Naturally, coir is loaded with sodium & potassium and very low in calcium & magnesium. The nature of “buffering or treating” a coir product is to essentially swing the balance in favour of the calcium & magnesium and against the potassium and sodium. Very high sodium & potassium with very low calcium and magnesium is not good for your plants, whereas increased calcium & magnesium are quite the opposite – your plants love this. Plants also like a little potassium but the balance needs to be right & coir naturally has too much potassium. So essentially, without a good treatment of calcium & magnesium within your coir product, the potassium tends to cause an imbalance in your nutrient mix & tends to inhibit the uptake of calcium & magnesium.
This process is essentially referred to as buffering the cation-exchange capacity (CEC). The CEC is defined by the capacity the soil &/or coconut coir, to hold cations of all types which are positively charged particles. Without the CEC adjustment taking place during the manufacturing process, this adjusting of the CEC would not happen until the grower adds their nutrient / fertilizer solution, but this can take anywhere from 2-4 months because the calcium & magnesium concentrations in most feeding solutions are far less than what we add during the manufacturing process. Many growers buy additional solutions such as CalMag which injects a healthy shot of calcium & magnesium into your plants.
Whilst many coir companies do “buffer” their products, in most cases they use calcium nitrate which is a synthetic solution that not only reduces the “earth friendliness” of their product but it only provides a calcium boost, not a magnesium boost also.
California Substrates Coco Coir uses natural calcium & magnesium compounds from the earth so our product is 100% earth friendly. We inject a very healthy boost of both compounds to ensure when you plant in our Coco, you’ll see results from day one. This is the stage when you will see true differentiation between many other coir products – you will be able to hit your plants with an aggressive feeding schedule & see rapid growth from the first day.