Deep Water Culture Troubleshooting: Nutrient Burn

Deep Water Culture Troubleshooting: Nutrient Burn

January 6, 2019 0 By admin

Deep Water Culture Issues

Deep water culture is a form of hydroponic growing where plant roots are immersed in a nutrient solution with an air pump. For more information on how to get started check out my post on Deep Water Culture. Recently I had an issue with my Carolina Reaper plants where they had bad leaf burn.

nutrient burn
Carolina Reapers with beginnings of Nutrient burn

The leaf burn was getting and bad I was concerned that the plants may die. When you find this there are generally a couple of reasons why.

  • Nutrient Burn
  • Light Burn
  • Nutrient Deficiencies
Since my plants are still fairly young and small I assumed the first two where more than likely the issue. I was using the recommended amount nutrient solution on the package which was roughly 15ml/gal of water. I have used this product on numerous other plants in different types of hydroponic systems and in this concentration so I didn’t think anything of the nutrient concentration initially.

How To Solve Nutrient Burn

Nutrient burn can be a tricky issue because other things can cause similar symptoms. The main other issue is light burn which can cause similar looking issues as nutrient burn based on my research. The issue there is that the light is too close to the plants and is burning the leaves. In nutrient burn the overabundance of nutrients causes the leaves to brown and the edges to burn. Here are the steps I used to resolve my issue:

  • Flushed my whole system
  • Cleaned and sanitized my bin(I do this between every water change
  • Added new water to my bin and replaced the plants
  • Gave my plants 24 hrs with just water
  • Added 1/4 the concentration of nutrient solution than the recommended amount

This thankfully has seemed to fix the issue a week later. One thing to note with nutrient burn or really any issue with leaves for that matter, the damaged leaves won’t repair themselves. The signal you are looking for is healthy looking new leaves. That is exactly what I have seen since making this adjustment. Make sure you are wary of underfeeding and be ready to add more nutrient solution if you plant appears to be wilty or not growing properly. I have noticed an increase in the growth rate as well which is also a good sign.

recovered Carolina Reaper
Recovered Carolina Reaper after nutrient burn


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