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How Does the Electrical Conductivity Affect Plant Growth?

The electrical conductivity of water is actually a measure of salinity. Excessively high salinity can affect plants in the following ways:

  •   Specific toxicity of a particular ion (such as Sodium)
  •   Higher osmotic pressure around the roots prevents an efficient water absorption by the plant.

Some plants are more susceptible to the electrical conductivity than others and each specie has an electrical conductivity threshold, beynod which yield is decreased.

ec-effect.jpg

Experiment showing the effect of different EC levels on crop

USING ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY PORTABLE METERS

Most EC meters have the following information indicated on them, or in their manuals:

The measurement units – different electrical conductivity meters may use different units, e.g. ds/m or μs/cm.

The range of the measurement.

Whether the instrument automatically compensates for temperature. If it does not, the measurement of the water EC should be taken at 25oC.

HOW TO TAKE THE EC READING CORRECTLY

In order to have a reliable reading, it is important to take the reading correctly.

  • Immerse the EC meter in the water sample. The EC meter should be immersed only up to the level indicated in the instructions. Never immerse the EC meter totally.
  • Slightly steer the sample water with the EC meter.
  • Wait a few seconds until the reading stabilizes and take the reading.

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