EC and Electrolytes in general

sirsedumSeptember 30, 2009

Hello all,

First time on here in a long time. I am currently working at a large scale greenhouse and we are dealing mostly in water plants and sedum. My question today is concerning the water plants. All of our water plants are potted in 100% Florida peat, and I just finished taking EC readings for the entire inventory and came up with some crazy numbers any were from 200 ppm to 2.3 ppt. I just completed a test where I took a fresh pot of peat(no plant and no water) and tested it, and got a reading of about 50 something ppm. I tested the water and got a reading of about 120ppm, I drenched the pot of peat with our regular water and tested it about a min later and got a reading for over 500 ppm. Im trying to determine what a save range of Electrolytes might be. I understand the basic concept of Electrolytes help with the rigidity of stems and leaves by forcing water into the plant, and creating pressure. At what point to the EC levels become dangerous, and short of flushing our entire stock with water for hours, is there anything else I can do to help. Is this even a problem. All knowledgeable answers welcome.

P.S. I am currently using the Field Scout CE110 from Spectrum Tech, I calibrated it yesterday.

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taxonomist(7b VA)

Please tell all of us dummies what is meant by EC? As an addendum; I hope you do not pronounce Sedum as seedum. The correct pronouncion would rhyme with bed. Thus say BEDUM transposed to SEDUM.
Where does one purchase Florida peat?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 7:01PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Tax,

EC = electroconductivity

What do these bizarre comments about how to pronounce sedum have to do with anything?

"Florida peat" is available through a number of sources. A quick Google search will identify potential sources for you.

------------------------

Sirsedum,

I don't know what's gotten into Taxonomist. He must have been up all night studying genomes or something and just went completely nuts. (Hope I pronounced nuts alright. LOL)

Sorry I can't be of any help with your electrolyte concerns.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 9:49AM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Someone once tried to convince me that the correct pronunciation of Pinus was Peen-us rather than Pine-us. If this isn't wrong I don't want to be right.

I have grown aquatic plants for years but never measured EC, so I can't help you there. Is Florida peat a sphagnum peat or sedge peat? I've always potted my lilies and marginals in plain old garden soil with no problems, but these were mostly plants common in trade.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 12:06PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

ROFLMBO, If I get the nerve, I'll have to try to play that trick on someone sometime. LOL

Florida peat is generally sedge peat.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 3:58PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

You guys are all crazy!!! I have heard so many persons pronounce SEDUM incorrectly that it has become a sensitive issue with me. And,YES, Pinus is correctly pronounced as PEENUS (CLASSICAL OR BOTANICAL LATIN)
I believe almost any decent publication relating to hydroponics will offer insight on EC.I have a gut feeling that your state's agricultural school will also have the information you require. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:56PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

PÄ«-nus - Scientific Names of Plants: How to Say Them and What They Mean, Mark Garland, Division of Plant Industry, FL Dept. of Ag. and Consumer Services

PIE-nus - Latin for Gardeners: a Brief Pronunciation Guide, Phil Peters

I also checked multiple on-line dictionaries. All agreed on the long i sound. As a matter of fact, I couldn't find even a single case where the ee sound was recommended. Tax, if you are correct, pretty much the entire rest of the world is wrong!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 10:51AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

\ËsÄ-dÉm\ - Webster's

[sÄdÉm] - Encarta

Multiple other sources also indicate pronunciation with the long Ä sound. I've heard it pronounced as Tax suggests, but that way definitely seems to be an alternate pronunciation rather than the normal/accepted way.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 11:35AM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Pronunciation probably varies by region. I wouldn't doubt that reconstructed phonology of Classical Latin is as taxonomist describes, but Botanical Latin is functionally a written language only. Many scientific names include characters and conventions that do not occur in Classical Latin.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 1:29PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I took Latin for two years and can't think of any reason to pronounce the names as Tax suggests. That doesn't mean he's incorrect, but we'd certainly need proof with all the evidence pointing to the contrary.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 4:47PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

Here's more trivia from taxonomist!!!Horticulturist and gardeners and catholic priests usually pronounce Latin incorrectly: check with a local Latin teacher either at HS or college level. As long a the correct thought or information is conveyed, pronouncion is secondary. I happen to appreciate correct pronounciation otherwise, it's just plain silly!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 7:23PM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

sirsedum, sorry to prolong the agony but pronunciation is driven by popular usage eg "I say tomato" vs."You say tomato". Latin as was taught by Jesuit priests half a century ago set forever my own pronunciation of the scientific names of plants and animals. This was further reinforced soon after because I had to write the scientific names for plants in reports to bosses - one of whom insisted that the two words be underlined separately! To this day I have my personal pronunciation eg Vinca is pronounced as if the first letter is "W". The generic for the chinese evergreens has five syllables and the specific for the "ZZ" has six. This helps me to spell the words correctly. But when I say these names out loud I use the pronunciation that the listener/hearer is familiar with.
Because what does it profit person to become erudite if he cannot make himself understood?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 7:33AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Tax,

I'm not sure if you just have a very strange (at least to me) sense of humor or I just totally misunderstand you. You took time to lecture Sirsedum just a few days ago, but now say it's of "secondary" importance? I guess it doesn't matter, but the whole discussion seems a little silly to me.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 11:44AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

... check with a local Latin teacher ...

giggle, giggle

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 11:07AM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

This interplay of words and concepts has gotten out of hand! Let's just let rest.For those who have studied Latin at any level, consider this. The Latin for the word BUT is SED. How do you pronounce it?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 6:57PM
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justaguy2(5)

Im trying to determine what a save range of Electrolytes might be. I understand the basic concept of Electrolytes help with the rigidity of stems and leaves by forcing water into the plant, and creating pressure. At what point to the EC levels become dangerous, and short of flushing our entire stock with water for hours, is there anything else I can do to help. Is this even a problem. All knowledgeable answers welcome.

Sorry to interupt this thread by replying to the original poster ;)

I also would like to know more about the point at which EC becomes a problem.

Having admitted I don't know the precise point I thought I would offer a bit more explanation of the problem and provide an anecdotal observation.

First, the anecdotal observation. My tap water which I use to irrigate all my plants has a TDS of 440ish. It's very hard water. I have not observed any problems related to water uptake/turgidity from this even with nutrients added raising the TDS/EC much higher. IOW I think you are safe if the highest your readings ever go is to the 500s.

Now for the explanation of the problem. For water to enter plant cells (roots) the salt concentration inside the plant has to be higher than the salt concentration in the solution around those roots. If this is the case water is pulled into the plant. Unfortunately as the salt concentration around the roots rises, it becomes more difficult for water to be pulled/sucked into the plant.

The potential problem then is that as EC/TDS numbers climb the plant may be unable to pull in water at the same rate it is losing it via transpiration. This would lead to loss of turgidity(wilting), but can also lead to nutrient mobility problems such as with calcium before loss of turgidity is noticed leading to abnormal new growth.

If you are not noticing any problems with the plants you are responsible for then the EC/TDS is probably not an area you need to be concerned about. If you are noticing problems then it *might* be.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 11:21AM
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justaguy2(5)

I did a little research and I think I may have a rough answer to the question of at what point the EC becomes a problem.

The short answer is around 2500 EC/TDS. It's a simplistic answer because we are talking about the solution in soil. As the moisture levels drop the EC of the remaining water goes up. Also, a plant in environmental conditions resulting in low transpiration levels won't get stressed as quickly as a plant enduring high respiration levels.

Anyway, I came up with this 2500 number as follows:

According to source A saline soil is defined as having a high concentration of soluble salts, high enough to affect plant growth. Salt concentration in a soil is measured in terms of its electrical conductivity, as described in the section below on measurements. The USDA Salinity Laboratory defines a saline soil as having an ECe of 4 dS/m or more.

According to source:

A fair way to calculate TDS from dS/m for purposes of water testing is TDS (mg/l) = 640 x EC (ds/m). So 640x4=2560.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 12:00PM
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justaguy2(5)

in case there is any confusion, ppm (the way you are measuring TDS/EC) is the same as mg/l when applied to dilute solutions which we are ;)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 12:09PM
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