Does Bioslime and Algae Got Your Plants Down?

greenhouse-irrigation-system9.3.2015

Written by: Zach Devier

Although it has been some time since Cultivate ’15, I wanted to write another blog discussing horticulture irrigation systems! I recently had the absolute pleasure of visiting a greenhouse grow operation interested in implementing our pure chlorine dioxide. They were wondering if chlorine dioxide would be able to help rid their system of any existing bioslime and algae. So, I hopped on a plane and flew out to help get them set up. I’ll explain a little bit about the process below.

Set Up

Switching from your existing antimicrobial agent to chlorine dioxide may seem scary. However, it is a very easy process. Most greenhouses have an existing injection system that they use for injection of chlorine, peroxide, or some other chemical. These injection systems can dilute and inject chlorine dioxide just as easily as any that I just mentioned!

Simply remove the barrel of concentrate of whatever you are currently using, flush the system with water, and replace with a stock concentration of ClO2. An SMT tech support agent will be able to determine the volume, concentration, and dilution/injection rate you will need.

Initial Shock

Sometimes, although an operation is using some sort of antimicrobial, there is an existing buildup of algae or bioslime. This will need to be eliminated from the system. This process can be easy as well, though. As stated, a tech support agent will determine the best protocol for you!

However, an example first: let’s say there is moderate fouling. We may suggest that you inject at 5 parts per million. We might also suggest that you pull that solution through to the farthest point from the injection point.

The last step is to allow that solution to sit in the lines for an extended period of time, such as 6-8 hours--or even overnight for absolute best results. This allows the chlorine dioxide to really work on any microbes in the line responsible for the buildup. The next morning, simply flush all the lines and watch any nasty stuff fly out of the lines.

Continuous Dose

The next step is to control bioslime. Now that we have “reset” the system per se, it is easier to control the microbial population. This allows us to inject a much lower concentration of chlorine dioxide. Using the tank that we pulled the shock stock from, we can create a most dilute solution of chlorine dioxide. This allows us to keep the same injection rate.

Another example: if there is a high level of microbial population in your water, we would suggest that you inject at 1 ppm. This solution will flow through the system, even being applied to any plants under the system. But don’t worry! The ClO2 is not phytotoxic at this concentration. In fact, we have some research that shows it can actually benefit the plants! At this point, the only requirement is to replenish the stock concentration when it runs dry.

Protocol Perfection

Although SMT can make some strong suggestions concerning injection rate and frequency of shock treatments, you are the supreme expert on your system, and the needs of your greenhouse. Together, we can work together to tweak any existing protocols in order to best fit your needs. This will ensure the best results for your operation. If you would like to learn more about what a protocol might look like for your greenhouse, contact me, Zach, at 855.256.8299. 

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