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Sunburn or decease?

This is a discussion on Sunburn or decease? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I used to water daily with fertz but now i am doing it twice a ...

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  1. #11
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    I used to water daily with fertz but now i am doing it twice a week..sometimes only 1 time. I was hoping to do it once a week but was wondering whether my plants will grow faster and stronger if i only fert them once a week as compare to twice a week. I am also pondering whether i should put some slow release ferts and only have manual fertz once a week. Any advice on this as well?
    First, let me say I don't like "controlled release" fertilizers. One simply has no control over what the plants are getting.

    As much as is possible, I try to take cues from nature.

    In the wild, orchids get fed every time it rains, which can be several timeas a day in places. The solution is pure rain water that has cascaded through the forest canopy and trickled down branches and tree trunks, where it picks up whatever airborne detritus has collected and plant exudates and those coming from various molds, fungi, and bacteria. Analyses have shown it to be no more than about 15 ppm dissolved solids, with most of that being nitrogen.

    That is why I started my frequent-but-dilute feeding regimen - 25 ppm N at every watering.

    You're never going to get more growth out of your plants feeding MORE FERTILIZER or LESS FREQUENTLY. The latter is simply unhealthy (think about you only having one meal a week...), and the simple fact is that while a plant might absorb more nutrients, it doesn't use them. Water is the true driving force for growth.

    If you do some calculations using the chemical processes within an plant, in order to gain 1 kg of mass, it has to absorb and process approximately 200L of water, but only 10g of N-P-K nutrients, and again, only about 1-2% of that is other than nitrogen.

    I would also recommend shifting the nutrient mix toward nitrogen. I use K-Lite, which is a 12-1-1 formula containing 10% Ca and 3% Mg, along with all of the minor elements. I'm reasonably sure it's not available in your part of the world, but you can approximate it by using 50/50 calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts and adding 5% of your current blend, which would yield something in the neighborhood of an 8-1-1 with plenty of Ca and Mg. Your current mixing rate of 0.5ml/L would give you around 20 ppm N, which would be great for daily irrigation.

  2. #12
    Ana Danaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    First, let me say I don't like "controlled release" fertilizers. One simply has no control over what the plants are getting.

    As much as is possible, I try to take cues from nature.

    In the wild, orchids get fed every time it rains, which can be several timeas a day in places. The solution is pure rain water that has cascaded through the forest canopy and trickled down branches and tree trunks, where it picks up whatever airborne detritus has collected and plant exudates and those coming from various molds, fungi, and bacteria. Analyses have shown it to be no more than about 15 ppm dissolved solids, with most of that being nitrogen.

    That is why I started my frequent-but-dilute feeding regimen - 25 ppm N at every watering.

    You're never going to get more growth out of your plants feeding MORE FERTILIZER or LESS FREQUENTLY. The latter is simply unhealthy (think about you only having one meal a week...), and the simple fact is that while a plant might absorb more nutrients, it doesn't use them. Water is the true driving force for growth.

    If you do some calculations using the chemical processes within an plant, in order to gain 1 kg of mass, it has to absorb and process approximately 200L of water, but only 10g of N-P-K nutrients, and again, only about 1-2% of that is other than nitrogen.

    I would also recommend shifting the nutrient mix toward nitrogen. I use K-Lite, which is a 12-1-1 formula containing 10% Ca and 3% Mg, along with all of the minor elements. I'm reasonably sure it's not available in your part of the world, but you can approximate it by using 50/50 calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts and adding 5% of your current blend, which would yield something in the neighborhood of an 8-1-1 with plenty of Ca and Mg. Your current mixing rate of 0.5ml/L would give you around 20 ppm N, which would be great for daily irrigation.
    Hi Ray, thanks a lot for the explanation above. I was missing that part of information and believe this will help me and my plants also.
    I use Orchid fit (balanced fertilizer with Ca and Mg)
    "Orchi Fit - the special orchid fertilizer
    Years of experiences in growing various orchid genera have led to the development of this universal fertilizer. It meets the demands for both flowering season and growth. The components are mainly based on chelate. It contains the orchids' main nutrients nitrogen-phosphor-potassium in their optimal proportion (2:1:1). Additionally, it includes the necessary micronutrients, plant adoptable calcium and protein of organic origin. "
    I will start using destined water (sorry no ro ) and a max of 25 ppm TDS. I need to check what the Ph will be but in case is higher than 7 can I reduce it with lemon juice until I get 6,4?
    I normally flush my pots once a month (destined water) , if I soak them , the lECA should release the salts better, right?
    Once again thanks

  3. #13
    KC Kam is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CattyRobb View Post
    My TDS wasn't super high, but it was too high for the amount I was feeding, as these factors interact. I don't think you ever want to use water with TDS of over 200 if you can help it. Mine was about 185 on average, but I was also feeding way too heavily. If you're feeding every day like I am, I shoot for 12.5 ppm nitrogen, even with distilled water. More frequent watering = more dilute fert. I skip one sometimes too or make it ever weaker, as I am shooting for about 75 ppm nitrogen in total per week, per Ray's advice. Most of us overfeed without even realize we're doing it. Remember the correlation between frequency and strength of solution, and it will help if you're having any of these issues. I also think it's better to fertilize weakly every time you water, instead of say only fertilizing once a month and giving it a heavy dose at one time. It happens in very small increments over time in nature.
    Hi Robb,

    Noted. In fact i was fertilizing weakly daily previously but due to the amount of time requires and traffic in my area was very bad that i will need to adjust my watering regime

    ---------- Post Merged at 09:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    First, let me say I don't like "controlled release" fertilizers. One simply has no control over what the plants are getting.

    As much as is possible, I try to take cues from nature.

    In the wild, orchids get fed every time it rains, which can be several timeas a day in places. The solution is pure rain water that has cascaded through the forest canopy and trickled down branches and tree trunks, where it picks up whatever airborne detritus has collected and plant exudates and those coming from various molds, fungi, and bacteria. Analyses have shown it to be no more than about 15 ppm dissolved solids, with most of that being nitrogen.

    That is why I started my frequent-but-dilute feeding regimen - 25 ppm N at every watering.

    You're never going to get more growth out of your plants feeding MORE FERTILIZER or LESS FREQUENTLY. The latter is simply unhealthy (think about you only having one meal a week...), and the simple fact is that while a plant might absorb more nutrients, it doesn't use them. Water is the true driving force for growth.

    If you do some calculations using the chemical processes within an plant, in order to gain 1 kg of mass, it has to absorb and process approximately 200L of water, but only 10g of N-P-K nutrients, and again, only about 1-2% of that is other than nitrogen.

    I would also recommend shifting the nutrient mix toward nitrogen. I use K-Lite, which is a 12-1-1 formula containing 10% Ca and 3% Mg, along with all of the minor elements. I'm reasonably sure it's not available in your part of the world, but you can approximate it by using 50/50 calcium nitrate and Epsom Salts and adding 5% of your current blend, which would yield something in the neighborhood of an 8-1-1 with plenty of Ca and Mg. Your current mixing rate of 0.5ml/L would give you around 20 ppm N, which would be great for daily irrigation.
    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your sharing, i really appreciate it. However i am unable to water them daily with some fert dosage because i need around 1 hour to water all my 30+ plants and i need another 1 hour plus to drive to work due to traffic congestion. I am also having some health condition previously thats why i need more rest daily hence i have no choice but to cut down my daily watering time by implementing an auto watering system. This watering system does not have a tank to pre-mix my fert before delivering the water to the plants. It only delivers a filtered water from my house tank to the plants. Implementing the tank with water pump is too expansive for me and the pump can only last few years.

    Due to this reason i can only fertilize by using manual pressure pump during my weekends. I am aiming to give them weaker dosage so that they will still grow well...

    I guess i will adjust my watering with dosage of 21-21-21 to provide 0.25g/liter (50ppm) to provide 2 waterings a week to achieve 100ppm per week. Hope this works too?

    Thanks in advance Ray

  4. #14
    Dorsetman's Avatar
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    Water quality.

    I really cannot understand why so many folk quote TDS figures. TDS is hooey, pseudoscience.

    Quote ; The only way of accurately measuring the TDS of a nutrient solution is to evaporate all the liquid and measure the residue - this would kind of defeat the point ! ; unquote.

    What TDS meters actually do is measure the Electrical Conductivity or EC, and then convert it.
    There are two problems with conversion. (1) the conversion scale is non-linear, ( at different temperatures) and (2) there are at least 4 different conversion scales in use.

    In practice, here are the conversion figures for a number of popular TDS meters :-

    Truncheon - 0.7
    Guardian - 0.5
    Hanna HI 98301 - 0.5
    Hanna 98140 - 0.7
    EcoTester - adjustable between 0.4 and 1.0

    In other words, your TDS 200 may be my TDS 300 or maybe it is my 150….and so on. So it is meaningless flor a guide unless you also quote your TDS model, and I go out and find the same model.

    So why not use EC ? That is always the same - your EC is the same as my EC ( if we are dipping our meters into the same bucket of solution ) whatever meters we use. It is an electrical current measurement - whatever the temperature and whatever the meter.

    And if you want to know what EC to use - I have measured this in the collected drips from the roots of epiphytic orchids in rain storms in the growing season in the jungle on more than one occasion, and found it to be in the range 450-650 EC - which are the figures I use ( according to genera).

    Make sense , does it not ?

    I have been saying this, in forums like this , for years, and still it goes on….

  5. #15
    Ana Danaya's Avatar
    Ana Danaya is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetman View Post
    Water quality.

    I really cannot understand why so many folk quote TDS figures. TDS is hooey, pseudoscience.

    Quote ; The only way of accurately measuring the TDS of a nutrient solution is to evaporate all the liquid and measure the residue - this would kind of defeat the point ! ; unquote.

    What TDS meters actually do is measure the Electrical Conductivity or EC, and then convert it.
    There are two problems with conversion. (1) the conversion scale is non-linear, ( at different temperatures) and (2) there are at least 4 different conversion scales in use.

    In practice, here are the conversion figures for a number of popular TDS meters :-

    Truncheon - 0.7
    Guardian - 0.5
    Hanna HI 98301 - 0.5
    Hanna 98140 - 0.7
    EcoTester - adjustable between 0.4 and 1.0

    In other words, your TDS 200 may be my TDS 300 or maybe it is my 150….and so on. So it is meaningless flor a guide unless you also quote your TDS model, and I go out and find the same model.

    So why not use EC ? That is always the same - your EC is the same as my EC ( if we are dipping our meters into the same bucket of solution ) whatever meters we use. It is an electrical current measurement - whatever the temperature and whatever the meter.

    And if you want to know what EC to use - I have measured this in the collected drips from the roots of epiphytic orchids in rain storms in the growing season in the jungle on more than one occasion, and found it to be in the range 450-650 EC - which are the figures I use ( according to genera).

    Make sense , does it not ?

    I have been saying this, in forums like this , for years, and still it goes on….
    Hi Geoff
    Good morning. It actually makes sense
    What is the EC you use for Catt?
    I will get myself an EC meter

  6. #16
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    For Cattleyas, I use as high as 750 microSiemens, or uS ( the u should be a Greek letter mu but not on my keyboard ). NOT mS which is milliSiemens, 1000 times greater.
    That is when in growth with good light, usually Summer. When resting , nothing or just plain water - if food rain, probably down as low as 100 uS, or from RO, as low as 20 uS. If growing in winter, as they do under lights, probably 600 is good.

  7. #17
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    Geoff,

    if you use a regular PC keyboard with a number keypad to the right, hold down the left alt key and type 230, to get the "mu" for micro: µ

    I agree 100% that TDS meters are pretty bad. To the best of my knowledge, only hobby orchid growers use them routinely.

    Personally, I think one should base their feeding regimen on the ppm N and not the EC, as that can change with fertilizer formula in addition to concentration, but it is an excellent way to control your fertilizer use if you know the EC-ppm relationship. If you purchase some good quality fertilizers, the manufacturer provides that. K-Lite and MSU RO, from which it was derived, and having the same nitrogen content, for example, are as follows:

    K-Lite:
    25 ppm N = 0.18mS (multiply by 1000 for µS)
    50 = 0.35
    75 = 0.53
    100 = 0.71

    MSU RO:
    25 ppm N = 0.20 mS
    50 = 0.40
    75 = 0.60
    100 = 0.80

    Simply add that target value to the EC of your water supply, and you'll know exactly what you're giving your plants.

  8. #18
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Good one Geoff. Hatsoff to you. Got to love your wisdom. Wishing many more years of good health Geoff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetman View Post
    Water quality.

    I really cannot understand why so many folk quote TDS figures. TDS is hooey, pseudoscience.

    Quote ; The only way of accurately measuring the TDS of a nutrient solution is to evaporate all the liquid and measure the residue - this would kind of defeat the point ! ; unquote.

    What TDS meters actually do is measure the Electrical Conductivity or EC, and then convert it.
    There are two problems with conversion. (1) the conversion scale is non-linear, ( at different temperatures) and (2) there are at least 4 different conversion scales in use.

    In practice, here are the conversion figures for a number of popular TDS meters :-

    Truncheon - 0.7
    Guardian - 0.5
    Hanna HI 98301 - 0.5
    Hanna 98140 - 0.7
    EcoTester - adjustable between 0.4 and 1.0

    In other words, your TDS 200 may be my TDS 300 or maybe it is my 150….and so on. So it is meaningless flor a guide unless you also quote your TDS model, and I go out and find the same model.

    So why not use EC ? That is always the same - your EC is the same as my EC ( if we are dipping our meters into the same bucket of solution ) whatever meters we use. It is an electrical current measurement - whatever the temperature and whatever the meter.

    And if you want to know what EC to use - I have measured this in the collected drips from the roots of epiphytic orchids in rain storms in the growing season in the jungle on more than one occasion, and found it to be in the range 450-650 EC - which are the figures I use ( according to genera).

    Make sense , does it not ?

    I have been saying this, in forums like this , for years, and still it goes on….

  9. #19
    Orching is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC Kam View Post
    Greetings Orchid Lovers!

    I am having some issue with my orchid leaves. I am not sure whether this is sunburn, underwater or decease. Any idea?

    Please advice
    Looks like anthracnose. Check the dry part of the leaf for Fruiting Bodies. Little dots that will produce and spread spores. Anthracnose is very common not only in orchids for in many plants and grasses. Lower humidity, increase light and cut that part of the leaf.

    Here are some pictures to compare:

    https://staugorchidsociety.org/cultu...nthracnose.htm

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