Dissolved oxygen (DO) does many things for your plant. It is a critical but often overlooked piece that helps plants uptake nutrients through the roots. Dissolved oxygen is the mechanism that allows the nutrients to be absorbed through the root membrane. "Without sufficient levels of DO, there will be no growth. It is proven that higher levels of DO help prevent “lockout” which is when your plant is getting enough water/nutrients, but not absorbing it.", says Dennis Clark with O2 Grow.
pH, TDS and EC
Dennis explains why a DO meter is an important measuring device that every grower should have. "Most growers already have pH, TDS and EC meters, but not many have a DO meter. A quality DO meter is about the only way for a grower to know if the nutrient water has enough dissolved oxygen."
DO is typically measured in either mg/L or ppm. "Most plants need a DO level of about 6 ppm to grow, some water sources such as well water can have readings as low as 2 ppm. University trials have proven that DO levels above 10 ppm will drive enhanced growth, with a better more robust root system that supports more flowering sites on each plant."
A healthier root system also enables the plant to stave off disease and other ailments common with low DO. "University of Minnesota studies revealed as much as a 30% increase in the number of peppers in a controlled study. Other studies conducted by the University of Wisconsin reported a significant increase in root mass and yield for Crown Peas grown in Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). Also noted, was the enhanced green leaf growth. The plants were simply fuller, healthier and more produced more flowering sites."
The Oxygen Research Group has introduced a product called the O2 Grow. The O2 Grow units deliver supplemental oxygen to nutrient water via the process of electrolysis. "This process converts water molecules into nano bubbles of oxygen gas", Dennis shows.
The tiny bubbles are too small to break the surface tension of the water and are therefore absorbed back into the water. "This process will saturate the nutrient water with as much dissolved oxygen as the water can hold. When measured with a DO meter, water at 20 degrees Celsius can hold as much as 14-16 ppm of oxygen. The O2 Grow units will quickly and efficiently saturate the water to the maximum amount of oxygen the water can hold."
The O2 Grow units require very little energy to operate. They are adapted to run off of a battery source which means they can be run in a field setting or off of a solar grid. "The units are quiet and compact", Dennis shows. "Units are designed to fit a specific nutrient reservoir size based on gallons of water used to water plants from as small as 10 gallons up to 250 gallons. Simply place the emitters into your nutrient water and switch the unit on. Since the units do not need to be run continuously to maintain the higher DO levels, some growers find it easier to set up the units on a timer so nutrient water is ready to go when they need it."
The O2 Grow units can be used for both hydroponic and soil based methods of growing as well as in both indoor and outdoor environments. The units are sized based on the number of gallons/litres of water that the grower will be oxygenating. Units range from 10 gallons (37.8L) up to 250 gallons (946L). There are also units designed specifically for deep water culyure (DWC). Operating the unit is easy, simply plug in and run the O2 Grow emitters prior to watering or set the units up on a schedule with a timer.