Dropping green leaves fast

Hackerman

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One of my plants started dropping bottom leaves. Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about that during flowering but these leaves are still green. That's not right. And, I brush my hand upward along the plant and about 5 or 6 leaves fell right off.

The bottom of the plant has been looking a little "droopy" for some time but I let it go and have just been watching it. Just today I noticed that the "droopies" are going higher up the plant. And, although I have been loosing some lower leaves, it's been nothing like what I got today. I thought Fall had come to my grow room. LOL

This looks like a classic case of over watering to me.

They get 1 gallon a day (1/2 gallon each). Now and then I skip a day and now and then I give them 2 gallons.

The soil on top has become very compact. Not the soil itself because my mix is mostly sand and perlite. Rather, the roots are so dense at the top of the pot that it is desert dry.

I can stick my pinkie finger in the drain holes toward the bottom of the pots and they feel dry to the touch. Certainly not soaked.

Overall the plant looks healthy (it's the plant on the right in the last pictures)

What else can cause the "droopies" and leaf dropping like this?

Thanks

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orangesunshine

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some strains are more brittle than others---are the leaves falling off on their own or cause u be messin' with them---also might want to let them dry out a bit more between waterings just cause it sounds like they be getting too much water
 

Hackerman

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Definitely looks like a symptom of over watering. I didn't water them at all today and I just looked at her and she looks about the same. Maybe a little worse.

Over watering and under watering symptoms are so close it is hard to tell. I water them every day and that can be a bad thing. Even though it's only 1/2 gal per plant, it's still not a wet/dry thing that pot likes.

The soil feels dry but the water doesn't soak in nearly as fast as it did when the plant was smaller. Perhaps the roots have filled the 7 gallon container???? Doubtful. Something is making the soil drain much slower.

I should know for sure tomorrow. If I don't water tonight and it is over watering, the plant should look OK tomorrow. If it is under watering, the entire plant will be wilted by morning. Not a great thing but I don't know any other way.

I lifted the pots and they don't feel heavy like they are soaked.

The more I type, the more I am leaning toward under watered, now. LOL Geesh.

It's a couple hours until lights out. I'll watch her until then.

I may go down and read her a story. I think I'll read her the story about Noah and The Ark. When I read the part about raining for 40 days and 40 nights, I'll watch her reaction. Poor baby.

Nice and green. They both look, otherwise, healthy.
 

Hackerman

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This is also a symptom of a number of root problems. Any suggestions on what to look for in that category are appreciated.
 

Hushpuppy

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I was going to say that it sounds like the plant is way root bound, but then you said 7gallon container. It sounds like it is not getting water to the center of the root ball. It may be that the soil is too compact and dense and that is not allowing it to get water to the center and the roots are beginning to die in the center.

What kind of soil is it in? what kinds of amendments or add-ins? how long has it been in that soil? what do you feed with?
 

Hackerman

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I have used this mix for years. The reason I use it is because it drains so well.

It's mostly sand. A little peat, about half perlite/vermiculite. No nutritional value but it drains beautifully.

It really is acting root bound.

I bent out the plastic wastebasket and put my hand down about half way and all I felt was dry dry dry.

This may be a result of planting it in a large container too early. The roots appear to be mostly at the top. I can't even get my finger in the soil to feel the moisture without tearing a bunch of tiny roots. And, when I stick my fingers in the holes in the bottom, I don't feel roots. I'll take comments on that possibility. However, we won't know until after harvest and we inspect the root ball.

For right now, I am thinking she needs water. In 20 minutes it's lights out and I'll have to wait until tomorrow. I will look in on her first thing in the morning and have an emergency drink ready. LOL

For all these new headaches, this stuff better be trip weed. LOL



EDIT:

Let me add this...

My drain holes are about as big as my pinkie finger. When I stick my finger in a hole to feel the moisture, a little soil runs out like sand through an hour glass. So, the soil around the drain holes is certainly dry.

Even if the roots are all at the top, that shouldn't make the plant droop.

If I don't know the answer tomorrow, I will take a core sample. I don't see any alternative.
 

orangesunshine

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if the rootball is not filling the container it makes absolutely no sense to me that the container is dry with the amount of water you are giving these plants

are u at 0 RH arid hot climate---if not---than again dry soil with little roots in a 7 gal container is not computing
 

Hackerman

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My humidity in the room ranges from 45% when the lights are on to about 55% at night.

So, you're saying 1/2 gallon of water a day is not much for a plant like this? Or, that it's a lot for a plant like this?

I agree that something is not computing. LOL
 

Hackerman

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My average pH when watering is 6.2 -6.3 - 6.4. Almost never higher.

Could the drooping have anything to do with pH?
 

MR1

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Your problem might be you are not watering enough at one time, only the top half of the soil is getting wet but the bottom half stays dry so no roots at the bottom. For a seven gallon container you might need closer to 2 or more gallons to fully saturate your soil, then let it dry out and repeat.
 

DrFever

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Top feed 1 gallon bottom feed 1/2 gallon see if she sucks it right up really should be feeding / watering every 3 - 4 days 7 gallon then its 2 gallons every 3 - 4 th day pending on temps if this is critical kush then there heavy feeders also from looking at leaf stems give them more Phos
 

Hackerman

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I have 2 more hours before lights on but I looked at her with the IR Cam and she looks about the same.

I am thinking about taking a small rod (pencil diameter) and making holes down through the dirt. This will allow the water to penetrate.

When they were smaller, the water would, sometimes, run through and drain out the bottom. But, not often.

Now, I never get run through with one gallon. If I use 2 gallons it used to run through. I will use 2 today and see what we get.

My watering habits with these 2 plants have not been good. I don't usually water every day but with these I have been. These are every day except 2 this month. So you're both right about watering... water more....less often.

I thought about bottom watering to see what she sucks up. I may do that if I can find a pan that she'll fit into.

Also, to say these plants are heavy feeders is an understatement. I'll have a couple hundred in nutes alone for this crop. I am giving it a double dose of Fox Farms Open Sesame 5-45-19. I have a tiny tiny bit of tip burn a few places. She eats like a piggie.

I will say it again and again, for all the money and headaches this crop is causing me compared to my bag seed and Miracle Grow I better see Blue Meanies and Flying Gloves after 1 hit when I smoke it. ;)

What do you think of my idea of poking holes in the dirt. I know I'll tear some roots but I'll be slow and easy and stay away from the center where the main roots should be.

Good idea, bad idea?
 

Rosebud

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I have been known to take an over watered plant out of a pot

and let it dry out. You know this stuff I am sure, but going to tell ya anyway...

Water deeply till water runs out of the bottom of the pot. Don't water again until you put your finger, second knuckle deep and see if it is dry. repeat.

Yes, stick holes in the pots. Yes, it will mess a little with the roots but they will survive.. a pencil. 5 or 6 times.
 

Hackerman

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I couldn't find a pan big enough to soak her in (which was my first choice) so I took a long rod and stuck it in the soil almost to the bottom and then wiggled it in little circles. This made about 10 little cores for the water to travel down.

I could DEFINITELY feel the roots as I put the rod through the soil. The roots were solid as rock for about 6 or 8 inches and then I could feel the rod moving through the rest of the container like soft sand. I love this medium. I have used this same mix for decades. Never EVER had a drainage problem with it. It's mostly sand and perlite. LOL

So, I mixed up a gallon of nutes and she took it like a baby. Drank it nice and fast. I had run through within a minute or two. She was as dry as a bone.

This was absolutely the problem.

Now, why would the fact that all the roots are at the top make the plant wilt? Was it actually root bound in this huge pot. You would think the roots would take whatever space was available rather than whither and die.

And, what caused this? My light watering routine or the fact that they went into too large of a pot too early. They went straight from seedling in a 4" pot to this pot.

I did the same thing to the other plant. I could feel that it wasn't as bad as this one but it had very much the same problem.

It has only been a half hour and she already looks better.
 

Kindbud

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my 2 cents 2-3 gallons every 2-3 days dont water everyday just my opinion
 

Hackerman

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Yeah, I think everyone knows better than to water every day. I don't know what I was thinking. I never used more than a 2 gallon pot. And, usually only had 1 gallon of soil in those. LOL 7 gallon pots was a new experiment. I certainly learned a few things.... LMAO

I just re-poked the holes and gave them another gallon. They drank it nice and fast but much of it passed through. Now, I can wait a couple days and see what happens.

Thanks to all for the input.
 

Hushpuppy

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This is just my humble opinion and reasoning. You were not giving enough water to begin with. so over time the roots were sucking the medium dry down low, and then they would die from drying out too much. At the same time, the watering coming in from the top with no moisture at the bottom was encouraging the roots pattern to grow to the top. The roots of MJ will grow towards the nutrients and water. According to Clark, MJ has 2 sets of roots, the tap roots which are for taking in water will reach deeper into the soil, and the shallow growing nutrient roots, which because the nature of soil is to have all of the microbes and nutrients located at the top layer, will cause the "nutrient roots" to stay in the shallower area rather than follow the "water roots".

Because you weren't giving enough water to totally saturate the medium, all of the roots that survived were staying up in shallower soil. However, because so much root mass was searching for more water and nutrients in the shallows, you got root bound in the top layer. This exacerbated the problem of water penetrating the deeper medium and reaching the center of the root ball, which in turn has cause some off the roots to dry up and die which has limited the water and nutrients that the plants can take in.

Again, this is just my opinion but I wouldn't use the medium that you are using. The fact that it drains so well means that the medium is unable to hold any moisture except where the vermiculite is. This allows the medium to dry out too quickly, and it will not hold nutrients in the medium. Once the water dries, the nutrients are no longer available to the plants' roots. What works best is a medium that will drain well enough to prevent the roots from drowning but will still hold moisture and nutrients in suspension.

This is the reason that I use coco coir mixed with pearlite. The coco is fantastic at holding nutrients and moisture, while draining well. The added pearlite prevents the coco from becoming compact where it won't drain properly. I can go in to water my plants and see the medium is spongy and airy, but then watch the medium settle and stick together when I add my solution. My plants are in totes that hold about 3-4 gallons of coco/pearlite and I typically add 1 gallon of water/solution to each tote. This completely soaks the medium and I don't have to water again for about 48hrs sometimes sooner or later depending on the humidity outside.

I believe you should water the bigger pots with 1.5-2gallons of solution and pour it in slowly to allow it to soak into your medium rather than running out. You should be able to get all of 1 gallon in without it running out the bottom. Once it is back right, I would think that you should be able to get 1.5 gallons of solution into the medium before you see any come out the bottom.
 

Hackerman

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I also think HP hit the nail on the head. Good explanation, too.

She looks a little better. I have a gig tonight and won't be home until wee hours, long after she is asleep. We'll see how she's doing tomorrow.

Thanks again, all.
 

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