The term pH Up refers to commercial products or regular household substances that are added to a hydroponic nutrient solution in order to instantly raise the solution's pH levels, helping in become less acidic. The term is often in the title of commercially available products, or household products can be used instead.
Commercial products generally contain potassium hydroxide and potassium carbonate. Household products like baking soda can also be used to increase a garden's pH levels.
In contrast to pH Up products on the market, there are also pH Down products available. Such products typically contain food-grade phosphoric acid; otherwise lemon juice can be used in a pinch.
Explain pH Up
In hydroponics, the pH level of a nutrient solution is a good indicator of how strong the solution is. It needs to constantly be monitored to ensure optimal plant growth. Measuring the solution's pH levels allows a grower to see if their nutrients/plants are either too acidic or not acidic enough (alkaline).
Upon determining that their nutrient solution's pH is too low (too acidic), a grower can make quick adjustments by using pH Up products, which usually contain potassium hydroxide and potassium carbonate.
Add a little at a time if your nutrient solution's pH is too low in order to raise the pH to the proper level. While store-bought solutions are recommended, growers can use regular baking soda as a pH Up solution.
Because pH values rise quickly with minimal input, it is advisable to start off with very small amounts of pH Up and continue testing the solution with a pH pen, pH meter, or litmus paper until the ideal pH value is reached. In hydroponics, the ideal pH for most crops falls between 5.5 and 6.5, which is considered to be slightly acidic. It is considered easier to raise pH levels than it is to lower them.
Many things can affect the garden's pH values, including nutrient levels, water quality, algae growth, and the choice of grow medium. Also, pH values change over time as plants grow and uptake more and more nutrients.
pH values also apply to soil gardens, but the terms pH Up and pH Down are generally more so used in hydroponics than traditional gardening methods. For example, while horticultural lime or limestone is a popular soil amendment primarily used to increase the pH of a soil or lawn, it's not often referred to as a 'pH Up' product.