Definition - What does Buffering mean?

In gardening, buffering refers to a material’s capacity to sustain changes in salinity or pH during the plant’s crop cycle. Each soilless growing media has its own buffering capacity that determines the plant’s capacity to properly absorb and use nutrients. Growers need to closely monitor their crop’s pH level to prevent toxicities or any plant deficiencies.

MaximumYield explains Buffering

In hydroponic and aquaponic crops, it is important to keep an eye on the water’s buffering ability. To do so, seasoned growers use a general water KH test to determine the water buffering capacity. A low KH level signifies a poor buffering capacity and points to a shifting pH level.

Most plants require a slightly acidic pH level ranging between 5.5 and 6.5. Some formulas are pH-buffered to help the crops fall into a more appropriate range. Growers need to also pay attention to the level of residual lime in the grow media since this affects the water’s buffering capacity. Most growers tend to use Dolomitic or Calcitic lime in the growing media.

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