Cannabis Nitrogen Toxicity and Shiny Dark Green Leaves

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How To Prevent, Identify, and Fix Nutrient Toxicity

Nutrient burn or nutrient toxicity happens when a plant is given excess nutrients. It can happen with any nutrient. However, nitrogen is one of the most common types of excess nutrients that are encountered in cannabis.

Attention Newbie Cannabis Cultivator-Incorrect nutrient levels and particularly too many nutrients are a common problem for the novice cannabis grower. The reason for this is because a beginning grower might, in error, think, that the more fertilizer the better. This assumption is far from the truth as excess nutrients can severely damage a marijuana plant.

Nutrient Burn is called many names. Some of which are chemical burn, fertilizer burn, and nute burn. And nitrogen toxicity is also called nitrogen burn. No matter what you call it; if it is not dealt with ASAP can damage and kill your cannabis crops.

What You Can Expect

This article will examine both general nutrient and cannabis nitrogen toxicity. It will also explain how to detect, and fix nitrogen burn.

Nutrient Burn and Nitrogen Burn-A nutrient burn covers any type of nutrient, and Nitrogen toxicity, of course, occurs with excess nitrogen. Nitrogen burn is being addressed specifically as the symptoms (shiny dark green leaves) tend to differ from other plant nutrient deficiencies. However, the solutions to fixing either is essentially the same.

FYI-Nitrogen Deficiency-Previously, I wrote an article on nitrogen nutrient deficiency. Please click here if you want further information. Both nitrogen deficiency and toxicity are bad news. However, a nutrient burn damaged cannabis plant cannot be fixed. All you can do is stop further plant damage.

What Causes Nitrogen/Nutrient Burn?

Providing too many nutrients to your plants is a major reason for a nutrient burn. However, there are several other reasons also why you might have this problem. Other common-sense reasons for this issue would be using bud boosters and growing stimulants too many times or too using too much.

There are also several, less obvious reasons why a nutrient burn can happen. Some of these are:

  • Underwatering-When the soil does not have enough moisture a salt build-up might occur. A salt build-up, if left unchecked, will cause too many nutrients to be used simultaneously, which will cause a nutrient overload.
  • Too Little Light-Sunlight or artificial grow lights provide energy and help with overall plant growth. Too little light will result in turning these natural mechanisms out of wack, which can increase the chance of nutrient burn.
  • Over Watering-When plants are overwatered they are deprived of oxygen. And oxygen-deprived plants are quite susceptible to a nutrient burn.

Nutrient Burn Signs

With a typical nutrient burn leaf damage will first appear, at the leaf’s tips and then gradually moves toward the center. An affected plant does not look scorched or burnt. Also, the nutrient burnt weed leaf tends to be variegated (multiple Colors), and it doesn’t have a burnt look. In later stages, a yellow or brown border will separate healthy leaf tissue from affected leaf matter, and the leaves will be twisted and curled downward like a claw.

What About Cannabis Nitrogen Toxicity?

Nitrogen toxicity can be a bit challenging to recognize in its early stages. The reason is that an affected marijuana leaf, to the newbie, does not look wilted, yellow, or unhealthy.

How Can You Recognize Cannabis Nitrogen Toxicity

Nitrogen burn can be a bit challenging to recognize in its early stages. The reason is that an affected plant leaf, to the newbie, does not look wilted, yellow, or unhealthy. In fact, to some, the dark green leaves might look actually like the plant is doing well. However, an unnatural, glossy dark leaf is a warning sign that needs to be dealt with ASAP.

The following is a summary of the signs of nitrogen burn.

First Signs

•       Leaf Color-Dark Green, shiny and glossy plant leaves.

•       Cannabis Claw-The tips of the plant leaves, at random, will be turned or curled downward in the shape of the claw.

Later Signs

  •  Yellow Leaves– The leaves will begin to turn yellow, spotted, and eventually die.
  • Buds– The buds will be smaller, and not as dense (“Airy”) as a healthy bud.

Cannabis Nutrient Burn Signs (Non-Nitrogen Toxicity)-All you need to remember is that non-nitrogen, nutrient toxicity problems are the same as nitrogen bun with the exception that the affected leave will not be an unnatural, shiny dark green color.

Overwatering-Nutrient burn systems often mimic overwattering problems. So, check the soil water levels before you do anything.

What Happens When Nute Burn Is Ignored?

In severe cases, root damage can occur when nute burn is ignored. However, the obvious damage is on a plant’s leaves. A leaf’s job is to absorb and gain the benefits of sunlight, which in turn helps with photosynthesis. Therefore, excess nutrient-damaged leaves can result in a stunted cannabis plant, and sub-par buds.

Prevention and Fixing The Problem

Nitrogen and other nutrient toxicity problems can be prevented and fixed by the below steps.

Preventing Nutrient Burn

You can always add more fertilizer to cannabis plants. On the other hand, nutrient burn affected plants must be discarded. So, it should go without saying, preventing nutrient burn from happening in the first place is your first priority.

Fortunately, in most cases, preventing nutrient burn isn’t that big of an issue. The best advice that I’ve seen is from the reputable website, Leaf Buyer. Leaf Buyer states that to start, you should lose from 3/4 to 1/2 of the recommended dosage. Afterward, observe and, if needed, you should then adjust.

How to Fix Nitrogen and Nutrient Burn Affected Plants

First Steps

1.      Stop Feeding-Stop feeding once a nutrient burn problem has been identified.

2.     Remove– A nutrient burn affected plant will eventually rot. And any rot, if not dealt with can spread and ruin a plant or even an entire harvest.

3.     Soil Flush– Perform a soil flush with PH balanced water. (pH of around 7)

4.     Resume Feeding-Start with only 3/4 of the recommended amount for plant food.

Final Thoughts

Growing Marijuana is not for the lazy. And you will not succeed if you think you can plant your crops and every once in a while take a peek at your plants to see how they are doing. This point is quite evident when it comes to nutrient and nitrogen toxicity and deficiency problems. So, to proven nutrient toxicity problems and also even for successful cannabis cultivation, you need to be constantly on the lookout for deformed plant leaves and other abnormal occurrences.