Questions about plant toxicities

If you’ve gardened, farmed, or grown anything in your life, you’ve probably experienced a nutrient deficiency in your plants. 

The other side of nutrient levels is a toxicity, and it’s something that many growers are concerned about.

Let’s answer a common question:

“Should I be worried about nutrient toxicities?”

The short answer is no. 

Toxicities are rare in almost all agricultural application, and aquaponics or hydroponics especially, because most growers stay aware of nutrient levels or are using a carefully formulated nutrient solution.

If a toxicity does occur, it happens because the grower is dosing incorrectly. The most common mistake is to dose too much potassium or too much sulfate.

Most toxicities to plants manifest as deficiencies of other nutrients because of the way the nutrients interact. Different combinations of toxicities and deficiencies result in different symptoms, and different crops show those symptoms in different ways, so identifying a toxicity can be very difficult. (So it’s convenient that you won’t have to deal with one!)

Those of you growing in an aquaponic system might be thinking about toxicity to fish. Luckily, toxicities to fish are also rare.

Toxicities are difficult to identify but easy to prevent. 

In the case of toxicities, a good defense is the best offense. You can avoid toxicities by dosing correctly and keeping ratios correct.

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