Why Is It Important To Monitor CO2 Levels?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an essential part of the carbon cycle. We humans breathe, and when we exhale, carbon dioxide is released into the air. Plants take in the carbon dioxide we exhale, which helps them to grow. Cannabis plants especially take advantage of this gas to help with the speed of their growth. The reason for this is because cannabis plants not only “inhale” carbon dioxide, but they also “exhale” it too. This makes them unique from nearly every other plant, because plants usually release oxygen when they take in carbon dioxide. CO2 is essential to a cannabis plant’s growth, but you would need to control its pressure and how much of it is taken in. For the plant’s sake, and your sake.
Ideal CO2 Levels for Cannabis
CO2 pressure is calculated in parts per million (usually abbreviated as ppm). Normal levels of CO2 concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere are usually at around 300-500 ppm. You can increase the amount of CO2 your plants can intake with the use of CO2 cylinders. The ideal amount of carbon dioxide for cannabis plants would be about 1,000-2,000 ppm. This will help increase your plant’s growth by an additional 20%.
Another interesting benefit included with increased CO2 intake, besides growth speed, is the ability to survive slightly higher temperatures. This especially applies to grow bulbs shining light with temperatures up to 85°F-95°F (or 30°C-35°C). In fact, thanks to this, you can increase the amount of CO2 your plants can intake, which in turn helps increase photosynthesis. If your lights aren’t very bright, however, the carbon dioxide won’t have a very effective impact on your plant at all. You want to make sure you have either MH/HPS or bright LED grow lights for the CO2 to truly do any good.
When CO2 Levels Get Too High
One thing you want to avoid doing is going above the 1,000-2,000 ppm range. CO2 levels around 2,000-3,000 ppm is a bit much, but your plant will be OK. Although, if you are honestly aiming for the most optimal way to speed your cannabis plant’s growth, you need to keep the CO2 levels at the recommended ppm range.
Now having your cannabis plants intake large amounts of carbon dioxide isn’t ideal, but your plant may still be mostly okay. For humans, however, that’s a different story. We are able to take in 5,000 ppm when under some long-term exposure. It’s also considered the limit for workplace environments. For short-term exposure, 15,000 ppm would be okay, but even that’s pushing it. Remember, exposing yourself to high levels of CO2 pressure can’t ever be good for your body. Since you are dealing with a gas, you need to keep in mind how much of it is in the air. You know how the further down you go when diving underwater, the more pressure you feel in your body? A similar concept is applied with CO2 pressure. In this case, the more carbon dioxide in an enclosed room, the more pressure hits your body. Because of that, too much of it will actually cause serious internal damage to the human body. If you don’t get out of the high-pressured area in time, you can end up feeling sick, drowsy, or in extreme cases, asphyxiation (which is oxygen deprivation). Indoor grow farms will need a higher emphasis on monitoring CO2 levels than outdoor grow farms, since the side effects of high CO2 levels have a stronger effect in an indoor setting. Although, if you do have an outdoor grow farm, you may still want to check the amount of pressure in the air.
There is a simple way to keep an eye on how high or low the CO2 levels are in an enclosed room though. Using a CO2 monitor will do that just for you. It consistently detects how high or low the CO2 levels are in the room it’s set up in. Most are able to detect CO2 levels as high as 50,000 ppm. When the pressure levels get too dangerous, it will send off an audible alarm. Some are advanced enough to activate and respond to an emergency relay system to help the room ventilate. You want to make sure you have a practical evacuation plan as well. All of this is to ensure true safety for both you and even your grow farm if things go wrong.