The Best Ways To Aerate Your Medical Marijuana Soil
Posted by Lee G. Leissett | March 18 2012 | 10311 views | Comments ↓
Oxygen in your rootzone is essential for healthy plants.
(Click to enlarge)
Oxygen in the medium is imperative for the roots of a medical marijuana plant and necessary for optimizing performance in a soil garden. Without oxygen, root masses fail to develop properly and generally develop pathogenic diseases like pythium.
Many premixed potting soils take oxygen into consideration and are amended with substances designed to maximize it. Some growers like to add additional amendments to their potting soils to help increase oxygen replenishment to the root mass and to allow for more frequent feedings, which ultimately gives the grower more control. Some soil gardeners make a soil from scratch; obtaining and combining individual ingredients to make the perfect mix. Either the soil gardener using a pre-made potting mix or the do-it-from-scratch grower will benefit from adding one or more of the following soil amendments designed to better the soil’s aeration.
Perlite is made from expanded volcanic glass and is probably the most popular additive for soil aeration. Perlite is extremely light in weight, which makes it easy to transport and mix. Perlite practically repels water and holds oxygen.
This substance goes a long way in aerating soil. Many professional growers will create a mixture of 75% typical potting soil and 25% perlite. This mix is great for the medical marijuana grower that wants a fast draining soil that will require multiple feedings per week. Disadvantages of perlite are the dust when mixing (a dust mask or respirator should always be worn when mixing perlite) and perlite tends to float to the surface after multiple waterings.
Pumice is a volcanic rock which is extremely porous. Pumice is much heavier than perlite and due to this downfall is hardly used in pre-made soil mixes. Although it is a little harder to work with, I tend to favor pumice over perlite.
There is a small amount of nutritional benefit with pumice and, because pumice doesn’t float, it stays buried in the soil mix even after extensive waterings. A disadvantage of pumice is its weight in terms of determining when to water your plants; growers unfamiliar with pumice may misidentify its weight for moisture in the container.
Vermiculite is a natural mineral that, for horticultural purposes, is pre-expanded via heat. Vermiculite is a great additive for aeration, but also water retention. Vermiculite is the most popular additive in the creation of homemade soilless mixes and cloning mediums. As with perlite, it is extremely important to use a dust mask or respirator when mixing vermiculite. Small particles in a grower’s lungs could cause serious health issues down the road.
Coco-Coir is the inside husk of coconuts and a by-product of the coconut industry. It has an amazing ability to hold moisture but hold a lot of oxygen as well. Recently, Coco-Coir has become an increasing popular option for aeration in a soil mixture. A soil amended with Coco-Coir will feel spongy and loose, the perfect conditions for the vigorous root growth of medical marijuana plants. The main disadvantage of Coco-Coir is quality control. All sources of Coco-Coir are different; some require heavy rinsing to remove excess salts, while others are ready to go right out of the bag. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for with Coco-Coir; cheaper usually means more salts and more rinsing required.
Additional oxygen for the roots of your medical marijuana means faster growth and bigger yields. An amendment designed for aeration could also give the grower the extra control they desire. Whatever your reason, just remember: sufficient oxygen down below makes the plant grow up above.
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Sunday, 18 March 2012
Article by Lee G. Leissett, on Mar. 18th 2012