In this guide we aim to learn about nitrogen excess in cannabis plants. Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients that cannabis plants need to thrive. It plays a crucial role in plant growth and development. Cannabis plants use nitrogen to build structure, promote healthy foliage, and increase yields. It is also a crucial component in photosynthesis.
However, if you feed too much nitrogen to cannabis plants, problems can arise. Especially during the flowering stage of growth. In this article, we will discuss nitrogen excess in cannabis plants. Including how it happens, how to identify it, and what you can do to fix and prevent it.
Before you go on to treat any problems with your cannabis plants, you need to make sure you have the correct diagnosis. If you treat your plant for the wrong thing you may make the problem worse. So if you are unsure about anything and you need extra help diagnosing and fixing a plant problem, please feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growing forum.
How does Nitrogen Excess happen?
Nitrogen excess occurs when cannabis plants receive too much nitrogen. This can happen when growers either use fertilizers that are high in nitrogen or when they use too much of it.
Cannabis plants use a lot more nitrogen during their vegetative stage than they do during their flowering stage. Because of this cannabis plant nutrients tend to come in two different varieties. Grow nutrients, which are high in nitrogen and designed for the vegetative a stage. And “bloom” nutrients, which are lower in nitrogen and designed for the flowering stage.
If you use “grow” nutrients during the flowering stage of a cannabis plant’s growth, you may cause a nitrogen toxicity because the plant is receiving more nitrogen than it uses. The nitrogen can then build up in the grow medium and it will cause problems with the plants growth over time. Nitrogen excess in cannabis plants is easy to identify though, and it has some specific symptoms you can look out for to identify it.
How to identify Nitrogen Excess in Cannabis Plants?
One of the most common signs of nitrogen excess in cannabis plants is dark green foliage. The leaves may appear shiny and waxy, and the plant may be bushy and dense.
This is because cannabis plants use a lot of nitrogen to make leaves and stems. When it receives too much nitrogen it will try to use up as much as possible and create more leaves. So if your plant is very leafy, it is most likely getting too much nitrogen.
The stems of your cannabis plants may also be thick and strong. This sounds ideal, but in fact it makes the plant less flexible and more prone to breaking. Especially during any plant training like LST and Scrogging.
Additionally, nitrogen excess can cause a delay in flowering, resulting in lower yields. Also, if your plants have nitrogen excess during the flowering stage, the buds can be spare and airy, and they will not be as dense as you want them to be.
Another well known symptom of nitrogen excess in cannabis plants is something growers refer to as “the claw”. This is when the leaves get so full of nitrogen that they turn very dark green, and the tips of the leaves begin to turn downwards. This makes the leaves look like a claw, which is why it is called clawing.
If you have noticed that your plant has lots of dark green, thick leaves that also seem to claw, then it is very likely you have a nitrogen toxicity and it needs to be fixed quickly before more problems start to occur.
What can you do to fix Nitrogen Excess in Cannabis Plants?
If you suspect that your cannabis plants have a nitrogen excess, the first step is to stop providing them with additional nitrogen. This will force the plant to use what nitrogen it has stored up inside itself because there isn’t any available in the medium for it to use.
You can also flush your grow medium with plain water to remove any excess nitrogen, this works well for soil grows. If you’re growing hydroponically, you can switch to a nutrient mix that has a lower nitrogen content. This will help to restore balance to the plant’s nutrient uptake and promote healthy growth.
It is also essential to maintain proper pH levels in your grow medium to prevent nutrient lockout. When pH levels are too high or too low, it can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. This can cause unused nutrients to be stored up in the grow medium. Then when the pH comes back into the correct range, there is too much of the nutrient for the plant and excess and toxicity can occur.
Regularly testing your grow mediums pH can help you ensure that your plants are getting the nutrients they need without experiencing any adverse effects. For soil growers, aim for a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. If you grow hydroponically, try to keep pH between 5.8 and 6.2 to prevent nutrient issues.
What can you do to prevent Nitrogen Excess?
Preventing nitrogen excess starts with selecting the right fertilizer for your cannabis plants. Also, you need to use the right nutrients for the right stage of growth. For example, grow nutrients for the vegetative stage, and bloom nutrients for the flowering stage.
It is very easy to over feed cannabis plants too. Most of the time, the numbers given by nutrient manufacturers are way too strong for cannabis plants. These nutrients are usually made for growing plants like fruits and vegetables, which take a lot more nutrients to grow than a herbaceous plant like cannabis does. It is always good practice to start feeding your plant at ¼ of the dose the manufacturer recommends. You can then increase the amount as your plant needs it.
It is easier to fix an under fed plant than it is to fix an over fed one, so always go light on the nutrients and increase the dosage as the plant requires.
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for cannabis plants, but too much of it can be harmful. Nitrogen excess can lead to dark green foliage, nutrient burn, delayed flowering and airy buds. To fix nitrogen excess, stop providing the plant with additional nitrogen and maintain proper pH levels in your grow medium. To prevent nitrogen excess, use the right fertilizer, at the right time, and do not use too much of it. Start off with 1/4 of what the manufacturer’s instructions tells you, and maintain good watering practices. With these tips, you can ensure that your cannabis plants get the nutrients they need without experiencing any adverse effects.
If you think your cannabis plants have a nitrogen excess, and you have any question after reading this guide the please feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growers forum. We have sections specifically dedicated to helping you fix a sick cannabis plant and hundred of members who are always happy and eager to help.