Aerating Hydro Systems & Increasing Dissolved Oxygen
One of the key factors to the supercharged plant development observed in active water culture systems is optimal RDWC aeration in the rhizosphere. Recirculating Deep Water Culture systems that are designed and assembled for sustaining higher DO (dissolved oxygen) levels in the rootzone can take crops to next level growth rates, plant health and yields; while using a fraction of the water and nutrients versus conventional growing methods or even when compare to static hydro systems.
How RDWC Aeration Decreases Fertilizer Use
Let’s face it. Growers want to use less fertilizer to reduce operating expenses and improve sustainability. Of further benefit is that plants that are amped on oxygen while using less fertilizer tend to be healthier and yield better tasting and smelling flowers and fruits–ie people prefer to experience the plant genetics rather than nutrients in the final harvest.
When aeration levels, dissolved oxygen and nutrient solution flow rates are in harmony for the hydroponic system, plants become supercharged and actually perform better with reduced fertilizer levels–requiring only 25 to 50% of the EC or PPM in nutrient values versus conventional crop feeding. This isn’t to say that the plants are not taking in as many nutrients. In fact, they are using the fertilizers added more efficiently when the root zone is optimized with RDWC aeration, elevated DO levels and good flow rates.
For contrast, in conventional hydroponic or water culture systems where roots don’t have access to good oxygen levels more fertilizer is needed to achieve adequate plant nutrition. It’s kind of like turning up the radio louder when the signal reception is poor.
Methods for Improving RDWC Aeration & Elevating DO Levels in Systems
Almost every grower is aware of the benefits of “bubbling” hydroponic nutrient solution with air pumps, regenerative blowers or venturi valves or injectors. Current Culture H2O has performed testing and trials in this area for many years and developed an affordable and effective way to control and measure the level of air delivered to your aeration system via air pumps called an AIR FLOW REGULATOR. The device measures aeration levels in Inches of Water Column. A value of 25-35 IWC Inches of Water Column creates the right balance of aeration, putting crop roots in the powerband of nutrient absorption rates using lower fertilizer levels.
Nutrient Solution Flow & Circulation
Bruce Lee understood the power of water. Really, and to quote:
“… be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
A nutrient solution can do more than just supply fertilizer to the roots. A well-designed RDWC or Aeroponics system can stimulate roots with flow and movement, massaging oxygen and essential nutrients through all parts of the roots to potentiate higher absorption rates and keep root membranes healthy and fresh.
Additionally, the movement and falling water of active nutrient solution circulation draws air into the system and delivers higher DO rates to roots. Naturally, having a well-stirred nutrient solution also keeps TDS and pH homogenous, top to bottom in the system and roots therein.
More Contact Surface Area
The greater the surface area that comes into contact with roots containing moisture, oxygen, and nutrients, the greater the potential rate of absorption is for water, minerals, and oxygen to fuel crop development. RDWC systems tend to use a good depth of solution, so there is lots of surface area to make contact with lots of roots on a per plant basis. Aeroponics affords astounding surface area volumes within a given cubic space, as sprays have a huge surface area versus a depth of solution.
RDWC Aeration, Oxygen Therapy for Plants
A lot of crop diseases can ultimately be traced back to anaerobic conditions at the roots. Anaerobic conditions (lack of oxygen) not only impede water and mineral absorption, they also reduce plant health and vigor. Besides the potential for obvious issues directly related to poor health at the roots like root rot, plants with roots at low oxygen levels grow slower and aren’t as strong or resilient. Crop pests prefer to attack weaker hosts. The same is true with foliar diseases like powdery mildew. Healthy plants are not favored by pests and diseases as they are harder to infect and gain a foothold on–remember crops have evolutionary mechanisms to fight off problems. Conversely, pests and pathogens have evolved to find easy prey. When healthy, a plant’s natural genetic resistance to common pest or disease issues can function at higher levels.