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Hydroponics Roots, Part 2: Protect Your Investment

Hydroponics root rot sucks the life out of your plants! Hydroponics root rot sucks the life out of your plants!

In a previous article on hydroponics roots, we noted that because roots are out of sight, they are also out of mind for many hydroponics growers…and this is dangerous.

Why it is dangerous? Because hydroponics roots are the foundation of your crops, and there are a surprising number of problems that your roots can have…problems that can stunt growth, decrease yields and even kill your plants!

In the previous article, I shared with you how I had plant problems and tried everything to fix them - except I didn’t think about the plants’ roots.

Turns out the roots were rootbound (in pots that were too small for them). I then devised a system of transplanting my plants to successively larger pots and this fixed the problems completely.

But rootbound roots are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hydroponics plant problems. Indeed, if you’re relying on any kind of hydroponics system where water is reservoir stored, you really have to pay close attention or you could have problem roots that ruin your hydroponics dreams.

So let’s start with the obvious troubleshooting: do your plants look good and are they growing well?

Close observation of your hydroponics leaves is essential anyway. If you see curling, yellowing, large brown areas or other problems - and if those problems aren’t tied to hydroponics nutrients issues - it could be that your roots are in trouble.

Now take a look at your hydroponics reservoir, any equipment you have in it (such as pump and aerator), and the water itself. You want to see an absolutely clean situation: clear water, clean reservoir interior and exterior, no froth, slime or other goo anywhere.

If possible, examine your plants’ roots. This is easy if you’re using aeroponics, aquaponics and similar systems, but real hard if you’re using soil. What you’re looking for is vibrantly white (or cream-colored) roots that have no coating on them.

If you see brown roots, or roots that look like they have some goo on them, that’s trouble. It’s likely a sign of the evil “root rot” that can turn a happy hydroponics garden into a dead zone.

Fortunately, you can salvage your hydroponics plants if you catch the root rot before it takes hold too much. Even if you look at your hydroponics roots and see them dark brown and rotting away in front of your very eyes, you can do interventions that beat back the rot.

In the next article in this series I will give you surefire strategies for beating root rot, and for making sure it never happens in the first place. Just be aware that whether you’re growing in soil, rockwool, aeroponics, aquaponics, or any other root zone environment, your roots can be damaged by the fertilizers you use, the water you use, and your hydroponics practices. Stay tuned for additional important information soon.

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Root rot hits farmers too
Last modified on Thursday, 02 August 2012 17:30

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