Perhaps you can help me by giving me information on combating root rot in my hydroponic garden. This has just started about one month ago but I have lost many plants at this point. The culprit is root rot. How do I stop it? I love your magazine and have learned lots from it.
Lynn: Rot, or decomposition of the roots is caused by anaerobic conditions in the root sphere. If the grow area (especially at the roots) is cool in temperature the plants don’t take up water as fast and the roots choke from insufficient oxygen when surrounded by standing water. If growing in peat, raise the containers off the cold floor with wooden slats or steel mesh so that air and heat may circulate. Line the bottom of your containers with grow rocks or perlite to improve drainage. In recirculating hydroponic systems the culprit can be too that the nutrient solution is moving too slowly for the depth of water. If the room temperatures are too high, oxygen becomes deficient and disorders such as Pythium will travel and infect all the plants through the root zone. Pathogens introduced into the system are suspect if you don’t have any of the problems mentioned in the above. Some supplements help fortify the roots against infections. Some are products of fermentation such Rootshield, or beneficial bacteria such as Ascend. Some are plant extracts. Use a water chiller to combat high water or root temperatures, and an aquarium heater to prevent cold roots. U.V. sterilizers can help to defend against contaminants in the reservoir. Note that roots can die in intense light if they are not surrounded by 100% humidity. Any light leaking into the system?
Regards, Erik Biksa