Frequently Asked Questions - Agricultural

Frequently Asked Questions
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  1. How does water treated with CALCLEAR make plants grow better?
  2. How do the CALCLEAR units work to lower the incidence of tipburn in hydroponically grown lettuce?
  3. If tipburn is caused by low levels of calcium in the leaf margins, then why can't I just increase the levels of calcium in the nutrient solution to prevent tipburn?
  4. What plant processes do the CALCLEAR units positively effect?
  5. Will the CALCLEAR units affect other hydroponic crops in a beneficial manner?
  6. Do the units change the composition of the nutrient solution?
  7. Will I need to change the way I monitor and adjust the nutrient solution conductivity and pH?
  8. Where is the best place to install the CALCLEAR Water Conditioner?

How does water treated with CALCLEAR make plants grow better?

This question is best answered by reading the research published by Dr Lynette Morgan and Simon Lennard of SUNTEC, a copy of which is included on this website. In simple terms we change large mineral crystals, which are too big for the plants plumbing system (its xylem), into tiny mineral particles that the plants can easily take up and translocate. This is particularly true of calcium. There may also be a physical blocking of the xylem by mineral crystals which also bind up essential nutrients and prevent them getting to where they are needed. In CALCLEAR treated water the mineral particles are so small that they can easily pass through the plants tiny capillaries and simultaneously flush out any debris. In short we just make the minerals more palatable, pack in the calcium and promoted healthy cell development.

 

How do the CALCLEAR units work to lower the incidence of tipburn in hydroponically grown lettuce?

Tipburn is a browning and drying of the leaf margins, which often occurs as the heads reach harvest. This disorder is a calcium transport problem within the plant and occurs when the foliage is losing water into the air faster than the roots can take it up or, in high humidity and low water loss conditions when the transpiration stream in which the calcium is transported becomes restricted.

The CALCLEAR units can lower the severity and incidence of tipburn by having a beneficial effect on xylem conductance. The xylem are the vessels within the plants which carry the water and dissolved calcium to the leaf tips. This also resulted in higher levels of foliar calcium in the heads at the time of harvest in plants treated with the CALCLEAR units compared to the untreated control plants. The CALCLEAR units not only improve uptake and transport of calcium, but they also seem to improve its utilisation in plant cell development.

 

If tipburn is caused by low levels of calcium in the leaf margins, then why can't I just increase the levels of calcium in the nutrient solution to prevent tipburn?

The problem with tipburn is that the physiological disorder caused by low levels of calcium in the leaf tips, but this is not the result of a lack of calcium in the nutrient solution. Increasing the calcium, if it is already present in adequate quantities in the nutrient solution will have no effect if tipburn is occurring as environmental and internal plant conditions are what causes the problem. It is the rate of transport of calcium through the xylem tissue conductance has been found in the plants grown with the CALCLEAR units, so this is what causes the lower tipburn incidence in crops treated with the conditioner units.

 

What plant processes do the CALCLEAR units positively effect?

The evidence suggests that the CALCLEAR units act to enhance xylem conductance, thus allowing the plants to transpire more effectively and therefore moving more Calcium into the leaf tips. There is also some evidence to suggest that the units can positively influence plant metabolism and they have been shown to reduce the bitter flavour component of lettuce leaves. The CALCLEAR conditioner treated solution may work to some extent to reduce the polymerisation of glucose molecules into starch crystals, allowing a higher concentration of free sugars within the plant cells, therefore giving a better taste. Trials are currently underway to test this effect on tomato fruit with both compositional and sensory evaluation.

 

Will the CALCLEAR units affect other hydroponic crops in a beneficial manner?

Since trials on lettuce have proven that the CALCLEAR units increase conductance through the xylem and have the effect of raising the calcium levels in plant tissue with plants under stress, it is quite likely that the other crops may benefit in the same way. There are many calcium related disorders such as blossom end rot of tomatoes and peppers and bitter pit apples which may respond to treatment with a CALCLEAR unit. There may also be colour, yield, shelf life and flavour advantages to having nutrient solutions treated with a CALCLEAR unit and trials are currently underway to quantify the benefits of the water conditioners on other plant species.

 

Do the units change the composition of the nutrient solution?

No, the CALCLEAR unit will not change the amount of nutrient ions in your solution so you do not have to worry about adjusting your nutrient formula. What the conditioner units do is to prevent some of the salts in the solution from clumping together and forming crystals, which would normally make them more difficult for the plant roots to take up. The strong flux field which the units generate in the nutrient supply pipe modifies the calcium carbonate crystal nuclei in particular. Thus when the nutrients are unable to form crystalline salts with other elements they may also be prevented from forming crystalline structures within the xylem allowing the plant to transpire more effectively.

 

Will I need to change the way I monitor and adjust the nutrient solution conductivity and pH?

No, the CALCLEAR units will not cause drastic changes in pH and CF and you can carry on your normal monitoring and adjustment as usual.

 

Where is the best place to install the CALCLEAR Water Conditioner?

The CALCLEAR unit is attached to the outside of your flow pipes and does not need to be plumbed in. For best operation, precise fitting of the antennae is essential for optimum results and fitted on the flow pipe to the hydroponic beds being treated. This should be fitted at least one metre away from the pump or strong electro-magnetic fields. Like all electronic equipment it must be protected from the weather.

 

For further questions, call (02) 9977 8801, fax (02) 9977 8805 or email info@calclear.com.au