Rockwool is another name for stone wool. This is a substrate for a wide variety of plants, including cannabis, melons, peppers, strawberries, and other types of plants. Stone wool is generated by spinning molten basaltic rock into fibers to form cubes, blocks, slabs, and other shapes.
The density of stone wool products and the way the fibers are stacked help determine their moisture holding ability, aeration, and the moisture gradient. By changing these factors, manufacturers have made different products available for differing growing applications. Some types of rockwool will help steer crops away from excessive vegetation, while other types of rockwool will allow for quick root growth. GrowGeneration® offers different varieties of rockwool for different growing situations.
Where Does Stone Wool Come From?
Believe it or not, stone wool has its origins in the construction industry. It has been used for a wide variety of different applications, such as insulation. Stone wool was originally tested in Denmark during the 1960s to see if it was viable for hydroponics and other types of growing situations. Today, rockwool is used by large and small growers.
The different materials in stone wool will vary slightly depending upon the brand and the type of application the rockwool is intended for. Many manufacturers, like Grodan, use a mixture of basalt, limestone, and other substances. The mixture is melted to a very high temperature and then poured over rotating discs. The discs allow the lava-like mixture to form into fibers. The fibers are pressed with extreme force and then cut into blocks or slabs to make the appropriate product for growers.
When Do Growers Need To Use Rockwool?
There are a wide variety of instances where a grower might need to use stone wool for growing. Growers often use rockwool sheerly for control of the root environment. Rockwool helps growers maintain a balancing act. The stone wool maintains a certain level of nutrients in the root zone with air space. This allows for a stable flow of oxygen and nutrients to the plant within the growing environment. Automated watering systems like top-drip and ebb-and flow applications are ideal for rockwool use.
What are the Benefits of Using Rockwool?
One of the main benefits of using stone wool in a growing environment is that it is safe for plants. Rockwool is made industrially, so there will be no weed seeds, pathogens, microbes or other irritants that can cause disease for the plants. Stone wool is also great with water retention. While it allows excess water to drain quickly, air can also circulate to oxygenate the roots. Stone wool is also reusable and doesn't break down over time like other substrates do.
Because of a controlled manufacturing process, stone wool is always consistent when it is produced. This leads to uniformity in your growing operation and you can always rest assured that your plants will grow as you'd like. Stone wool also will help your growing operation save precious resources, like water.
What Type of Stone Wool Should a Grower Use?
There are several different types of stone wool, including blocks, slabs, plugs, and products that are loose.
- Growers typically use blocks or cubes of rockwool for germinating seeds and cuttings.
- Slabs are useful for plants that are growing in larger areas.
- Plugs are used to help your seeds start their rooting structure.
- Loose rockwool is often used in pots and for top feed applications.
- Clones are rooted in rockwool very efficiently.
How Do You Monitor Electrical Conductivity in Rockwool?
Checking EC in your stone wool is important. Rockwool doesn't contain many substances that can influence EC levels. However, the nutrients present in the root zone will change from time to time as the plants absorb different levels of water and nutrients. In warmer growing environments, plants will absorb higher levels of water, increasing the need of water in the reservoir. In cold growing environments, EC will tend to drop since plants don't need as much water and will absorb more nutrients.
What Are Some Popular Brands of Rockwool?
GrowGeneration carries several different brands of stone wool for your growing operation. Perhaps the most popular type of stone wool is manufactured by Grodan. Grodan stone wool is commonplace for most growing operations. By ensuring consistent water and nutrient distribution throughout the growing cycle, root zones can be managed effectively.
Pargro is another popular version of stone wool that is also manufactured by Grodan. Pargro stone wool has better drainage than other types of stone wool, thus reducing the risk of root disease. Pargro also creates a situation for ideal nutrient and pH monitoring in your plants.
Cultilene is also available from GrowGeneration. This brand of stone wool is known for its air and water properties, allowing for great root zone control.
Some Tips For Using Stone Wool
There are a few tips for using rockwool if you are a newer grower or are considering it for the first time. First of all, it is important to not overwater your plants. Some growers may think that they aren't providing their plants with enough water because it is a substrate that drains rather quickly. Another important thing to consider is that your rockwool should not be placed too closely together. Giving your rock wool plenty of room will give each plant the right air and water ratio that it needs. Always rinse the new rockwool before use with 5.0 - 6.3 pH'ed water. This will remove any lime-carbonate residuals left over from manufacturing which can raise pH..
Purchase Rockwool From Grow Generation
GrowGeneration understands that rockwool is an important substrate for a wide variety of different growing situations. We have selected the highest quality brands to make sure that you have every option available for your growing environment. You can use rockwool from GrowGeneration for a wide variety of different plants, ranging from cannabis, to leafy green vegetables to plants that bear fruit.
You can purchase high quality rockwool and other products, like nutrients, lighting, ventilation systems, and other products for your growing environment at any of our retail locations or our website.