Drip Irrigation and RedRock Stonewool- A Dynamic Duo
In the commercial horticulture industry, one of the most popular methods of plant cultivation is through a hydroponic system. This is due to the excellent properties of the hydroponic systems regardless of style and design, that sets it above the traditional methods of plant cultivation. Hydroponic systems are known for their abilities to grow high quality crops with greater yields than traditional methods. Hydroponics hold versatility, conservation of resources such as nutrients and water, and the improvement of quality and yield of crops. In the hydroponic system, there are several options open to the grower to be used as a media or housing for plants. These range from coco coir, stone, clay, and stonewool. Of these choices, the number one choice is stonewool due to its many benefits and ability to easily integrate into any system with ease.
What is Stonewool?
Stonewool is a natural product that is the result of basalt rock that is melted and then spun into thin threads. These threads are then molded into shapes that can be used for growing during all stages of a plant’s life cycle. Contrary to popular belief, this rock material is very light weight and easy to use. With the way the fibers are woven together and stacked, this material has many shapes, sizes, and properties. These properties range from aeration, moisture control, and moisture retention in crops. Through direct modification of the density and weaving of the fibers, the stonewool products have specific applications.
Stonewool has many advantages that make it the ideal media for hydroponics and drip line applications. This material is naturally sterile and completely free from pathogens such as insects, disease, and seeds of unwanted plants that other media may stow away, Branded material such as Red Rock Grow Block have set standards and can be trusted by all growers in the commercial horticulture industry. These blocks resist decomposition and can be trusted to not degrade in the systems and can be used for multiple growing seasons. The material is also manufactured in order to give the best possible moisture and aeration levels in the root zone which directly translates to happy and healthy roots and plants.
Drip Irrigation and Stonewool
In the commercial industry, the concept of precision applications is becoming the main focus. In traditional hydroponic systems, there is a flood system in place and a trough. The system pumps water on a schedule through the system. This is good, however, it isn’t very precise. It may lead to loss of water or stress on the plants in the event of the environment changing around the plants requiring water throughout the day at different times and quantities. Not meeting these needs swiftly will result in stressed plants. Prolonged stress will directly impact quality and quantity of yields. Drip irrigation is the precise application in a constant drip method directly into the root zone.
With stonewool and its ability to maintain proper levels, drip irrigation provides the ideal water amounts at all times. This lessens the chance of water stress in plants. One aspect of plant stress that is sometimes overlooked especially with a stonewool system is the over-watering of plants. With drip irrigation, the water is applied at a constant slow drip that allows the material to drain and keep the root zone at optimum levels.
Just like with other watering systems, drip irrigation will need to be monitored in water content, EC, and temperature of the stonewool material to ensure proper water levels and fertilizer applications. One should remember that this is no different than other growing media, as proper monitoring is essential in knowing the specific needs of a crop throughout all stages of the growth cycle.
The use of stonewool and drip irrigation together is truly a perfect match. With precise applications, steady, but slow water application, and the ability of the stonewool to provide a stable growing environment for the root zone, it should be no surprise that drop irrigation is the go to choice for hydroponic systems and stonewool. A grower should research the specific crop needs and gauge goals to ensure that the commercial operation can truly benefit from this perfect match.
Give RedRock Block a call today for wholesale pricing on premium-grade stonewool grow media for large-scale cannabis growers!