nute burn or deficient?

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Feb 28, 2006
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Hello, Ive been lurking around here for a while. Ive just started my first indoor grow. Ive grown outdoors a few times before. My plants are 16 days old today and a couple of days ago they started to show signs of nute burn. The tips of the lowest leaves started to brown up. Also some of the upper leaves are curling down. Ive done a lot of reading and it seems that those symtoms can be symptoms of other problems like defieciencies. In the last couple of days it seems that some of my plants are not opening up. The leaves are pointed straight up. Also one of them is kind of twisted looking. After reading, this sounds like a copper deficiency. So now im kinda stuck on what I should do. Two days ago when I noticed the nute lock symptoms, it was time to water so I flushed them with pure water. Now, Im not sure if theyre lacking nutrients and I should fert or if theyre just in some kind of nute lock or what is going on. I dont really see how there could be a deficiency but maybe theres a lock?

Ok, here is my setup. Ive got a very small grow, right now 6 plants, grown from seed. Just bag seeds. They are grown in potting soil. I could not find one without food at home depot so I got the one with the lowest levels: 0.07-0.01-0.03. And yes, I stupidly fed them a weak fert solution when they were very young, just a couple of days. 70w HPS running 18/6.

By the way, here is the link to where I read most about what my symptoms might indicate.
If you go down to the coper section it sites curled leaves, deformed growth, browned tips, and plants not opening up. I have all of those symptoms, the only one I dont have for copper deficiency is the lighter color or yellow leaves, but that could be due to not having enough leaves yet to show it. Actually, now that I think about it, the baby leaves (not jagged) are yellow or light green on all of the plants. But don't these ones normally wilt and die off in a normal plant?

Honestly, I cant see how commercial potting soil could be copper deficient though.

Ive got some pics over at hipgallery:
The first thing you need to determine is the PH of the soil. PH imbalances can cause a nutrient lock-out which will inturn be a nutrient deficiency. It is not that the specific nutrient is not int the soil. The plant cannot absorb it. You can either got to wal-mart in the auquarium section and pick up some test strips or get a PH meter. (PH meter is the best investment, you'll use it a lot in growing).

In my sig. is a PH chart. if it is not in those ranges your plant will not get nutrients. After you get a reading. repost with it and then we can help. Otherwise we are shotting in the dark and can cause more problems then help.
Its not possible to use ph drops huh? I looked for a meter at walmart, target and pet stores but I couldnt seem to find one.
Wal-mart has the strips ones you dip in water and they change color. If you have an Ace or True Value they have meters (I think Home Depot and lowes carries the meters too).

No dude, never try to adjust PH without knowing what it is. Don't add more ferts or less ferts. Really don't do anything. You need to know the actual PH number. IMO

O'wise you can make the situation worse.
No, by drops I meant the drops ph testing system. You know the one with the test tube you put water in and then put 3 drops of the solution and then check the color against a chart. I was wondering if there was any way to use that with soil. Also how would you go about using a paper strip with soil, does it not have to be liquid?
Also, I just got back from home depot and the pet store, neither one had ph meter. Target had some soil that doesnt seem to have ferts in it. I picked it up in case I decide to try that.

Edit/Update: That new soil I bought looks much better. It is really dark and doesnt have the peatmossy kind of texture with the sticks in it.
cratos said:
Also how would you go about using a paper strip with soil, does it not have to be liquid?

take 3 samples of soil. put each sample in a little distilled water (which is a neutral 7 PH). Shake it up. then stick a strip in the water. check each one seperatley and will give you an average PH. The soil will alter the PH of the ditilled water. get soil a couple of inches down.
The soil seems to be about 6.4. My method for testing is this:
I have the pH test drop kit. I took about two tablespoons of soil and mixed it with about 5-6 tablespoons of water which was pH 7. Put it in the test tube, drop 3 drops of water into it and compare to the chart.
Wow, I transplanted a couple of them into the new soil and already they look much better. And it has only been five hours. =)
scratch that, they havnt opened up anymore. And now one of them is showing spots on the leaves. Guess i'll keep flushing them.
It seems that acidity is the problem, as I was flushing with plain water, I tested the water comming from the drain holes and it is at the lowest my drop test will go (6.0), which probably means that the pH is lower than that but my scale wont show it.
Should I just continue to flush with tap water (pH 7.6) or should I use something to bring it the soil pH back up?

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