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Old 05-28-2008, 01:31 AM   #16
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Very interesting line-up. Even though it lacked scientific rigour, it still gives an indication how the different mediums treat the roots.

As a long time user of both rockwool and hydrotones in NFT, and now soon two years of growing in coco as well, I've done all three, but never in a side-by-side.

To start with, in NFT, the rockwool and hydrotones are simply used as starting mediums, a root propagator for the young clone or seedling. The roots then spills out on the NFT trays and into the reservoir, which is the real medium.

I've also used a Flo-Gro with hydrotones though, which is a re-circulating drip system a la Waterfarm.

After experimenting with different coco mixes, I went 100% coco, using them in pots either top fed by hand, or bottom fed on trays. The principle here is run to waste, or constant flow.

I do believe that if you had gone constant drip or flow with the hydrotones, you would have seen a whole different result in terms of growth. Hydrotones is a intert medium, meaning that it has close to zero absorption capacity (while the aerating capacity is great). The whole principle behind an ebb and flow system is of course to supply a nutrient solution to an absorbing medium, that holds on to the liquid and distributes it to the root system. So the root system in the hydrotones are dependent on water pockets, spreader mats and spreading out on the trays in order to find liquid.

I can see how the rockwool waterlogged the medium, but not the coco. While coco has a great absorption capacity (8-9 times its own weight), the coarse coir fibres still provides sufficient aeration for roots even when totally saturated. I've only seen waterlogging in 100% coco coir when the coco was re-cycled (fibers degraded) and the root system was underdeveloped. I've run coco coir pots bottom fed on constant flow trays, without a hint of waterlogging.

Rockwool is also an inert medium, but thanks to its porosity it manages to retain liquid, sometimes a little too well. Young plants beware. Its Caption Exchange Capacity (the capacity to 'hold on' to certain nutrients and later re-distribute them) is zero, just as water, while coco has a tendency to hold on to certain nutrients (initially at least), such as calcium and potassium.
Rockwool therefore holds an advantage over coco if the nutrient (solution) flow is constant, while coco holds an advantage in an ebb and flow system.

Therefore, the medium most suited for this kind of system/feeding is coco, rockwool less, and hydrotones even less.
Set it up differently, and you'll get different results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KissOfDeath
As you can imagine, the coco stayed quite wet. As a result, the root system was not forced to expand in search of water and nutrients. It didn't even fill the entire 2 gallon bucket - the bottom 2 or 3 inches had virtually no roots!
Let me expand a little on this. Roots do not grow in a dry medium. In a wet medium they will grow towards the water/mineral source (higher concentration of water and nutrients), always. They will therefore always invest the most saturated parts of the medium, and if they don't, it's either because they couldn't, or because they didn't need to.
One thing worth talking about is the CEC capacity of coco, allowing it to store/concentrate nutrients only to release them to the roots later. A well-saturated coco coir medium therefore - it seems - allows roots to feed more efficiently on a smaller surface than peat soil (lower CEC) or rockwool/hydrotones (zero CEC).

So, rather than saying that the roots didn't expand (in coco) because the medium was too wet, let's say that you were using too big pots, because with coco you can reduce the size and get the same results, the proof being that your coco plant outdid the others with a smaller root system.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosy Cheeks
Very interesting line-up. Even though it lacked scientific rigour, it still gives an indication how the different mediums treat the roots.

As a long time user of both rockwool and hydrotones in NFT, and now soon two years of growing in coco as well, I've done all three, but never in a side-by-side.

To start with, in NFT, the rockwool and hydrotones are simply used as starting mediums, a root propagator for the young clone or seedling. The roots then spills out on the NFT trays and into the reservoir, which is the real medium.

I've also used a Flo-Gro with hydrotones though, which is a re-circulating drip system a la Waterfarm.

After experimenting with different coco mixes, I went 100% coco, using them in pots either top fed by hand, or bottom fed on trays. The principle here is run to waste, or constant flow.

I do believe that if you had gone constant drip or flow with the hydrotones, you would have seen a whole different result in terms of growth. Hydrotones is a intert medium, meaning that it has close to zero absorption capacity (while the aerating capacity is great). The whole principle behind an ebb and flow system is of course to supply a nutrient solution to an absorbing medium, that holds on to the liquid and distributes it to the root system. So the root system in the hydrotones are dependent on water pockets, spreader mats and spreading out on the trays in order to find liquid.

I can see how the rockwool waterlogged the medium, but not the coco. While coco has a great absorption capacity (8-9 times its own weight), the coarse coir fibres still provides sufficient aeration for roots even when totally saturated. I've only seen waterlogging in 100% coco coir when the coco was re-cycled (fibers degraded) and the root system was underdeveloped. I've run coco coir pots bottom fed on constant flow trays, without a hint of waterlogging.

Rockwool is also an inert medium, but thanks to its porosity it manages to retain liquid, sometimes a little too well. Young plants beware. Its Caption Exchange Capacity (the capacity to 'hold on' to certain nutrients and later re-distribute them) is zero, just as water, while coco has a tendency to hold on to certain nutrients (initially at least), such as calcium and potassium.
Rockwool therefore holds an advantage over coco if the nutrient (solution) flow is constant, while coco holds an advantage in an ebb and flow system.

Therefore, the medium most suited for this kind of system/feeding is coco, rockwool less, and hydrotones even less.
Set it up differently, and you'll get different results.



Let me expand a little on this. Roots do not grow in a dry medium. In a wet medium they will grow towards the water/mineral source (higher concentration of water and nutrients), always. They will therefore always invest the most saturated parts of the medium, and if they don't, it's either because they couldn't, or because they didn't need to.
One thing worth talking about is the CEC capacity of coco, allowing it to store/concentrate nutrients only to release them to the roots later. A well-saturated coco coir medium therefore - it seems - allows roots to feed more efficiently on a smaller surface than peat soil (lower CEC) or rockwool/hydrotones (zero CEC).

So, rather than saying that the roots didn't expand (in coco) because the medium was too wet, let's say that you were using too big pots, because with coco you can reduce the size and get the same results, the proof being that your coco plant outdid the others with a smaller root system.
K+ very accurate and informative post. keep doing your thang rosey
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:18 AM   #18
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Right on Rosy Cheeks, one of the best explanantions i've heard so far
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:24 PM   #19
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Great post, Rosy!

Plenty of food for thought.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosy Cheeks
Let me expand a little on this. Roots do not grow in a dry medium. In a wet medium they will grow towards the water/mineral source (higher concentration of water and nutrients), always. They will therefore always invest the most saturated parts of the medium, and if they don't, it's either because they couldn't, or because they didn't need to.
But isn't over-watering the reason they didn't need to?

To attack it from a different angle - If I had only watered the coco once per day (let's assume it doesn't dry out), wouldn't the root mass have been more developed?

Last edited by KissOfDeath; 05-28-2008 at 06:47 PM..
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:03 AM   #20
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nice test bro, im interested in coco too, only waiting to end my bio bizz ferts to invest in coco.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KissOfDeath
But isn't over-watering the reason they didn't need to?

To attack it from a different angle - If I had only watered the coco once per day (let's assume it doesn't dry out), wouldn't the root mass have been more developed?
Well, let's put it this way. Cannabis growers generally treat root growth religiously, because they know it's the key to exponential growth and yield. Your plants won't grow any bigger and yield any better than the root system allows.
Now, here comes along a medium with great absorption/aerating qualities, and with a CEC that goes beyond all peat based mediums, and suddenly a less volyminous root system seems to be able to sustain a bigger plant.

It means that as a grower, you'll have to re-think, and re-calculate your volumes. A plant's root system will continue to develop and spread, up until a point in flower where growth stops. If your root system hasn't filled up the pot by then, then it's probably because it didn't have time to do it in relation to the needs of the plant.

If you would have watered less, then perhaps the roots would have spread further in search for more water. But... what would be the point, if there was no need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by techattack
nice test bro, im interested in coco too, only waiting to end my bio bizz ferts to invest in coco.
You can run your coco plants on BioBizz ferts. I treat my motherplants in coco with BioBizz, works like a charm. Growth is slower than with mineral based ferts, apart from that no issues.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:58 AM   #22
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I'm torn between doing
a drip/ebb n flow system (with coco coir)
or
a bubble systems with hydroton.
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Old 07-04-2008, 08:53 PM   #23
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Rosy Cheeks seems to know what he's chatting about, and i'd agree with most of what he is saying.

But just my 2pence worth, from my experience. Coco does'nt produce the same kind of root system as water systems.

I have grown in coco/perlite mix and DWC side by side.

A had two NL gals from Nirvana, and wanted to try growing a different way (as at that moment in time i had only grown Hydro NFT and soil).

Both were vegged for 4-5 weeks, transplanted into there new homes, and vegged for another 2 weeks.

The coco/perlite mix was about 50/50, in 25 litre pot. Hand watered daily.
Yeild was 3 1/2 Oz.


DWC in the same kind of 25 litre pot. (although i had major Ph and other problems).
Yeild was 7 1/2 Oz.

This was back in 2004/5. I have'nt done too much DWC since, cos i love the coco result for overall smoke and quality. DWC (once dialed in is better presumably). But coco also has an easyier approach. As DWC can be awkward, but still over time you can home in on the requirements of the plant.

Just my opinion. Coco rules! Love it. Top Buzz!

Peace Tc
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Old 07-04-2008, 09:11 PM   #24
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Oh yeah, i forgot to add that i have found coco grow's just don't produce the same amount or the same kind of root system. Water systems just naturally produce more roots. I think there fore coco is very suitable for cannabis, and that cannabis also likes coco like me.

Again i think coco beats other ways hands down for overall quality, appearance, taste and smoke. NFT and DWC is for commercial (but that's just my opinion). When i did grow big (30-50 Oz a time), i"d knock out the Hydro and DWC stuff, and keep the soil and coco results for one's self.

Happy growing/weekend all.

Peace 'n love Tc
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