Knocking on Heavens Door - Shriveled Plants

8 month old plant, drained reservor, switched to flowering nutrients (slightly higher Phosphorus) and used a "bloom" enhancing spray. 72 hours later, she's a shriveled-up version of her former self. I think I over did it with the nutrient switch. Clearex won't arrive for another two days. Is there anything I can do to save her now? pH and temp always checked. Never flushed for salt build up. Nutrient toxicity? Please respond. Thanks.-C.

Answer: C- if a plant shrivels up that quickly right after a nutrient switch, there is little question what caused the problem. Either the nutrient strength was too strong (TDS/EC), or else your plants didn't like the bloom enhancing spray.

When using some spray-on products, you have to be careful. I found that out the hard way when I sprayed a garden down with neam oil. The way the neam oil coats the leaf (and partially blocks stomata) makes the plants very sensitive to warm temperatures. Blocking stomata prevents a plant from transpiring, and therefore from cooling itself properly. You are never supposed to spray your plants with anything while they are in the full sun (or under HID grow lights).

If you do spray them down with something while the lights are on, than you are supposed to raise your grow lights two feet for the next 24 hours. For neam oil at least, you are than supposed to spray the plants down with plain water, than let them dry completely before lowering the lights again. Yes, it is a pain in the but....but when it comes to neam oil, they are serious about it- my whole garden was shriveled up, with each leaf having died back about 20%....fried, very similar looking to having over-fertilized (which I knew was not the case).

Your description immediately brought back memories of my neam oil experience. My gut feeling is that the damage was a result of the bloom enhancing spray, and probably not from the nutrient switch (although I do not know what strength nutrient solution you where feeding them in veg and I do not know what strength nutrient solution you mixed up for them at the time of the nutrient change). If your new bloom nutrients were mixed up too strongly, this could be just as much the problem.

Whatever damage is already done. Even clearex, at this point, will not really help reverse the damage or prevent further damage. I recommend reducing the nutrient solution strength, at least to the same strength the plants were receiving in veg (which you knew was a safe level). I would also raise your lights, spray all of the plants down with plain water (or water with a little B1 in it), and lower the lights again the following day. This will help bounce back whatever was left living on your plants.

You will be delayed in flowering, and you will have a greatly reduced yield. You may want to test and record the nutrient solution strength and make a special note....just in case it turns out that the nutrient strength WAS too high. You may want to consider the nutrient strength you were feeding to your plants during the last week of veg as your "upper limit"....even if this is only 900 ppm. So, sit down and think hard about which of these two possibilities best fit the conditions in your garden at the that consideration you will find your best answer (it may be a little of each). I hope this helps you out, and Happy Growing!

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