Using The Alkalinity Calculator

Using The Alkalinity Calculator

If you have tried to use the Greenhouse Media Lab Acid Addition Calculator, the alkalinity calculator from Purdue University and North Carolina State University in the last couple years, you may be disappointed that it no longer worked. The problem lies in the fact that when Microsoft updated Excel, the alkalinity calculator was no longer compatible with the program’s latest version.

Fortunately, a solution was developed with the support of the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation. If you’ve never used the alkalinity calculator, then welcome to the redesigned alkalinity calculator, AlkCALC.

AlkCALC is an application that easily calculates the amount of nitric, phosphoric or sulfuric acid required to neutralize alkalinity in your irrigation water to a desired level. In addition, it will determine the amount of nutrients added by acid injection and the cost of your specific acid injection needs.

Getting Started

Unlike previous alkalinity calculators, AlkCALC does not need to be downloaded from the Internet. It is embedded into a website: www.nhfloriculture.com. You will be directed to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Greenhouse and Floriculture homepage. On the left-hand navigation bar, click on “Grower Tools” (Figure 1). This will take you to the GroCALC page that gives you the choice of three different calculators (AlkCALC, FertCALC, and PGRCALC). Clicking on the AlkCALC logo will start AlkCALC (Figure 2).

Safety & Retesting Tips

Acids can be very dangerous when handled improperly. Always wear proper face, hand and body protection when handling acids. When mixing acid be sure to always add acid to water, not water to acid. The addition of acid through an injector system requires a dedicated injector or a twin head injector. Depending on the type and amount of acid you use, a significant amount of nutrients may be added to your water (nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur). Be mindful of this nutrient addition and alter your fertilizer program accordingly. Retest your water three to four weeks after starting to inject acid to confirm you are obtaining the desired results. Subsequent water tests should be done one or two times each year.

AlkCALC is easy to use. Upon opening the program, you will need to input less than 10 items of information (Figure 3). Enter your company’s name and your name, and these will be carried though to the results. The next information AlkCALC needs is the pH and alkalinity of your water. You will need to do your own pH and alkalinity tests, or send a water sample to a testing lab. Notice there is a drop-down menu to the right of the input box for alkalinity. This menu will allow you to choose the appropriate unit of measure that your alkalinity test was conducted in: meq/L, ppm HCO3, or ppm CaCO3.

Next, input the desired level of alkalinity or desired pH of your irrigation water after acid addition. Again, there is a drop-down menu to select the unit of choice. Finally, the last selection you need to make is the type of acid you wish to use. AlkCALC can use one of eight commonly used acids: phosphoric (75 or 85 percent), nitric (61.4 or 67 percent) and sulfuric (35, 50, 66 and 96 percent). Choose your acid, or if you want to make a comparison, choose “all acid types”). Now that all the appropriate information has been provided, click on “submit” to have AlkCALC make your calculations.

The next screen you see will display the information you input on the previous screen, as well as the calculated alkalinity and pH values of the water after the addition of the recommended acid amount. The most important information, the amounts of acid to mix with your irrigation water, is found mid-page. To obtain a print copy, click on the “print report” button at the bottom of the page and the results will be displayed in a printer-friendly format.
If you wish to store your results electronically, AlkCALC will create a PDF of the results if you click on “print PDF.” You will then be prompted to open the file in a PDF viewer in which you can save the file, or save it directly to a user-specified folder on your computer.

AlkCALC will also estimate the cost of acid addition in your situation. By selecting the “cost comparison” tab at the top of the output screen, you can input your cost for each acid and AlkCALC will calculate the cost of treating 1,000 gallons or liters of water.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Using The Alkalinity Calculator

  1. The given SW is too good. But sometimes if we want to give solution on field, where online(net)facility generaly not available ?( talking abt India), then a xls file would have been much better.
    So I request to Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation to develop this format.
    I gratefully appreciate this noble work that you have done.

    Again I appreciate towards authers Mr. Brian Whipker and Brian A. Krug and Mr. Allen Hammer.

  2. The given SW is too good. But sometimes if we want to give solution on field, where online(net)facility generaly not available ?( talking abt India), then a xls file would have been much better.
    So I request to Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation to develop this format.
    I gratefully appreciate this noble work that you have done.

    Again I appreciate towards authers Mr. Brian Whipker and Brian A. Krug and Mr. Allen Hammer.

More From Plant Culture...
Heating Roundup Feature Image

August 1, 2015

5 New Heating Options For The Greenhouse

Five heating systems manufacturers share their latest and greatest products. Tubing And Aluminum Heat Pipes (BioTherm) From Megatube and MicroClimate tubing to DuoFin and StarFin aluminum heat pipe, BioTherm is dedicated to providing heat solutions that can withstand the toughest greenhouse environments. The MegaTube and MicroClimate tubing options are easy to install and ideal for bench or floor heating. The tubing has a conductive heating surface that allows for maximum root-zone heating. The DuoFin and StarFin aluminum pipe options are great for perimeter heating and melting snow trapped in the greenhouse gutter. It can also be useful for bench heating. Both pipe options provide gentle, radiant heat for plants and don’t require welding. TrueLeaf.net Infinite Energy 2 Condensing Boiler (Delta T Solutions) With up to 98 percent efficiency, the IE2 condensing boiler boasts a stainless steel heat exchanger with larger waterways to ensure maximum heat transfer. The product’s design ensures flexibility while […]

Read More
Basil_Persian-AAS2015_620x329

July 31, 2015

All-America Selections Promotes Garden-Fresh Cooking

All-America Selections (AAS) has stepped forward with another first when promoting AAS Winners, this time in the form of cooking videos using vegetables/edibles that have performed extremely well in the AAS Trials. These days, a love of gardening is directly related to a passion for cooking. Tying the two together is a natural when marketing joys of cooking with fresh vegetables from the garden and farm market. After 82 years of conducting trials where only the best performers are declared AAS Winners, the organization now has more than 325 individual varieties that have been “Tested Nationally & Proven Locally.” It is some of these many varieties that culinary storyteller, entertainer and horticulture industry veteran Jonathan Bardzik will use in a series of five videos demonstrating cooking techniques with AAS Winning herbs and vegetables. “I am excited to partner with All-America Selections to show people across the country that AAS Winners perform […]

Read More
Burpee Home Gardens Brand Adds Flowers

July 31, 2015

4 Reasons Retailers Snub National Brands

Greenhouse Grower’s lead editor, Laura Drotleff, and I got into a debate about why garden retailers, especially independent garden centers, snub marketing efforts from breeders and growers. She was very much on the breeders’ and growers’ side, expressing frustration about how limited retailers’ vision can be on the topic. I’ve reported on the garden retail side of the industry since 1998, about the same length of time Laura has reported on growers. I’ve heard a lot of retailer views on this, so allow me to share the most common reasons why retailers decline free marketing: Costs. While the marketing materials are free, and sometimes advertising, participating in these projects usually requires minimum orders. From a grower’s perspective, the minimum orders are reasonable. If garden stores promote a plant line, they need to have enough supplies to satisfy demand. From a retail perspective, if inventory reports show a plant line can […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Mike McGroarty, owner of Mike’s Backyard Nursery

July 29, 2015

Backyard Success: Mike McGroarty Educates Aspiring Grow…

Mike’s Backyard Nursery sits on a long, narrow, 5-acre property located in Perry, Ohio. There, customers can find a variety of flowering shrubs available, all in 2-quart pots, and all for sale for $5.97 each. Owner Mike McGroarty, a lifelong resident of Perry, says the town has a lot of plant nurseries, including 100 wholesale growers within a 10-mile radius of his house. That doesn’t discourage McGroarty, because he knows that while there are a lot of nurseries in his area, no one else is doing what he is doing. McGroarty has learned about plants — and marketing them to his audience — through decades of experience. He has never hesitated to pass along his knowledge to other growers looking to start their own backyard operations, and has created an entire program to educate aspiring growers. McGroarty Likes To Practice What He Preaches McGroarty’s operation serves as the laboratory for […]

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

June 27, 2015

Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabi…

As most growers know well, the federal government regulates all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other commercial chemicals used on agricultural crops. Therein lies the problem with use of chemicals on cannabis crops – so far, the feds want nothing to do with legalized marijuana. According to “Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabis,” a June 17 article on the National Public Radio (NPR) network by Agribusiness Reporter Luke Runyon, the lack of regulated chemicals for cannabis has left growers to experiment on their own. “In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” said Colorado State University Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw in the NPR report. “Sometimes they’ve used some things that are appropriate, sometimes unsafe.” Denver officials held tens of thousands of marijuana plants earlier this year due to safety concerns, but […]

Read More
Great-spangledFritillary

June 16, 2015

The Butterfly Effect: Insect’s Wings Key To Azalea Poll…

A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies — and specifically, their wings — are the key to pollination. The flame azalea is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from as far north as New York to Georgia in the south. Like most azaleas, the flowers are large, and have an unusual structure: both the anther (male) and stigma (female) parts are very elongated and separated from one another. NC State biologist Mary Jane Epps was interested in how the azalea’s flower structure affected its pollination. “In order for a plant to reproduce, a pollinator — usually an insect — has to spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma,” Epps says. “In the case of the flame azalea, […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Poi…

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Infusion Technology Boosts Seed Performance, Study Sugg…

Seven-year-old wheat seed germination can increase by as much as 83 percent, according to a Vital Force Technology Study that looks at the effects of energy infusion technology on plant vitality.

Read More

February 3, 2015

American Floral Endowment Accepting Research Pre-Propos…

If you are pursuing a floriculture research project, now is the time to apply for funding through the American Floral Endowment. Research pre-proposal applications for 2015-2016 funding are due to AFE by June 1, 2015.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Marijuana’s Trajectory And Ascent To Horticultural Cr…

Marijuana growing is poised for change as growers and researchers focus on improving production practices.

Read More

December 9, 2014

Greenhouse Production: Two Years Of Basics & Beyond…

Greenhouse Grower's Basics & Beyond articles cover some of the latest news and research going on in greenhouse production. Here are article links for the last two years.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

November 24, 2014

GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile &…

The social garden app GrowIt! takes the Gold Winner award at the design100 2014 Mobile & App Design Awards.

Read More

November 10, 2014

The Perennial Farm Joins HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The Perennial Farm joins the HGTV HOME Plant Collection growers' network for 2015.

Read More
AmericanHort

November 4, 2014

AmericanHort Publishes Revised American Standard For Nu…

AmericanHort announces the revised American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1) is now available for industry use. The Standard reflects the consensus of the industry regarding how nursery stock — living plants other than annuals — should be specified and sold within the trade.

Read More

September 26, 2014

Master The Art Of Watering

Watering is elemental to healthy plants, but one of the hardest concepts for new employees to master in the greenhouse. Recommend these tips to start them off right.

Read More

September 16, 2014

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas Facility Provides Gro…

Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas farm in Esteli, Nicaragua, is one year away from full production, but sales and quality from the two-year-old facility are right on track.

Read More
Erysimum 'Cheers' from Darwin Perennials

September 15, 2014

Darwin Perennials Takes Production Offshore In Bogota, …

With its recent purchase of a farm in Colombia, Darwin Perennials is ready to amp up supply of its perennial genetics, to provide growers with tried-and-true varieties and comprehensive production specifications.

Read More

July 23, 2014

Plan Now To Prevent Bract Edge Burn On Poinsettias

Reduce fertilizer and water, and allow your poinsettias to develop slowly during the final four weeks of production to avoid bract edge burn.

Read More

July 11, 2014

Growing Your Crops Above Their Base Temperature

Lowering temperature set points in the greenhouse may help you combat rising heating costs.

Read More

May 1, 2014

Growers Report Nutritional Problems On Geraniums

In recent weeks, several growers have contacted Michigan State University Specialists about leaf discoloration on geraniums, especially the purpling of lower leaves.

Read More