Transport and Logistics Inside the Cannabis Plant
|Everybody knows that a cannabis plant needs water in order to
survive. Without it, it goes weak, dries out and dies. It is also well
known that the plant sucks up water through the roots, along with the
nutrients. It all seems simple and logical, but in fact this is a
If we take a closer look, we will find that all climate-related factors,
such as light, light-duration, humidity and temperature are closely
related to the watering process.
A cannabis plant consists of three parts: Cannabis Root, Cannabis Stem and Cannabis Leaf
the transport inside the plant works as follows:
The roots absorb the water from the soil. Then,
the water and itís nutrients are converted into new parts of plant.
These are mostly large, organic molecules, which are used all around
the plant (for example, as a growth substance in the roots). The
engine boosting the production inside the leaves, is photosynthesis.
and solved nutrients continually have to go up, and the newly produced
molecules have to go down. So we are not just dealing with the
transport of water and nutrients, but also with that of Ďlargeí
organic matter. How this functions and why there are no traffic-jams,
we will discuss that later. Letís start with the roots.
Water transport inside the roots
A root has different functions. Aside from taking in the water, they
provide stability of the plant. In balance with itís top-soil
counterpart, a root has to grow (ad synthesise new root-parts), and
carry partial responsibility for the storage of reserve-nutrients.
They are also the production facility for very specific molecules
(like nicotine for the tobacco-plant)
Roots give the plant stability
The roots hold a plant down in the ground, or other substance. They have
the specific structure needed for this job. Both the guiding and the
supportive plants of root form the axial strain. This helps the plant
achieve great flexibility, as well as a good cable-structure. It also
enlarges the available root surface.
The principle structure of a
root is very visible with a seedling
The central branch of a root-structure is the primary-root, which drills
itself into the ground right after germinating. When the primary root
has taken a strong hold and water supplies have been secured, the first
leaves may be directed towards the light to achieve photosynthesis.
|Then side-roots sprout from the primary cannabis root, increasing
itís surface and stability. All roots grow in one direction, enabling
the out-growing hair-roots to anchor into the soil.
and the short-life span of the hair vessels
A root mostly grows at itís tip. Close up to the newly formed cells
is the root-unit, which controls the new-cell build up: a regular
little root-factory. This production unit (meristern), moves forward
along with itís growth. Behind these tips, the newly formed cells
are stretched out (cell-stretching). This part is followed by the
hair-region, which is only a small part of the whole root. Still, the
latter is the only part where water and nutrients are taken in.
Because roots continuously grow at the tip, the root-hair region
shifts along with it. In effect, this means the hairs have to be built
up and broken down every few days.
Water transport inside the
The hair-vessels are of a delicate structure, and are surrounded by thin
shells, through which water and unsolved nutrients may easily pass. The
resistance to water here is minimal. The outer surface is increased
enormously by branching out. In the middle of the root we find the
central cylinder: the highway up. Water flows here from the
hair-vessels. This section has the largest resistance to water, for many
membranes have to be passed through here. In the hair-root region, the
plant has an enormous force outer surface, which has intensive contract
with itís environment.
Clearly visible here, is the narrow contact between hair-vessels and
soil-particles. Absorbing water does not come from active transport, but
could well be compared to the cotton of an oil-lamp continuously sucking
up oil towards the place of combustion (towards the flame).
The intake of water by the roots is controlled through itís suction.
This has to be lower than that of the soil (otherwise water would flow
from the roots into the soil). With extremely dry soil this may actually
happen!). this water-suction is dependant on the amount of resistance
water encounters in penetrating the root. The resistance is among other
factors, influenced by the soil-temperature. This on account of the fact
that waterís viscosity (itís toughness) rises when the temperature
drops (the water becomes thick). If the bottom is warm, this means low
water resistance, but if it is cold, resistance becomes high.
The second, and largest driving force behind water absorption is
perspiration (the evaporation of water from the leaves). When much is
evaporated, the suction in the roots grows larger (like with a fungus).
Evaporating water from the leaves is in tune with the air-humidity (low
R.H. = much evaporation, and vice versa) inside the room.
|The following drawing depicts an experiment which
proves that perspiration of the leaves causes suction (negative
water-pressure) even greater than the force of regular air-pressure.
of the suction which can only be achieved through leaf-perspiration.
The plant may pull the mercury up higher as would air-pressure inside
a barometer. This experiment proves that perspiration is the driving
engine behind water absorption into the roots.
Plants can experience water stress
If ground temperature and air-humidity are both low, much water leaves
the leaves through perspiration, but the roots canít keep up, due to
high water resistance. Symptoms: weak or dead leaves on wet soil, and
decaying roots, of fungi will soon follow.
Before we continue with more facts, letís put this in practice. The
plant-medium canít be constantly dry or wet. Plants cannot actively
absorb water, and never more than the amount which is perspired by the
leaves. Donít water Ďfor storageí. This activity should be taken
care of by your soil (perhaps by adding perlite). This achieves a
water-buffer capacity. Hydro-systems should drop little but often,
this imitating the water-buffer (not too wet and not too dry). The
plant-medium should posses sufficient solidity in order to anchor the
supportive roots, but it should also be soft enough to let the
microbiologic balance in the root-zone
The microbiologic balance is a simple way of describing this very
complex society of micro-organisms. These micro organisms have a big
influence to the growing and blooming of the plant. It is very important
for the serious grower to understand the balance in the plant and, if
possible, to control it. A healthy microbiologic life always leads to an
optimal macro-biologic life (grow and bloom). This is also known in the
regular and professional gardening. This year many researches about the
biologic balance started. Many research-institutes in Holland are
investing millions of guilders in these researches. The Highlife
grow-school gathered the most important facts and definitions for again
an informative grow-school for the serious grower.
The root-medium is a very complex thing, which is influenced constantly
by the grower and factors of the outside. The grower influences by
giving water, manuring of the plant, the choice of the substrate, the
influence of temperature and light, the height of the pH etc. The most
important outside factor is the separation out of the roots, also called
root-exudates. Micro-organisms can be good or bad (they then cause
diseases). When there are more good than bad micro-organisms in a plant
and this situations is stable, then we are talking about a positive
There are a few facts,
which can influence a balance:
Tap water also contents micro-organisms. Every
time you make water for the plants there are also micro-organisms in it.
This influences the biological balance.
The most occurred substrates are inert (it means that these donít
react with nutrition and roots), examples of these are rock-wool, PU-foam,
oasis and Mapito (a mix of rock-wool and PU-foam). There are also
organic substrates like coco and earth-mixes. The inert substrates do
not influence micro-life very much. These are often that sterile that
these hardly contain microbiologic life. This can be changed with
biological means. Organic substrates on the contrary do have a lot of
microbiologic life. Most of the times it is a positive balance, the
quality-mixes for sure.
The presence of a micro-organism and the quantity of it, depends on the
temperature in the root-zone. Every micro-organism has its own optimum.
EC (solved salt-concentration)
The complete salt-concentration is important for the fact that the
micro-organisms can survive. The separate nutrition-elements can influence the
growth of certain micro-organisms.
Roots donít like light at all. Micro-organisms that live in the root-zone also
donít like light. Organic substrates have a natural dark colour, so the
root-zone is also dark. Inert substrates are often packed in plastic material,
which does not let through the light.
Fluctuations of pH influence the composition of micro-organisms. The more stable
the value of the pH (5.5 Ė 5,8), the more stabled the microbiologic balance
Biologic, bio mineral, organic means and means on the base of plant-extracts all
influence micro-organisms. The newest means in gardening are bio-stimulators.
The bio-stimulator influence directly the micro-flora. So can the
bio-stimulators directly restrain influences of the disease-producing
micro-organisms, so the good organisms can develop better.
These synthetic means kill more than only mite or white fly. If the residue of
the insecticides drips from the leaves into the root-zone, they also kill the
positive micro-life. Also these means are not recommended because of the damage
they can do to your health.
The type of substrate, how thick the layer of the system is and how often the
plants get nutrition influence the amount of oxygen in the root-zone. If there
is a lot of oxygen, other micro-organisms will develop then when there is a lack
Besides the enumerated factors which can influence the grower, there are
processes in the root-zone, which are influenced by the plant itself. These are
the so-called root-exudates. These separation-products can consist sugars, amino
acids, phenols, phenol-acids or other organic combinations. Sugars and amino
acids can serve as nutrition for the plant, so they can play a grow-stimulating
role. Phenol-combinations and certain organic acids can restrain the growth of
the plant if the strength is too high. Also bio-stimulators can be a part of it.
Bio-stimulators can break down all kind of organic combination so the plant can
That is why I advise the serious grower to check the
micro-climate of his plantsÖ it can make a lot of differenceÖ
The summertime not only gives us pleasant warmth, but also for the ones
with six or eight feet that love the green growth. Especially the
greenhouse red spider mite loves a warm and dry climate and if you see
the little ones walking, the harm already has been done. The red spider
mite not only tap the fluids from the plant with every bite, there also
stays a mark on the leafs. Thatís why the plant cannot perform
photosynthesis. Also the tissue of the spider-bite close the plant more
and more from the air. The plant is weakened by many sides and is
getting weaker by the hour. This is the moment that the grower has to go
to the grow-shop (or to another place where you can buy vermin fighters)
and get some help. If the whole harvest is threatens to die, a very
strong matter is often used. But when this matter is harmless,
irritating be very dangerous for your health and the precautions
necessarily taken, is often left out of consideration.
Most pesticides are made for use in free nature or in greenhouses,
which, comparing with most of the growing-places, are much bigger. If
pesticides have to be used in a greenhouse, it is obliged by law to
protect the co-worker for 100% against all kind of influences of the
chemicals. This can mean: gloves, special suits and a mask for breathing
After the treatment the greenhouses are ventilated and a certain time
has to pass before any work can be done. In home growing it often is a
different story. The space is often low-pitched and is full of plants,
what diminishes the moving-space of the grower. Natural ventilation
lacks most of the times, because the light and smell would come outside,
unfiltered. Working with gloves in this heath is a torment and a mask
for breathing or protection-glasses let run down the sweat in big
Working with pesticides in small oppressive rooms is causing a lot more
danger than in big greenhouses or at the outside.
Measures at mixing ready-to-use solutions
A pesticide is often offered in highly concentrated packages and has to
be mixed with water before use. Contact with skin and eyes have to be
absolutely avoided, because these concentrates can be very irritating or
biting and can go through the skin also in concentrated form. Working
with gloves and/or glasses is highly recommendable. You have to work on
an easy height (table) and not on the ground. Do not work under hot
lamps, because the concentrate can go directly to your lungs. It can
also be dangerous if parts of the pesticides are mingled with
fertilizers or a base. So do not measure your nutrition in the same
tray. If you buy a matter thatís already has useful dosage, you have
no trouble with this.
Measures while squirting
During the squirting there is a big chance to inhale the pesticides. It
can also go through your skin. If you use irritating or poisoned matters
it is necessary to work with masks for breathing. The evaporations of
the pesticide are getting stronger by the heath of the lamps (especially
in small, low-pitched rooms). Very important for the use of every
squirting-matter (if it is dangerous or not), is that every part of the
plant that is infected (also the underside of the leafs) are hit. That
means you have to do this quiet and careful. So take care that you not
have to cough or that your eyes are burning, when you are only halfway.
That is very bad for your harvest, because you donít fight the vermin
Clothes and hairs are after the squirting of the vermin also soaked with
the used matter and you can at best put the clothes immediately in the
washing machine or use them next time. This is of course particularly
important if the growing room is in the living room. A safe use of
poisoned or irritating squirt-matters is difficult to realize. It asks
for an air-tight shut-off part of the house (some means can easily damp
through walls - look at the bottom at groups of matters). The
ventilation has to be put on maximum, after the necessary initial
period, to remove the remainder.
Growing-lamps have a part of the UV-light in the spectrum. UV-light
breaks off biological and chemical substances and according to the
representative of the Minister of Agriculture the lamps can produce very
dangerous substances by beaming. It is hardly investigated how the
waiting period of for instance matters for the growing of vegetables and
fruit changes, if it handles about growing weed (the sticky outside can
absorb and hold lot more substances than a cucumber). And if the waiting
period for the vegetables are sufficient, it you donít eat it but
Never ever mingle concentrated pesticides because all kind of reactions
can take place and you can not predict it (so do not make a mix).
A pesticide which is permitted in Holland, has always, in the original
package, information about the contents, way of use, warnings and
waiting periods. The relevant pesticides mainly work in two ways.
The pesticides can be divided in:
Organic fatty acids do their work in contact and
weaken the parasites. They are quite harmless for people.
Natural and synthetic pyrethroid like permethrin work as a nerve-poison
against insects like plant louse.
Phosphorus-acid ester dichlorvos, parathion (E605) malation work as a
Tinorgan connections (acaricide = anti red spider mite, many of those
are very poisonous)
Others are: carbamate, acylharn-substances, amidine, dinitrofenol,
* Phosphorus-acid ester (and also the carbamate) block an enzyme that
controls the nerve-impulse. When admitted a permanent stimulation of the
nerves is caused. This will kill the insects and the red spider mites,
but can, used careless, provide the human being sickness, diarrhea,
spasms, lower the blood pressure and paralyze the breath (the
nerve-gasses tabun and sarin also belong to the Phosphorus-acid esters).
Some of these are very volatile chemicals and are potentially dangerous
for the plants themselves, because they can burn. To prevent this, you
have to wet the ground very well, before treatment, because otherwise
the roots, and therefor the plant, is getting damaged. Also the
squirting in the evening is good, because it causes during the night
(when the light is out) less evaporation and demolition. When applied
wrong or when used regularly, most matters will not work any more,
because the insects and mites get used to it (get resistant). Use of
pesticides is very difficult and can give many problems.
The most harmless method of fighting insects for the grower and the
consumer is the use of natural enemies like mite and gallflies etc.
Simple tricks, like disinfecting the nursery after every harvest, keep
the cuttings before the planting in quarantine for a few days or plunge
or disinfect them, can prevent an epidemic in the blooming-phase.
By improve the climate in the nursery, most infections with insects can
be prevented. Nurseries that get infected over and over again by red
spider mite, have a too dry climate. By squirting the plants with water
regularly, (once a day) the mites are less mobile for 50% and it is very
satisfying to watch the little creatures having trouble on their
highways (the spin ropes) to climb over the droplets over and over
By keeping the conditions of growing (temperature, air-humidity, suction
and adding of air) optimal, the natural resistance of the plants are
Spoil the plants with root and bloom supplements, which by adding of
many vital maters (enzymes, vitamins, sugars and amino acids) bring
extra energy for the plants.