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Discussion in 'Coco Coir' started by Pot Professor Paul, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. check this out.....Coco Coir Coco coir has become the media of choice amongst Australian growers over the past 5 years. On a recent trip around Australia I was surprised to learn of the volumes of coir that retailers are now selling, with many (most) retailers telling me that coco coir now typically represents at least half, or more, of their media sales. This speaks volumes about the humble coir because much of its' ascending star has been driven by consumer choice and (hence) demand. Positives Occasionally I get onto websites and discuss coir with novice growers. The way I explain it to them is that coir represents the best of soil and hydro in a single media. While this is a simplistic method of describing coirs unique properties, it is also an effective way to help growers understand the media's natural buffering qualities, natural root zone preservation qualities and the ability to provide optimized nutrition via hydroponic technologies. To me, this makes coir the ideal media for novices who often grow in less than ideal environments. That is, coco coir, more so than any other media is extremely forgiving. pH Buffering Coco coir buffers at between pH 5.5 and 6.5. This means the media helps to maintain optimum root zone pH (resulting in optimum nutrient uptake). Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) Coir has a high cation exchange capacity. Cation exchange capacity refers a medias ability to exchange cations between mineral and organic matter and the plants roots. Cations are positively charged elements such as calcium (Ca++), magnesium (Mg++), and potassium (K+). Cations are held by negatively charged particles called colloids. The defining feature of colloids is that the particles are small and consequently the total surface area is huge. For this reason the negatively charged colloids are capable of holding enormous quantities of positively charged cations. As plant roots uptake cations, other cations in the nutrient replace them on the colloid. If there is a concentration of one particular cation in the media, other cations will force them off the colloid and take their place. This means that a mineral balance is maintained in coir and these minerals are readily available for uptake. Root Zone Health Coco coir provides excellent insulation. This means that coco coir isn't as prone to overheating, due to excessive ambient air temperatures, as many other mediums (making it ideal for warm geographical zones). This is because water tends to make its way into the lower regions of the coco coir, leaving the top layer dry. Because of this, heat needs to penetrate a drier top layer of coco coir before reaching the watered areas of the media. As water is a great conductor of energy (in the form of heat) the lower wet area being protected by a drier surface helps keep the lower areas of the media, where the bulk of the root mass is found, cooler. As media temperature and oxygen levels are interrelated (the warmer the media, the less oxygen) this insulation plays an important role in promoting root health. Compare coco coir to rockwool, another run–to-waste media. There are some significant differences in moisture distribution and media insulation qualities. Rockwool tends to become evenly saturated. Water, thus, distributes evenly from top to bottom, leaving the rockwool, typically, very damp. This means that heat can travel throughout the media (dry rockwool is an excellent insulator; it is simply that water conducts heat). When the ambient air temperature is excessively warm, so too is the media. Depending on the extent of this problem (too warm – not enough oxygen), oxygen availability to the root zone can become dangerously low. As I've already pointed out, coco coir tends not to do this. Water displaces from the surface of the media and moves into the lower regions. Because of this the media generally remains significantly cooler around the root zone of the plant. Secondly, coco coir contains natural rooting compounds, in the form of potassium (electrolytes) and phosphorous (enzyme function/sugar production). Both potassium and phosphorous stimulate root growth and development. Thirdly, coco coir has excellent air filled ‘porosity' – the term used for the levels of oxygen availability (critical for transpiration) in the media. This is due to the large surface area of coco coir particles. As oxygen plays an all-important role in respiration (roots pumping nutrient to the plant) this factor further promotes root and (hence) plant health. What all of these factors add up to is that coco coir provides a sound environment for the plant's root zone. This factor should not be underestimated because healthy roots invariably lead to a healthy plant (and a healthy yield). The Fundamentals of Coir (the good, the bad, and the ugly) The coconut palm, unlike many other plants', is a salt tolerant plant. What happens with salt tolerant plants' is that they uptake salt and displace it to areas of the plant where the salt can do the least harm. In the case of the coconut palm the salt is displaced to the coir – the very thing that we use as a growing media. This means coir can contain high levels of salt (sodium chloride), something which can prove toxic to many/most plants. On top of this coir contains large amounts of potassium and quantities of other elements. What this means is that coir requires special treatment to ensure a premium quality hydroponic media product is supplied to the end user. Analysis of Coco Coir Sample S 1978 P 126 K (Potassium) 3700* Na (Sodium) 2022 * Ca 119 Mg 104 Cu Zn 3.2 Mn 3.8 Fe 12.2 B 7 Cl (Chloride) 3498* All figures refer to parts per million (ppm). Above, is an analysis of one batch of hydrated coco coir. It is easy to see that coco coir contains varying levels of micro and macro elements. The most significant elements in the analysis are the high potassium levels and the extremely high sodium and chloride levels (sodium chloride = salt). Potassium competes with magnesium and calcium while sodium competes with potassium for uptake. Furthermore, sodium chloride can be highly toxic to certain species of plants; even in relatively low levels, sodium chloride can have devastating effects on root health and development. For instance, this batch of coco coir caused phytotoxicity (yellowing of leaves, rusting/burning, sick plants etc) when trialled under controlled conditions next to another product that performed well. Source of Material Coir derived from palms that are grown 50kms inland will have far less sodium chloride present than coir that is derived from palms that are grown close to the sea. That is, less sodium chloride present in the soil results in less sodium chloride in the coir. The origin of the coir is an important factor in determining the quality of the end product. Flushing and Buffering In order to prepare the raw coir product for use it is necessary to flush plentiful amounts of water through the product to wash out impurities (including sodium chloride). Premium grade coir is then buffered with various elements to prepare the coir for use. This requires flushing the coir with mineral elements in order to compensate for potentially problematic levels of sodium chloride and potassium (and other elements where required). For instance, Iron is sometimes used to offset sodium chloride while magnesium and calcium is used to compensate for the naturally present, often high levels of potassium and phosphorous (While potassium and phosphorous are naturally used by plants and are beneficial elements, extreme levels of these elements can result in imbalanced nutrition and mineral element lockout). Typically, most suppliers of hydrated coir only flush the media and do not buffer it. This can prove detrimental to plant vigor and health, particularly in early growth. Symptoms of toxicity include: • Rusting (particularly on leaf edges) • Yellowing • Slow stunted growth • Mineral deficiencies (due to uptake problems) • Purpling of stem Treatment/Age of Raw Product Coco coir has a shelf life where optimum performance is concerned (due to organic decomposition factors). Ideally the raw coir used in hydroponic medias should be less than two years old. Older coir is difficult to manage and will not last as long as newer coir. Tips for using Coir Run-to-waste regime After many years of experimenting in coir, both in indoor and outdoor settings, with various crops I have found that running a 25% - 30% waste regime is the most user friendly means of growing in coir. The 25 – 30% waste regime ensures that salt buildup in the media is kept to a minimum, and means flushing is typically never required; the agricultural standard being a 30% waste regime with the runoff being no more than 0.4EC higher than the original nutrient feed. EC can be tested in the runoff and be compared to the nutrient EC. Air Porosity Typically, the bagged (hydrated) coir products sold via hydroponic outlets consists of fine particles and coir dust. While this means excellent fluid retention, it also means less than ideal air porosity in the media. Adding Perlite to the media will increase air porosity. A 60% coir to 40% Perlite mix being ideal (50/50 is also OK). Another means of increasing air porosity is by mixing larger coir particles into the coir fines/dust, thus lifting the media and achieving a similar effect to a coir/perlite mix. pH Ideally, the nutrient should be maintained at between 6.1 (grow) and 6.3 (bloom). pH cannot be measured in the runoff. Ie. The runoff does not accurately reflect what is happening within the coir where pH is concerned. To test the pH of coir, take a sample of the coir from the root zone and add 1 part of coir to 5 parts of distilled water, shake and measure pH. Dealing With Sciaridae (Scarid Fly) Perhaps one of the most complained about aspects of using coir is its affinity to Sciaridae (Scarid Fly). Sciaridae are attracted to organic and decomposing matter. This means coir (which is organic and decomposes) tends to attract Sciaridae. No Biggie… They are easy to deal with! Chemical Drench Options: Active = Permethrin 50% (Brand name Axe etc; Group 3A insecticide; available through Ag suppliers in 1ltr quantities) Permethrin is non-systemic and therefore leaves no residue in the plant when used as a drench. Use at 2ml to 10ltr and water into media. Flush with pH adjusted solution after 2 hours. Active = Diazonon (Organophosphate*) Diazonon is commonly used in the floriculture industry for eradication of fungus gnats. Application rates of 2ml – 6ml to 10ltr are used for this purpose. Diazonon can be found in various products (eg. Hortico Lawn Grub and Insect Killer etc). Treat a few plants first to test for Phytotoxicity. Lorsban (Organophosphate*) Lorsban can be used to eradicate Scarid Fly. Use at 1 - 2ml/10ltr. Treat a few plants first to test for Phytotoxicity. Please Note: With all chemical pesticides HANDLE WITH CARE, KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN, and READ MANUFACTURER WARNINGS. Biological options such as predatory nematodes and mites are an extremely effective means in which to control Sciaridae. Hypoaspis is a small aggressive mite that inhabits the upper layer of the media. Steinernema feltiae is a nematode that quickly controls Sciaridae larvae numbers. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis: GnatrolTM is a product that is sold in many countries for the control of Scarid Fly. Unfortunately it is not available in Australia. However, ‘Vectobac', which is made by the same company (Valent Biosciences) is available through some pest control suppliers. Both Gnatrol and Vectobac contain Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Yellow sticky traps (A must have in any grow room) hung at media height will trap the adult Sciaridae. This will help reduce numbers. More importantly it will allow growers to monitor whether Sciaridae are present in their growing environment (amongst other things). Why B'cuzz Coir Source Atami B'cuzz has a joint partnership with a major coir producer in Sri Lanka. Atami ships compressed coir to the Netherlands where it undergoes rigid batch testing and treatment. Because Atami owns its own facility in Sri Lanka they are able to guarantee the quality of the original untreated/raw product (age and origin). Atami coir is sourced from coir that is grown 50km's (or more) inland from the coast meaning the original coir source is low in sodium chloride. Furthermore, the coir is under two years old which means the coirs composition is ideal for use as a hydroponic media. Treatment Atami utilizes a unique steaming and buffering process for the coir at its facilities in the Netherlands and then ships it around the world. Atami is the only company in the world that uses this steaming process to flush impurities from the media. In this process, the coir is initially saturated with calcium and magnesium solutions. After this, the coir is steamed to 900 C and then flushed with large amounts of water; the combination of these two processes ensures that impurities are efficiently and effectively flushed from the media. After this B'cuzz coir is lightly fertilized to achieve optimized nutritional balance within the media. Air Porosity There are two methods used for measuring Air Filled Porosity (AFP) in the coir. These are: The European EN-method: Loose coir (no compression) is saturated with water and allowed free drainage for 24hrs. AFP is then measured. Atami coir measures at 35 – 40% AFP under this method. The Dutch BLGG method: Coir is slightly compressed in a container and saturated with water where it is then allowed free drainage for 24hrs. Atami coir measures at 20 – 25% AFP under this method. The final product comes with an RHP European quality assurance standard. Because of Atami's rigid standards, B'cuzz coir is one of the two largest selling coirs in the European retail hydroponics market.
  2. holy sh!t I need a book mark whats the point to this post? do you work for bcuzz?
    lots of good info thou. but just a tad long.
  3. Salesmen, get out of here. We buy products on real reviews, personal experience, not someone cut and pasting a manuscript

    EDIT: I didnt read a line in that novel.....

  4. I saw there were no paragraph breaks and paid this post not one mind.
  5. Good read on the Coir State of the Union.

    It is a medium to be respected.

    did not know about the "25% - 30% waste regime", that could point someone in the right direction as far as run off reservoirs.

    the only real pain in the ass that comes to mind is the flushing before use then the drying so that it may be charged properly. I could be way off base though..
  6. no i dont work for anybody i posted this because i grow in coco
    if u read and pay attention i will point out that the key point is coco coir is salty.
    its loaded with potasium, sodium chloride, and among others things i have discovered many problems throughout my grows.
    point number one. yellowing leaves dropping turning brown here there everywhere.
    strange things happening but never able to figure out why.
    if you dont buy the right kind of coco, and u didnt know you have to wash the piss out of the coco before you ph and charge the coir with cal mag and nutes, u will discover problems you didnt understand
    im no salesman, just found out that coco coir has a problem with toxicity and mag cal nitro phos potash sulfur iron among the main molecules transferring to your plant for uptake BECOME LOCKED OUT AND TURN TO SODIUM AT TOXIC LEVELS.......................
    so you flush, and flush and flush or you supplement and supplement, yadda yadda and NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY THINGS HAPPEN AND WHAT MAKES YOUR PLANTS SICK AND YOU GO CRAZY TRYING TO UNDERSTAND OR YOU GIVE UP AND QUIT GROWING.
    nobody likes to look at sick plants guys!!!
    im a beginner too! just want to help spread the word on what and why things go wrong with coco grows
  7. I have a question that hopefully someone like P&C could answer.

    Have you thoughts using zeolite or diatomeous earth with coir?
  8. mmmm, not yet, but im letting a trial run of well used coco that ive been having problems with im trying to re ammend with hygrozyme, mighty crobes and i just added 100& compost
    im calling it cocopost!
    well see what it does, ive never used anything but pure coco, see how she does
  9. #9 thesage3, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2011

    what about botanicare coco? and have you tried to amend with dolomite lime?
    one more thing In your riducluously long post you stated to take ph of coco 1 to 5 ratio .my millwakee ph meter came with a book and it says the ratio is 2 to 1 2 parts medium 1 part distilled water. which ones correct? where did you get ur info?

  10. i read this while i was searching for reasons on why my ak 47 plants were looking soo bad same with my blue dream, even my bubba kush was looking kinda sad. i bought brand new coco coir from hydrofarm said all i had to do was soak brick in 7 gallons of water. i tried their method, and my plants damn near died.
    since reading and investigating why, i now have beautiful plants, very healthy looking, and no i have never used dolomite lime. if u break the buffer, u dont need lime
    all i do now is add 1 tablespoon of earth juice sugar peak grow, 1 teaspoon cal mag plus 1 teaspoon of flora nectar and every 3rd or so i add 1 teaspoon hygrozyme and 1 tablespoon of b1 starter per gallon. i now feed everyday with every watering.......
    my plants are huge and look awesome!
  11. off topic, but... i just linked to this thread in the sickplantsthread 5 min. ago

  12. Omg dude, that felt like reading one continuous run on sentence. Good information but some spaces would make it ten times more appeasing to the eye.
  13. #13 mpulse, Apr 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2011
    Yeah man thats pretty long, jesus.. My a.d.d. wont let me read that much like that..
    Break it up in paragraphs so its easier... :wave:

    Anyhoo... One thing about coco is yeah it can retain salt.. (so im told) I flush every week, (soon to be 2weeks) to flush out any salt build up.
    Nutes come from some kind of salt, so yeah it makes it that much worse...
    Flushing helps... Just sayin...

    Im still a noob. But when I flushed my Ready Grow for the 1st time. I noticed a difference. I flush using clearex now..
  14. tldr

    I think people kind of already know about coco coir though. I mean, there's a whole section of the site dedicated to growing in it.
  15. lol you might think your getting a nobel peace prize for the discovery of how coco works.First off i stay wary or listing to peoples advice at hydro shops and whatever a company says.Becuase the company says all you have to do is soak your coco to break apart the bricks...no flushing needed bc we already flush it...uh no you def have to flush the coco..but not crazy like ppl do with soil when they flush like a 3 gal pot with like 32 gallons of water HAHA.

    I break the brick apart by soaking it in a tupperware then i throw it on the pavement and rinse the shit out of it for like 5 min with the hose..then i put them in 1 gal pots and use 1 tablspoon each of dol lime,marine cuisine,and a veg bat guano.your not using the lime for a balance or buffer..your using it for calcium and magnesium bc the plants use it up like a muther in coco.thats what ppl dont get.

    THen i charge,small flush the coco in the 1 gal pots and plant my seed.i use about 1/4 gal for 1 gal pots until water drains out for a lil.Then the coco is ready to go and i can feed every watering for the month of veg.In late veg a flush out the veg nutes...put em in flower and transplant into 3 gal pots...Minus the Marince cuisine bc its too high of N.and i use a flower guano in my flowering pots and dont forget the DOL LIME!!After i transplant to 3 gal pots i flush with 1 gal of water with flower nutes to charge.then their good to go.i then flush 2 or 3 times throughout flower so the saltbuild up and the nutes in the medium dont get build up.

    They do also have products that turn salts in the coco to food and supply benefical bacteria.YOu just got to research.the product is SOS by strata international.theres a long reply for your long pots..but notice the paragraph breaks lol.
  16. #16 Lovecraftknew, Apr 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2011
    I fucking HAD to do this (the info is worth reading but posted in an unreadable format):

  17. What?!? No Pictures?!? Fuck this.

    :p I kid, this is much less of an eye strain. Thanks for taking the time to break this apart. Lots of good info that has currently helped me in my first grow and some things I wish I knew before hand.
  18. Let me know when the movie of this is coming out. I WILL WATCH THE SHIT OUT OF THAT MOVIE!!!
  19. its in production should be out late summer watch for trailer. lol
  20. what do your guys think of a Zeolite and Potting Soil Mix?

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