Greenhouse and Indoor growers are familiar with the importance of monitoring specific aspects of their operation. Environmental conditions like temperature, airflow, and humidity are obvious, but it's also essential to monitor CO2 levels. Here are the top three reasons that monitoring CO2 levels is increasingly important.
- Healthier Plants. CO2 is one of the critical ingredients of photosynthesis and essential for plants to grow. Monitoring CO2 in a greenhouse allows optimization of environmental conditions, resulting in more productive plant growth. It stands to reason that different plants need different levels of CO2 in the air to maximize development. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is an odorless and colorless gas present in the air we breathe and is an essential component to the life of plants. Plants absorb CO2 during photosynthesis, the process through which they convert light into chemical energy.
- Increase Crop Yields. CO2 enhancement in greenhouses allows crops to reach their photosynthesis potential. You can enrich the air with CO2 by utilizing the combustion of natural gas (generator) or with a canister of liquid CO2. The added supply of carbon dioxide is an often applied method to increase the yield of greenhouse crops. During photosynthesis, CO2 is split into carbon and oxygen, its two essential elements. The oxygen is released into the air while the carbon combines with water and light to create sugar, which is then converted into carbohydrates. When plants absorb nutrients, they combine with the carbohydrates and form new plant tissue. Photosynthesis requires the right balance of all of these elements.
- Prevent Crop Loss. Though carbon dioxide is essential for plants to live, too much carbon dioxide can be lethal. In addition, it can drastically reduce the abundance of valuable nutrients the plant produces, including iron, zinc, and vitamin C. Monitoring CO2 levels will help avoid costly crop loss and encourage healthy levels of valuable nutrients.
So, while some growers choose to increase CO2 levels to increase their plants' growth rate, it's crucial to do this properly, meaning other conditions must change as well. The light levels must be higher, and the temperature should also increase. Additionally, since the plants will require additional water and nutrients, reservoirs may need more attention. Ideally, keep the CO2 levels constant. However, this is not realistic in most situations, as you need to vent the grow room to control the heat buildup. A common problem with CO2 is that growers get over-enthusiastic and assume more is better.
And now, you have the information you need to make an informed decision about monitoring CO2 levels for your greenhouse. You can check out another blog here to investigate increasing CO2 levels in a safe way.