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Experiment:Best Kelp Products(Species, Extraction, Form)

Hello to all you growers! I have been doing a lot of research as well as planning many tests on different brands of kelp and have been focusing my time to see which kelp products really benefit the Cannabis plant. I want to hear your feedback to see what others have seen with their grows or experience with kelp as well. I have been blessed to talk with different chemists and professors during my college career from the University of Arizona and Virginia Tech who have experience developing and testing these kelp products before as well as teach students lessons on botany, soil science, and plant physiology. They helped me learn about the differences between these kelp products on the market used today.

First, they showed me that you want to know a couple of factors before choosing which kelp product you want to use such as, kelp species, kelp extraction, and kelp form. Kelp species is something to look at as there are many types that can be used for plant growth. The most heavily used Kelp on the market is currently Ascophyllum Nodosum as it is easier/cheaper to obtain and has been studied the most. This form of kelp is used in most seaweed products out there. Yes, this product helps with roots, but what people do not understand is that this form of kelp tends to contain higher Cytokinin counts than Auxin Counts. These two things are considered natural growth hormones where Cytokinins regulate axillary bud growth, apical dominance and shoot growth. Auxins stimulate plant cells to elongate and aid in growth of stems, roots and more. With higher Cytokinin counts, it makes more sense to use this type of kelp species during the flowering stage yet they market a lot of products as a great root enhancer. Don’t get me wrong, it helps promote root growth but not as well as Auxin dominated species of kelp. There are few companies out there that are using another species of kelp called Ecklonia Maxima. This species of kelp tends to be harder to obtain in the South African Coasts and some other areas as well. This kelp species through testing shows to contain higher Auxin counts so wouldn’t this type of species seem better to use for root growth? That is why I decided to try and run tests on some different products out there to see which ones seem to work best in regards to root development. Maybe we should be feeding specific kelp species in certain plant stages? Maybe feed Ecklonia Maxima in Veg to really get the roots growing then switch to Ascophyllum Nodosom during flower to help with shoot and bud growth? There are companies out there that add kelp to their bloom boosters but generally containing the Ascophyllum Nodosum species which makes sense, but why market and use this kelp for root growth on other products? Or what if these two species were mixed and had great synergistic abilities? Feel free to make and share your own tests if this topic intrigues you. The companies that have products with this different species are shown below if you wanted to try and test this yourself. I am currently trying to test them all to find which works the best as well as see if you really can see a difference in the plants physiological growth depending on the kelp species used.

Next thing to look at when choosing a kelp product is the extraction method. I had help learning from some chemists who are experienced creating kelp products. There are different kelp manufacturers and I have even read about some other posts on here of people explaining the companies who harvest and extract the kelps but their info seems to be outdated. With today’s technology, there are products being created that are way more concentrated and more beneficial then kelp meals and cold pressed kelps when regards to natural hormones/ secondary metabolites. In order to get a specific kelp form, you must extract the kelp in a specific way. So the forms out today are Kelp Meal, Kelp extract, Kelp Powder, and Kelp concentrate. A lot of people on these forms tell people to just use kelp meal because of price reasons/making your own liquid kelp with it through rehydration/tea or using it because of the fact that there is no solvent like potassium hydroxide to harm your precious microbes and biology in the soil. Kelp Meal is good for someone on a budget, because you could make a tea and make the product last a long time but it is not working nearly as well as certain products on the market. Plus it takes weeks for it to be broken down by the soil biology because of the extra organic matter that companies add to their products. Kelp Meal is made by solar drying and being ground and pulverized which can harm and deteriorate some of the beneficials such as auxins and cytokinins. It is higher in Nutrients along with Mannitol and Alginic Acid when compared to certain kelp extracts but kelp extract or concentrate offers greater concentration of hormones and consistency of performance. The issue with certain kelp extracts is that it can be extracted through chemical hydrolysis (i.e. potassium hydroxide) and physical extraction (i.e., high-pressure and cold process). Chemical hydrolysis and high pressure extraction is not generally favored as it is harsh and kills off some of the beneficial hormones and nutrients the kelp has to offer as well as destroy alginic acid and mannitol. The cold Pressed kelp can be beneficial but what the chemists explained is that cold pressed kelp is not as concentrated and tends to be watered down. A lot of the beneficial vitamins and hormones keep contained within the plant cell and wont get extracted through cold press unless that cell is broken down through enzymes. That brings us to the other form of extraction called enzymatic digestion. Through this extraction, enzymes are able to fully break down the cells and retain most of the beneficial/secondary metabolites creating an overall more concentrated product containing higher hormones, alginic acid and mannitol content then other forms of extraction. Some companies may even have testing done to prove the content of their Beneficial’s within their kelp showing the amounts of vitamins and hormones contained in their product.

With all of this info, It urged me to test what I learned to see if what these scholars say was true. I am confused why the nutrient market has not caught on to this information but then began to learn that money tends to get involved. Companies out there selling watered down products or claiming things that are not fully true through their marketing tricks. I will perform testing on all these kelp products below based on their form/extraction and their species. I want to see if the species Ecklonia Maxima really does create more root growth than the Ascophyllum Nodosom species kelp. I also want to compare performance of enzymatic extraction vs kelp meal and physical and chemical extraction kelp. Through these tests, I could then see which form/extraction of kelp worked best as well as which species performs better as a root enhancer. I want to use the kelp that will best promote root growth as the greater the roots, the greater the plant organs, the greater the plant organs, the bigger the fruit it will create! I am open for any opinions or comments. I will be posting my results from the tests when done! I believe all of this is a start a something new and maybe you members might want to test it yourself! Happy growing to all!

Ecklonia Maxima Species Kelp:

-Herb N Grow=https://www.amazon.com/Herb-Grow-Liquid-Seaweed-Fertilizer/dp/B07VVG7FRP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Herb+N+Grow+Kelp&qid=1571334984&sr=8-1

-First Rays Kelpmax=Nutrients & Additives Archives » First Rays LLC

-Environotics Earth Kelp=Seems to be taken off amazon sorry for no link!

- Bloom City Clean Kelp (Blend of Ascophyllum Nodosum, Ecklonia Maxima, Chlorella Vulgaris, Arthrospira Platensis, Palmaria Palsmata, Laminaria Saccharina and Chandrus Crispus)= https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Fertilizer-Supplement-Bloom-Concentrated/dp/B073ZNW5CK


Ascophyllum Nodosum Species Kelp:

-Neptune Harvest Kelp Meal
= https://www.amazon.com/Neptunes-Harvest-KM650-Organic-50-Pound/dp/B009AQWIM8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HGJQB140JAE4&keywords=neptunes+harvest+kelp+meal&qid=1571759734&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=neptunes+harvest+kelp+,lawngarden,244&sr=1-1


-Fox Farm Bush Doctor Kelp Me Kelp You= https://www.amazon.com/FoxFarm-Bushdoctor-Kelp-Fertilizer-pint/dp/B00VKPQEP4/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=bush+doctor&qid=1571759750&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-9


-Aurora Innovations Buddha Bloom= https://www.amazon.com/Roots-Organics-715200-Buddha-Fertilizer/dp/B00UTOKHX2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=buddha+bloom&qid=1571759793&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1


-General Organics BioWeed= https://www.amazon.com/General-Hydroponics-GH5342-BioWeed-Vitality/dp/B002KETEJW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=buioweed&qid=1571759811&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1-spell

-3 Gems Jewel= Premium Plant Nutrients | Liquid Kelp Fertilizer | 3 Gems Nutrition JEWEL


-BioBasics SeaCrop 16= Sea Crop 16


-GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp= https://www.amazon.com/Liquid-Seaweed-Extract-Fertilizer-Concentrate/dp/B008YG4580/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=gs+plant+foods+kelp&qid=1571759887&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1


-MaxiCrop Liquid Seaweed= https://www.amazon.com/Maxicrop-Liquid-Seaweed-Kelp-Extract/dp/B000COBUQC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2TOHVSNV7YCOL&keywords=maxicrop+liquid+seaweed&qid=1571759900&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=maxicrop+,lawngarden,253&sr=1-1


-Dr Earth Seaweed kelp meal= https://www.amazon.com/Earth-Pure-Natural-Kelp-Meal/dp/B07B1D74CP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=dr+earth+kelp&qid=1571759970&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1


-BioBizz ALG-A-MIC= https://www.amazon.com/BioBizz-BBALG1L-Biobizz-Alg-A-Mic-1L/dp/B005AXRRMQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=algamic&qid=1571759916&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1


-NPK Industries RAW Kelp Meal= https://www.amazon.com/NPK-Industries-OG3200-RAW-Kelp/dp/B00UL3YGFG/ref=sxin_2_ac_d_pm?ac_md=1-0-VW5kZXIgJDIw-ac_d_pm&keywords=raw+kelp&pd_rd_i=B00UL3YGFG&pd_rd_r=e26a00f7-b855-45ff-b8a4-3bc130b83196&pd_rd_w=CBB7o&pd_rd_wg=Bp1Kv&pf_rd_p=24d053a8-30a1-4822-a2ff-4d1ab2b984fc&pf_rd_r=FERASM2KN4KT7AXMA8NC&psc=1&qid=1571759944&s=lawn-garden


-Blue Planet Nutrients Easy Weed Seaweed= https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Planet-Nutrients-Supplement-Hydroponic/dp/B00UBE4L8M/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=blue+plant+kelp&qid=1571759931&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1
 
I don't have anything to add but I am certainly interested in your findings. I just put together a new soil to cook using a local (Maine) brand of kelp meal (Ascophyllum Nodosum) that I purchased on a whim.
Pulling up a chair for sure.
 
There is a company or product I seen on amazon called Herb N Grow Organic Kelp Fertilizer as well as Blue planet nutrients Liquid seaweed. Herb N Grow uses the species of kelp called Ecklonia Maxima which is suppose to contain higher Auxin counts while Blue planet uses Ascophyllum Nodosum containing high cytokinin counts. I am buying both to see what species works best for root growth and yield. Really excited to try this Herb N Grow product though after hearing great things.
 
Yes I actually am working on an excel sheet with all the different kelp products listing their rate, price, extraction method and species of kelp used. That company uses a cold press method. The cold press method is to help not destroy a lot of the beneficials kelp has to offer. Some companies using harsh, chemical and warm extraction methods are killing off too much of the good stuff that kelp has to offer so that is why cold press method was created. But chemists are now seeing that cold press method does not fully break the cells within kelp to fully release all the goods kelp has to offer which is why these products sometimes will have higher rates because they are more watered down. Dont get me wrong, cold press kelp works but technically does not retain as much of the beneficials and secondary metabolites then an enzymatic process kelp product.
 
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Thank you, that is what I had assumed. Ultimately it may come down to organic certifications that will keep some companies using the cold press method over enzymatic breakdown. That simple process can often make the product ineligible for organic certifications. I look forward to seeing your spread sheet, this is great knowledge. Kelp has been a staple in my gardening for a decade and a half, it is a miracle product as far as I am concerned.
 
Be open to test some of these products listed above as well! There are so many different ones out there but maybe look into testing an enzymatic digested kelp compared to a cold press to see how big of a difference in growth there is. Or look into testing two different species of kelp and compare the two products. I will work hard on this and try to get results on here when I can but be my guest if some of you would like to try it out as well.
 
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I am absolutely going to try one of those enzymatic digested products. I use kelp as a foliar spray and the more broken down forms would likely be beneficial for immediate uptake.
 
Hello Fellow Growers! I have finished the first test of the many experiments I want to perform on Kelp. The first test dealt with two species of kelp. One called Ascophyllum Nodosum which is the most well-known and used kelp on the market. The other species is called Ecklonia Maxima and is being used to make a couple of different products out in the market today. Each species tends to grow in different parts of the world and seem to have their own specific benefits. Through lab testing, people have found a way to use technology to be able to determine or count the amount of phytohormones, vitamins or secondary metabolites contained within the cells of the kelp. Through this testing, some groups have found that the species Ascophyllum Nodosum has higher cytokinin counts while the Ecklonia Maxima species tested with higher auxin counts.

My Hypothesis:
To see if we can truly control the cannabis plants physiological growth by feeding it specific kelp varieties. If we feed the Ascophyllum Nodosum kelp to the plant, then we should see more of a cytokinin response which deals with a little bit of root growth but generally more shoot initiation, growth of lateral buds and bud formation. If we feed the plant the Ecklonia Maxima kelp then we should see more of an auxin response such as leaf expansion/enlargement, increase cell walls as well as strong root growth.

Experiment Info:
In this test, I used one of my rooms in my house to grow. I kept the temperature and relative humidity in the right levels for this stage of growth at 76 Fahrenheit and RH of 65 on average. The light used in this process was a T5 fluorescent 5 bulb reflector set evenly placed over all the clones. The media used was some recycled coco of mine so that I could have a small amount of food within the media for the plants start. I used genetics that are stable from the Sour D X TrainWreck mother I have. I cut a total of 10 clones all the same height and stem diameter so that they can be starting at the same levels. Some were fed Ascophyllum species while the others were fed the Ecklonia Maxima. There were no other added nutrients used to ensure that we can truly see what the kelp does to the plant. Also, each plant was fed the exact same amount of water as I made their food in water bottles for each rate of product. Each rate of kelp I used was based off the application rates recommended by the manufacturer. Each rate was tested on 2 clones meaning that clones 1 and 2 were fed Ascophyllum with a rate of 2ml/Gal, clones 3 and 4 were fed Ecklonia with a rate of 5ml/Gal , clones 5 and 6 were fed Ecklonia with a rate of 10ml/Gal , clones 7 and 8 were fed Ecklonia with a rate of 15ml/Gal , and clones 9 and 10 were fed Ascophyllum with a rate of 5ml/Gal.

Kelp Products Used:
The two kelp products used in this study both used similar extraction techniques in order to develop their products. The Ascophyllum kelp source used was from a company called 3Gem nutrition with their product called Jewel I got from their website. The Ecklonia Maxima kelp source I used was from a company called Tag Solutions called Herb N’ Grow on amazon. They both extracted and made their kelp products through enzymatic extraction which seems to be the best process to make a kelp product as it helps contain all the beneficial phytohormones and secondary metabolites. The Jewel product claims it is super concentrated thus the small rates of 2-5ml/Gal. But the issue with this product is that they added potassium hydroxide in their which tends to be harsh on the kelp and destroy the beneficial items kelp has such as alginic acid and mannitol. Lastly, I have used many kelp products before and they all tend to have a similar smell, look and consistency. This product seemed to fizz a little after mixing with my water but had the usual brown color. The Herb N’ Grow product harvests their kelp, then will hydrolyze and use enzymatic digestion to try and obtain the highest amounts of beneficial material that the kelp contains. They also don’t seem to use any harsh methods or items such as potassium hydroxide which is promising. They give rates 5-15ml/Gal depending on the stage of growth. The smell was decent and had a normal color but slight thicker consistency then others.

What I am thinking will happen:
At the end of the test, the plants fed with Ecklonia Maxima should have better root structure since it contains higher auxins than the other species. The Ascophyllum species should also help with root growth but not as well as the other species because of the difference in auxin counts. The Ascophyllum species would be more beneficial during flowering to help with shoot growth as well as bud formation/growth.

Results:
I judged based off which clones have the best rooting response and was curious to examine what happens with top growth and leaf formation as well. Next I will post some pictures taken each week after the clones were transplanted into small pots. I wanted to make sure to let the roots grow out after the clones got transplanted so I let them grow for a total of 3 weeks. In the pictures you will see the top growth vary each week depending by each rate used. The plants fed with the Ecklonia Maxima kelp did end up having better root structures then the other species. They also seemed to have slightly bigger leaf structure and faster growth which makes sense as an auxin response. The Ascophyllum Nodosum species had decent root growth but not as developed and as strong as the Ecklonia fed plants. The Ascophyllum species did seem to be a little bushier and must have focused its plants energy towards shoot growth more than root growth.

Conclusion:
With these different species of kelp, we could possibly have more control over our plants physiological response to help us ensure a healthy and strong crop. The thing that bothered me with this test, is that all kelp products have different extraction methods. I tried to use two kelp products with similar extraction methods to get a full look on what the difference in kelp species can do for the plant but I am worried that by one company using potassium hydroxide in their process, it could have messed up my results because one product would be stronger or contain more beneficial secondary metabolites. But what is promising is that the results I came up with seemed to be more phytohormone related because of the physiological growth that occurred with each plant. I definitely want to test this again to ensure that what I found is correct as far as kelp species being the reason for these results instead of it being based off which product was extracted better. Next I want to compare the same species of kelp but test out which product works best based off which extraction method was used to make the product. I also am planning to test kelp with all the different medias and see how the results change from using coco and living soil. Please be open to your own testing and see what you find or sit back and see what I come up with. Please give feedback if there is anything I can do to better this process as I am no scientist but looking to help us all as growers. My next post will be of the pictures!! Happy Growing To All!!!!
 
I'd love to see a kelp experiment like this using living soil, liquids vs. dry kelp products. Main thing that I am concerned with kelp products is sodium content. Thanks for the info on the different species. Not that we have many choices here though.
 
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I'm going to be the stick in the mud here. There are so many ways to influence plant growth. The plants themselves regulate these hormones based on environmental responses. Temp, light, nutrients, etc etc etc. All influence this. The complexity of what kelp to use when needs to combined with all the changes of environmental factors. It's not worth the time or effort and cannot be reasonably evaluated in settings like this. They affect root and shoot growth and shifting plants toward root will take away from shoot growth and vice versa. These plants have developed over countless generations to balance as the need in large part to environmental changes and for a reason.

When you add plant hormones it affects other plant hormones and I would say likely could induce stress.

It's something I would leave out of my grow and let the plants balance themselves using environment to manipulate them rather than just introducing them. You can do in large part what you are attempting by simple plant training and it's free and simple.

Just my opinion
 
I found the Ecklo-treated plants had some faster top growth. You can see in some pictures that the Ecklo treated plants got taller and better root structure as the rate got higher. The Ascophyllum plants still did decent as they had slow growth at the start, but began to catch up towards the end. When looking at the pictures, the order of the plants go from left to right: Don’t pay attention to the random plant on the bottom right closest to the camera as I just put her in their to get light for some time. (Not a part of the test)
Far left are Clones 1 and 2=2ml of Ascophyllum, Clones 3 and 4=5ml of Ecklo, Clones 5 and 6=10ml of Ecklo, Clones 7 and 8=15ml of Ecklo and on the far right are Clones 9 and 10=5ml/Gal.
 
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I found the Ecklo-treated plants had some faster top growth. You can see in some pictures that the Ecklo treated plants got taller and better root structure as the rate got higher. The Ascophyllum plants still did decent as they had slow growth at the start, but began to catch up towards the end. When looking at the pictures, the order of the plants go from left to right: Don’t pay attention to the random plant on the bottom right closest to the camera as I just put her in their to get light for some time. (Not a part of the test)
Far left are Clones 1 and 2=2ml of Ascophyllum, Clones 3 and 4=5ml of Ecklo, Clones 5 and 6=10ml of Ecklo, Clones 7 and 8=15ml of Ecklo and on the far right are Clones 9 and 10=5ml/Gal.
Question how can you do this without a control group? What if its affecting them all negatively?

I'm not trying to be an ass if that's what it looks like. I'm try to challenge the validity of the test to ensure results aren't skewed.
 
I am thinking that, to help eliminate the different extraction techniques problem, you should run an experiment using only ground kelp meal in a soil mix. That makes more sense to me anyway... as that is what I use :).
Good job though, keep it coming.
 
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I'm going to be the stick in the mud here. There are so many ways to influence plant growth. The plants themselves regulate these hormones based on environmental responses. Temp, light, nutrients, etc etc etc. All influence this. The complexity of what kelp to use when needs to combined with all the changes of environmental factors. It's not worth the time or effort and cannot be reasonably evaluated in settings like this. They affect root and shoot growth and shifting plants toward root will take away from shoot growth and vice versa. These plants have developed over countless generations to balance as the need in large part to environmental changes and for a reason.

When you add plant hormones it affects other plant hormones and I would say likely could induce stress.

It's something I would leave out of my grow and let the plants balance themselves using environment to manipulate them rather than just introducing them. You can do in large part what you are attempting by simple plant training and it's free and simple.

Just my opinion

I like kelp because it adds organic material to the soil and has tons of available trace elements. The wide variety of micronutrients is why I think soil imparts more flavor than hydro or coco. Im surprised you dont add it to your live hydro system.
 
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I like kelp because it adds organic material to the soil and has tons of available trace elements. The wide variety of micronutrients is why I think soil imparts more flavor than hydro or coco. Im surprised you dont add it to your live hydro system.
I stay away from organic for the most part but I am running enzymes now so it could be an option. I also feel that the benefits of diversity you can achieve in soil may provide some improvements to terpene profile and production. I believe this is true of all nutrients the more diverse the better. I'm not doubting it's benefits in those aspects. I however don't feel it should be used to try to manipulate plants hormones nor feel it has a relevant enough impact on plant hormones. Much like homemade willow branches. While willow tips do contain IBA I feel it would need to be more concentrated to have a real impact. I'm not sure if I'm making sense here. Basically the same discussion we had on rooting hormone and it's possible negative effects in later growth especially if over dosed.

I have to say man you have a nack for bringing out the things I don't think of and I appreciate that... always learning when we chat. Cause tbh in this discussion my blinders where in hormones and not the other benefits.
 
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Thanks for all of the feedback! I still need to post the pictures of all the roots from this test! I will try to be more professional in the next tests regarding kelp in living soil to see the interactions in the rhizosphere and result the microbiology will have based off the different kelp species but using dried amendments vs a kelp concentrate liquid. I will make sure to add a control group to this next test. Happy Growing!
 

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