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How to Prevent and Treat Root Rot in Hydroponics

3 Mins read

Preventing Root rot in hydroponics is probably one of the easiest things to get and to prevent. It’s the result of an unsterile environment and the right conditions.

What Causes Root Rot in Hydroponics?


In hydroponic systems, by over-watering the roots can be caused root rot. It can be tricky because hydroponic is growing plants in water and dissolved nutrients in the absence of soil.

Typically when using the Deep Water Culture system it is possible the root system to do not receive sufficient levels of oxygen. When roots do not get adequate oxygen they suffocate and slowly die. When the roots die, then the upper portion of the plant slowly deteriorates and dies.

Root rot is a major concern in hydroponics, just like it can be outdoors when soil conditions are constantly wet. Bacteria, fungi, and algae can all thrive in those conditions. Further this could leads to grow pathogenic bacteria and fungi. 

Once you get root rot on a plant, the roots will turn from a bright healthy white to a slimy brown. Pull all the rotted roots out and throw them in the trash. Your plant will grow new ones in a week or two.

Depending on the primary pathogen attacking the plant, symptoms of root disease can vary, but in general the term root rot covers all bases. Yellowing foliage with a droopy appearance, or roots that look brown slimy are some of the first signs of root rot in hydroponics systems, but in general as well. In some case the treatment can be complicated since what could work for one gardener may not work for another.


Treat Root Rot in Hydroponics System

How to Treat Root Rot in Hydroponics System


The best treatment is prevention. If you don’t fix the environmental causes of root rot, then it will just keep coming back no matter what you do. It’s also important to note that affected roots will likely never recover.

There are lots of supplements that can help you protect your plants against root rot.

In a hydroponic system, ensure that any dead roots, dead leaves or other types of plant debris doesn’t get into the reservoir because they will provide a breeding ground for bad bacteria as they start rotting.

It’s important to change your reservoir water regularly in order to prevent nutrient buildup as well as prevent any one type of bacteria from overgrowing the whole reservoir. 

Another way to help prevent and treat root-related plant diseases is by adding beneficial bacteria and other supplements to the water and help make nutrients available to the plant. More popular formulas that can be used for both hydro and soil grows available are Aquashield, Piranha, VooDoo Juice, Subculture B, Rooters, Great White and Plant Savers.

Prevention of Root Rot in Hydroponics Systems


One of the most tedious jobs in growing hydroponically is keeping a clean and sterile environment.

Keep your water temp below 68 degrees so the cold helps kill off the bad stuff and keep your water aerated with plenty of air stones. Add a beneficial bacillus strain that oxygenates the water. By adding beneficial bacillus strains, they are also out competing harmful strains once established.

Bad algae and bacteria live in 70+ degree water and thrive. Lack of air stones to aerate the water will cause the water to smell. That is from lack of air in the water. 

Below are few main ways to prevent and reduce root rot in hydroponics garden:

  • Keep Proper Temperature
  • Keep a sterile working environment
  • Add beneficial bacteria to your nutrient solution
  • Keep the roots dark
  • Provide good aeration levels
  • Monitor pests
  • Use healthy transplants
  • Prune back the roots

Root Rot in Hydroponics can be challenging but it is preventable. If using some of the most effective things you can do to minimize the possibilities of root rot in hydroponic systems are sterile technique, washed hands, gloves that go up your arm, and washed well and dried afterwards.

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