pH is measured on a scale from 1.0 to 14.0. Pure water has a pH of 7.0 and is considered pH neutral. pH below 7.0 is considered to be acidic and pH higher than 7.0 is considered to be alkaline.
A substance that decreases pH (pH-down) is called an acid while a substance that increases pH (pH-up) is called a base. A substance that helps nutrient solutions resist pH changes when an acid or base is added, is called a buffer.
A pH difference of 1.0 is equal to a ten times increase or decrease in pH. That is, a nutrient solution with a pH of 6.0 is ten times as acidic as a nutrient solution with a pH of 7.0. A pH difference of 2.0 is equal to a hundred times increase or decrease in pH.
It is very important to keep the pH level within certain limits when growing certain types of plants.††Even first time growers need to monitor the pH of their nutrient solution or soil and keep it within optimum levels.
The pH level of your hydroponic nutrient solution or soil will determine how well your plants are able to absorb nutrients. If the pH level is out of the proper range, the growth rate of the plants will slow down or stop.
pH-up and pH-down solutions are used to adjust the pH level of hydroponic nutrient solution and hydroponic media when the pH is out of range. pH-up (also called pH increase) is used to raise the pH level and pH-down (also called pH decrease) is used to reduce the pH level. A pH-up or pH-down solution for hydroponic or aquarium use is recommended.
Unless directed to do so by the manufacturer, don't try to adjust your pH by more than 0.2 per day.† Make drastic changes over a number of days.† If your pH is 7.0 and you would like it at 6.5, try lowering it by 0.1 a day for 5 days (or do it even more gradually).† Overcompensating can spell disaster for your garden.
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