Hydroponic root rot is worrying news for a single plant and all that form the hydroponic system. This can be a nightmare for hobbyists, farmers, or plant growers. Fortunately, the rotting can be stopped with the correct diagnosis and solution to the problem.
This article goes in-depth about the causes and solutions of hydroponic root rot.
- What Are the Reasons That Cause Root Rot in Hydroponic Plants?
- How Can You Prevent Roots from Rotting in Hydroponic Plants?
What Are the Reasons That Cause Root Rot in Hydroponic Plants?
The reasons that cause root rot in hydroponic plants are having plants with wounds, or the plants would be going through oxygen deficiency when they are growing. The surrounding heat also causes root rot, and lastly, when it has an unclean system or tools.
Hydroponic growers encounter obstacles typical farmers do not, from cannabis to cantaloupe. Hydroponics is a way of producing vegetables that do not require soil or natural sunlight. Plants are grown in trays or cups suspended in a water-based fertilizer rather than dirt. To absorb oxygen and nutrition, the roots grow into the water.
Because the roots are constantly immersed in a nutrient-rich water solution, root rot is the most serious difficulty farmers confront. As we will see, it is not the water that causes rotting but rather other variables.
– Plants with Wounds
When transplanting, wound roots enhance disease susceptibility. As a result, there is a greater risk of infection with fungus, oomycetes, bacteria, and even viruses. Remember that any wound in your plant, whether in the roots or the plant itself, is a path for plant diseases, but for this, the stem cuts and root injuries can cause wounds or accidentally squeezed leaves.
When roots are damaged, germs have access to nutrients, and they are the ones that thrive in so much that they take over the entire plant, and the roots would begin to rot. This is why most root rot symptoms appear in the upper plant, and you would notice that these symptoms include wilting, curling leaves, limited growth, and yellowing. The best way to prevent the disease is to ensure that plants do not get any wounds because that is the doorway to many problems.
Just as they get wounded, the fungal disease can get in, and the fungal-like organism Pythium would produce root rot, is the most prevalent root problem in hydroponic systems. Fusarium root and crown rot, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia are other fungal infections that might occasionally cause difficulties.
– Oxygen Deficiency
The main cause of hydroponic root rot is a lack of oxygen. Common signs of root rot in hydroponics include a bad odor in the tank and dark slimy roots, which indicate that oxygen is being denied to the plant’s roots, and it would be caused as the level of oxygen decreases, if you are wondering what causes root rot in hydroponics, this is one of the main reasons.
This is frequent in a passive deep water culture (DWC) and Kratky systems, in which roots are immersed in water for an extended period. Because the roots are suffocated by stagnant water, oxygen cannot enter the roots, preventing aerobic respiration—a vital mechanism in plants.
In addition, you must also remember that the moment when pumps that are too small will lead to root rot as well, and this is because they are too small in comparison to the size of the hydroponic system will induce root rot indirectly owing to an insufficient oxygen supply in the tank. Smaller pumps produce fewer bubbles, and so produce less oxygen. Roots cannot respire properly with less oxygen, resulting in root rot.
The causes include oxygen deficiency, lack of cleanliness, root wound, and many others. Plants that are submerged in water without oxygen are more likely to die. They also require a way and room to breathe, and this could be remedied by installing an air pump or ensuring the entire root system is not buried in water.
One of the main causes of root rot is a hydroponic fertilizer solution that exceeds 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is when the combination of hot water and heat creates an ideal environment for root-rotting bacteria to thrive. These microbes grow in damp soil and eventually smother and decay the roots of plants. Roots are also prone to decay when exposed to excessively damp circumstances for an extended period.
Temperature is critical in hydroponics, but you must notice that extremely high or low nutrient solution temperatures compromise plant cell membrane integrity and increase the likelihood of root disease. The solution’s dissolved oxygen decreases when the temperature rises, and here, as mentioned, a lack of oxygen leads to root rot. As a result, most growers advocate keeping the dissolved oxygen level at 6 ppm (mg/L).
– Any Unclean System or Tools
Using contaminated hydroponic nutrients, buckets, and garden machinery can induce root rot in a hydroponic system. A regular cleaning schedule is a useful method in hydroponic gardening. Regardless of your hydroponic system, it is critical to maintain your tools and containers clean because they might serve as a disease entry point.
How Can You Prevent Roots from Rotting in Hydroponic Plants?
You can prevent roots from rotting in hydroponic plants by having clean, disinfecting, and inspecting the surrounding, and you can include natural fungicides or bio fungicides. You can also replace the water, avoid disturbing the roots, use temperature control to avert root rot, and invest in a water chiller.
– Clean, Disinfect, and Inspect the Surrounding
From top to bottom, clean the entire growing area. Sanitize all components that come into contact with the growing fluid or the plants, including the reservoir, tubing, and trays. Before handling plants or equipment, workers and visitors must wash and sterilize their hands.
Remove any dead leaves or plant materials from the reservoir right away. They have the potential to promote pathogen development and need to be taken care of for preventing root rot. Moreover, you must also make sure to inspect seedlings for infections, especially the roots, before planting them in the garden. A single diseased plant can annihilate an entire crop.
– Include Bio Fungicides
Bio fungicides are live creature cultures that control pathogenic fungi and bacteria. It is combined with water and sprayed on using a sprayer. Beneficial bacteria devour or eliminate pathogens that cause root rot and other illnesses. About 20 species have been registered to treat root rot disease in food plants, and this way, you would avoid such a hazard.
– Include Oxygen in the Solution
The presence of dissolved oxygen is essential for root health, and using an aerator in the reservoir will increase the amount of dissolved oxygen. Lettuce, for example, needs 6 to 8 ppm of oxygen to grow, so being aware of the plant you have and what they require is a must. The best approach is to use an aerator and cool the water to increase the oxygen content.
However, purchasing a DO meter is unnecessary if you start with hydroponics or gardening for fun. This tool is more useful for commercial farmers. Knowing to keep your nutrition water cooler is enough for you!
– Use Natural Fungicides
Neem oil can be an effective technique to cure root rot. Aphids, mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, scales, beetles, leafhoppers, leafminers, lace bugs, caterpillars, and other eating insects are all attracted to neem. Because of its antibacterial characteristics, it is also excellent at removing fungi and mildews such as root rot, sooty mold, and powdery mildew, when it comes to dwd root rot.
Hydrogen peroxide is effective in curing root rot. By inhibiting fungi growth, hydrogen peroxide can aid in controlling fungal growth and infection, such as root rot. It can also aid in killing fungi and bacteria on plant roots.
You may also consider compounds such as chloropicrin or methyl bromide that can reduce infection and, in some cases, may even help prevent root rot. These fumigants are placed in and around the infected trees’ bases and in holes left after the trees have been removed.
– Replace the Water
When changing the water, one rule of thumb is that once you’ve topped up the reservoir enough times to match its capacity, it’s time to replace it so that you would see the addition of bio fungicides is ineffective. Moreover, it would also give the ability to maintain proper pH levels, and this matter can boost and maintain proper electrical conductivity levels.
Lastly, this would also help when your plants thrive in EC levels ranging from 1.2 to 2.0, but remember that some plants like pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. So now, what happens is that the EC is a nutrient measurement in water.
– Don’t Disturb the Roots of the Plants
The root system is quite fragile, so most gardeners would want to know how to avoid root rot in hydroponics this way. To avoid damage or infection, handle the roots as little as possible.
When it prevents light from entering the growing media, plug any crevices surrounding the plants. Sunlight and grow lamps can encourage the growth of dangerous bacteria, molds, and fungi. On your system, never utilize clear tubing or walls.
– Using Temperature Control To Avert Root Rot in Hydroponics
The primary reason for temperature regulation is to prevent diseases such as Pythium from multiplying and causing root rot. The capacity of the fungus to develop is reduced by chilling and keeping water temperatures at or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be difficult for producers in warmer areas.
Lower-temperature growing solutions include more oxygen and make sure that it won’t harm the vegetation. Hydroponic water chillers maintain a constant temperature in the growth solution for optimal oxygen absorption.
– Choosing a Water Chiller
Purchase the appropriate size chiller for your system, and you should be very detailed because this is what will help the plant have well-developed roots, so it must be simple to clean, and all parts must be made of non-corrosive materials.
In addition, portability is crucial to accommodate changing grow room configurations and to keep temperatures stable; use a dependable thermostat controller, in all cases. Smart and automated controls to remotely monitor the chiller
There is no silver bullet for fungus control in growing rooms; it all comes down to prevention. Keep an eye on your crops and inspect the roots and leaves regularly, and remember that:
- Biofungicides can help minimize Pythium and other fungi’s negative effects on edible plants. Maintaining low water temps is a good technique to reduce root troubles in hydroponic growing operations.
- You must use larger and stronger water pumps to provide enough oxygen for the roots in large hydroponic pots. Smaller hydroponic systems, require small pumps.
- A successful hydroponic harvest depends on adding oxygen, cleanliness, and a cool growing medium temperature.
- Chilling hydroponic water reservoirs are made simple by portable chillers and fluid channel cooling blankets. These mobile devices provide direct, even cooling to your hydroponic process while causing little inconvenience.
Hopefully, with this comprehensive guide, you will soon have a thriving hydroponic garden to show off.
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