trainwreck plant

Speaking of the flowering stage… (Wait, what’s the flowering stage?) Nutrient Burn is More Serious in the Flowering Stage. Cannabis plants spend the beginning part of their life in the vegetative stage. When cannabis plants enter the second part of their life, the flowering stage, they stop focusing on making leaves and stems, and put all their focus on making buds/flowers.

The flowering stage is the most vulnerable stage for cannabis plants, because they don’t have much ability to bounce back from any problems. The further you get into the flowering stage (and the closer you get to harvest), the less likely the plant will replace a leaf that is damaged or dies. By the time harvest is around the corner, your plant basically stops making any effort to recover from leaf damage, and its complete focus is on fattening buds. That’s why budding cannabis plants need extra care to thrive – in the flowering stage, a little bit of nutrient burn will probably be okay, but too much nutrient burn can seriously hurt yields because the plant will not be able to recover. If you are adding nutrients to your water, it can be very easy to burn your plants in the flowering stage (even with nutrient levels it was fine with before) as different strains have different needs throughout budding. If you are using bottled nutrients – Most people who get nute burn are feeding their plants extra nutrients in the water. First off, make sure you are using a quality set of nutrients that has been specifically designed for cannabis plants. Any nutrient system designed for plants like a tomato will also work in a pinch.

Also make sure you are feeding nutrients for the right growth stage – for example, all cannabis nutrient systems have you feed different nutrients for the vegetative and flowering stage. If you are feeding the wrong type of nutrients for the stage your plant is in, that is an easy way to give your plants lots of nutrient problems including nutrient burn. If you are using the wrong type of nutrients for a plant like cannabis, you will eventually run into nutrient problems, one way or another. Many nutrient systems come with instructions to feed your plant more nutrients than most plants actually need. It’s good business for the nutrient companies if you use more nutrients. However, in my experience it’s a good idea to view the feeding charts that come with any nutrient system as the maximum amount of nutrients and actually start with much lower levels. I tend to start with half the recommended amount, and slowly work my way up only if needed. Hand-watered system – If you are growing in a handwatered system (like in soil or coco coir), flush your system with plain, pH’ed water if you notice the first signs of nutrient burn. If you are not adding any extra nutrients in your grow, then you simply need to wait until the plant uses all the excess nutrients in the soil – after the nutes have been used up, the plant will naturally get over the nute burn (old leaves won’t recover, but leaves should no longer be getting new brown or burnt tips). Hydro system – Reduce the overall levels of nutrients in your water reservoir by either adding plain pH’ed water to dilute the water, or you could also mix up a new set of nutrients (at lower levels) and completely change the water. Be careful not to make big changes too fast, it’s better to go relatively slowly in hydro. In hydro, once you change the water and lower the nutrient levels to an appropriate level, you should immediately notice the nutrient burn stop spreading. Old leaves won’t recover, but you shouldn’t notice any leaves getting worse. If you don’t have a TDS meter to measure the levels of nutrients (and other extra stuff) in your water, I would normally start your plants with a fraction (perhaps 1/2) of the nutrients you were giving them before – and then work your way up to higher nutrient levels only if you notice the lower leaves are starting to yellow too quickly (nitrogen deficiency). Even then, try to move up nutrient levels as slowly as you can. If you lose leaves to a nitrogen deficiency from slightly too-low nutrient levels, you will lose a few of the least important lower leaves. But if you raise nutrient levels to fast and get nutrient burn, all the leaves on the whole plant will be affected and never recover fully. One of the things that can be frustrating about hydro is that different plants or strains will be okay with different amounts of nutrients. You can be giving 2 plants the exact same levels of nutrients, and one might get nutrient burn while the other plant is getting a deficiency at the same level. This is because different plants absorb the nutrients at different rates. Plus, plants drink more or less water depending on the temperature and humidity of your grow area, so even if you’re familiar with the nutrient levels of a particular strain, it can be hard to keep track of the exact right nutrient levels until you get familiar with your setup, unless… Luckily, there is an awesome tool to make this much easier in hydro. In hydro, it is very helpful to get a tool called a TDS meter to help you regulate the amount of nutrients in your water. A TDS meter will be able to tell you how much “stuff” is in the water, and whether the levels of nutrients are getting higher or lower each time you check.

You can test your reservoir at any time to see if the levels of nutrients are rising, so you’ll be able to stop nutrient burn before it even affects your plants. To find out more about using a TDS meter to measure nutrients in your water, check out our article: PPM: What It Is and How To Track It. Could your cannabis also be suffering from Nitrogen Toxicity? – Nitrogen toxicity is common on cannabis plants with nutrient burn. Are the ends of leaves curling like a claw or pointing down like talons? If your plant is experiencing “the claw” and not just normal drooping like from underwatering or overwatering, then you may have a nitrogen toxicity (too much nitrogen). These Plants Are NOT Overwatered, These Leaves Show Signs of Nitrogen Toxicity. Learn more: Nitrogen Toxicity (“The Claw”, tips bent down, curling / clawing, dark green leaves) Nitrogen toxicity is relatively common with plants experiencing nutrient burn. Leaves have burnt tips, yellow tips, brown edges… These are some of the most common symptoms growers see on their cannabis plants.

It can be hard to identify the cause because a lot of different things can cause similar symptoms. Today I’ll break down all the reasons you might see brown tips or yellow leaf edges. Get to the root of the problem and get back to green healthy leaves! Nutrient burn is a common cause of burnt leaf tips, but not the only one!


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