH it can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. It’s essential that growers monitor and maintain a stable pH to make sure that the plant roots are healthy.
Testing the nutrient solution pH is made easy with a HY-GEN® pH Test Kit. The kit comes supplied with a test tube, colour chart and concentrated indicator solution. Testing only requires one drop of indicator.