Nitrogen deficiency in marijuana plants
Most of the food that a marijuana plant eat is made up of a balance of 3 elements, commonly known as NPK. The NPK acronym stands for the 3 most necessary elements for cannabis: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, also known as macronutrients. Today we focus on the first of these, the Nitrogen and how to fix its deficiency and toxicity.
What is nitrogen deficiency?
When there is a nitrogen deficiency (or an excess of it), the marijuana plant weakens, the leaves die and, obviously, the amount of yield drops, or even disappears.
In fact, the lack or excess of each of these NPK ingredients has a notable influence on the development of the plants. Among these imbalances, nitrogen deficiency is one of the most common, but not the only one.
In addition to deficiencies and excesses of these macro-elements, other substances, also known as secondary macro-elements or micronutrients, such as calcium, sulphur, iron or cobalt, must also be taken into account.
Finally, it is important to point out that sometimes deficiencies of these elements are not due to a poorly fertilized soil or medium, but to a saturation of water, salts in the soil or an incorrect pH that blocks the absorption of nutrients.
What are the consequences of nitrogen deficiency?
Nitrogen is a key element for Cannabis to grow strong. This element is responsible for the development of stems and leaves and is present in chlorophyll (which gives plants their green colour) and proteins. A lack or excess of nitrogen directly influences their growth and weakens them.
How can nitrogen deficiency be recognised?
The easiest way to recognize nitrogen deficiency is by a change in the colour of the leaves. As with phosphorus or potassium deficiencies, these changes are first noticed on the oldest leaves, which are the large leaves at the bottom of the plant. In cases of nitrogen deficiency, the leaves turn yellow and, if not corrected, eventually die. You can see an example of a nitrogen deficiency in the picture below.
If the marijuana is in the flowering stage, it is not so worrying to have a nitrogen deficiency. At this stage of development it is normal for this to happen, as the plant is diverting all its energy to the buds, which are in full development, and for this it uses all possible nutrients, even those present in the leaves.
But if the plant is just starting to grow, measures must be taken. Leaf fall will start to accelerate and the plant will have less and less leaves, which will make it difficult to receive all the sun’s energy it needs and to photosynthesise.
How can Nitrogen deficiency be corrected?
Correcting a nitrogen deficiency is very simple, especially if the deficiency has not progressed very far. As always, early detection is essential, the longer it takes to detect and correct a problem, the longer it will take for the expected recovery to occur. Specifically, to correct the nitrogen deficiency, a nitrogen rich fertilizer should be applied, such as the one shown below.
How to detect a nitrogen toxicity?
On the other hand, if it is a case of excess nitrogen, the signs are a little more confusing. At first glance, you will see a lush, green dark plant. But what it hides is a disproportionate development between the vegetation and the roots, therefore the latter will not be able to support the structure of the plant. As a result, the plants will spike, break and become easy prey for pests. Not to mention that their productivity will drop considerably.
How to fix nitrogen toxiticy?
If the problem is an excess of nitrogen, the solution can be a bit tricky. You will have no choice but to water the soil a lot until it is washed and the excess is removed.
It is advisable to use a cleaning product, as cleaning a substrate with water alone takes a lot of time and also has many risks, such as causing shock or fungus. It is best to use an enzyme-based cleaner, which will clean out excess nitrogen and other elements much more quickly and effectively, without risk. Such as Hesi’s PowerZyme, which is very effective and affordable.
And this has been all about Nitrogen deficiency in marijuana plants, we have other monographs on other common deficiencies, which we recommend you to visit them from the links below: