• Deepak Yadav

Problems and Solutions of Hydroponics

When growers start growing crops in hydroponics initially, they encounter several problems. In most of the cases, the problem occurs because of the inappropriate practices and unsuitable management of the growing system.

The hydroponic method is much more technical than the traditional soil method, and that is why the grower should have precise knowledge about the system as well as about the everyday problems that can occur while growing crops.

Today, we will discuss the common pitfalls encountered in hydroponics and how you can tackle these problems successfully.

Seedling Problems

Seedlings are vulnerable to problems during their initial growth phase, and that is why growing a healthy seedling is one of the most challenging steps in hydroponics.

Problem: Wilting

It can be due to several factors such as less irrigation or high temperature, where the plant loses its rigidity, and leaves start drying.

Solution: You should let your roots dry between each irrigation cycle. A backup pump should always be handy if the operating one gets fail because the plants can wilt quickly without water supply.

Problem: Dead Roots

There are many reasons for dead roots like high temperature of water, very high or very low EC, overwatering in dense substrates, and others. Dead roots can also be a sign of root rot pathogen infecting the system.

Solution: First, you should remove the plants having dead roots and then regulate the water temperature accordingly to increase aeration. Regular cleaning and sanitization of the system can eliminate the pathogen.

System Clogging Problem

System clogging is considered the most frequently occurring problem in a hydroponic system, especially in a drip type of system. In the majority of cases, clogging is due to the pieces of the growing medium when they get stuck in the tubes.

Clogging affects the circulation of the whole system and can damage your crops drastically.

Things You Can Do: Regularly flush the tubes with warm water to prevent clot formation. You can also change your growing medium from loose to a heavy medium such as expanded clay.

Infestation Problem

No matter how perfectly growers manage their hydroponic farms, but they can't prevent infestation. There are a few steps that you can take during the initial phase of infestation.

Algae Infestation: Algae can cause clogging in the hydroponic system, altering the overall circulation of nutrient solution. At the same time, algae can take up nutrients from the solution, affecting the plant's growth and development.

Solution: Minimizing the sunlight exposure to the nutrient solution and painting the reservoir black can control the growth of the algae in the solution. Do not overwater the seedlings because this promotes the growth of algae on their surface.

Pest Infestation: The chances of pest infesting your hydroponic farm is significantly low, compared to open-field farming. But growers should always be concerned about protecting their plants from pests.

Pests such as thrips, aphids, fungus gnats, spider mites can be an obstacle between your goal of getting a healthy harvest.

Things You Can Do: Proper sanitization of items is necessary before bringing them inside the farm, even you should change your clothes before getting inside. Despite all the efforts, if the pests get invaded on the farm, you can use biological pest-management techniques to control them.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Usually, the grower identifies a particular nutrient deficiency by analyzing the symptoms, but sometimes it can be misleading. Before confirming a problem, you should check the water temperature, nutrient solution pH, and EC of the solution. If all the readings are at their optimum level, then you should check the nutrient composition of the solution.

Problem: Tip Burn

It is a condition in which the tip or the margins of the leaves get collapsed or turn brown. Calcium deficiency is considered the chief cause of tip burn. For the formation of a plant cell wall, calcium is an essential element.

Solution: You can increase the flow of air on the crop, this will increase the transpiration rate, and ultimately it improves the calcium absorption by the plant roots.

Growing a crop in soil-less conditions eliminates several difficulties that are encountered by someone who is growing crops in soil. In the end, the quality harvest depends on how effectively a grower deals with the problem faced by them. No matter how big a problem looks, there is always a solution.

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