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Understanding root rot in hydroponic gardening.

Welcome to Green Grins gardening! In this blog post, we will be covering everything that you will need to know about spotting, treating and preventing root rot.

This blog post will be focused on understanding root rot in hydroponic gardening.

What is root rot?

One of gardening’s greatest enemies is root rot which is a common disease found in both indoor and outdoor plants.

Root rot takes place when the outer layer of the root (Epidermis) dies off due the lack of oxygen in an overly moist environment or an overly dry environment, leaving the inner tissue (Cortex) exposed and unprotected to bacteria and fungi. The infected area can spread, destroying an entire root system and in many cases, lead to the death of the plant.

An interesting fact about root rot.

The bacteria or pathogens responsible for root rot are already on your plant. Just like humans, plants have a natural defense against these pathogens. For this reason, understanding the conditions that cause root rot becomes crucial to your gardening experience.

Identifying root rot.

Plants that are infected can show these signs:

  • Leaves start to show signs of yellowing.

  • Growth of the plant is much slower than expected.

  • The plant gives off a wilted appearance.

  • Stems are soft to the touch.

  • Black spots are found on leaves.

It is good to understand that seeing these signs individually may not mean your plant is suffering from root rot. However, if more than one sign is seen, it is highly recommended to check the roots of your plant.

The difference between a healthy root system and a system with root rot.

  • A darker brown colour.

  • The roots will give off a pungent smell.

  • Soft to the touch and can easily be pulled off.

Treating root rot.

If you manage to catch root rot at its earliest stages, you will be able to save the plant by treating the root system. If you choose to treat the plant, here are the steps you can take.

  • Remove the plant from the hydroponics holder.

  • Wash the roots under running water.

  • Trim away infected roots with disinfected scissors.

  • Add 3 ml of 29% hydrogen peroxide to the plant's reservoir and let the plant sit in the solution for 24 hours.

  • Drain and replace with water and let roots sit for another 24 hours.

  • Drain the water and replace with appropriate nutrient solution.

  • Re-pot the plant.

Preventing root rot from occurring in a hydroponics system.

Root rot occurs when the outer layer of the root that protects the inside from pathogens dies off due to a lack of oxygen. Here are two common ways that root rot could occur in your system.

  • There is not enough aeration in the reservoir which leads to the lack of oxygenated water in certain parts of the system.

  • The root crown is planted too low which could get soaked and drown the plant.

Treat infections promptly: If you notice any signs of root rot, such as yellowing leaves, wilting, or a foul odor, take action immediately. Remove any affected plant material, and treat the remaining plant with a fungicide to prevent the infection from spreading.

By following these tips, you can help prevent root rot and keep your plants healthy and thriving. Remember that prevention is key, so take care to provide your plants with the right conditions to prevent this common problem.


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