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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your garden.


Five tips for maintaining healthy plant roots

Maintaining healthy roots is essential if you want your plant to survive. Photo credit: Progrow

We mainly focus on the plant part above the ground and forget the roots that plants use to obtain nutrients and water from the soil.Indoor plants usually absorb nutrients through osmosis using the roots because feeding through the leaves is complicated.

Below are some of the key issues witnessed in damaged roots, and what can be done to fix the problems and obtain a healthy plant.

1. pH disproportion

The substrate pH affects your plant because there are certain levels that a plant can reach and begin to absorb nutrients excessively or in deficiency.

For a healthy plant, the nutrient solution should maintain a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and up to 7.0 for coco substrate. Exceptionally high or low pH makes the plant absorb some nutrients in excess and others in low quantities, resulting in this imbalance.

What can be done?

The pH needs regular checking; in particular, you can test the flow-over to know the situation state.

Buy a pH test kit or a Bluelab pen to regularly test the pH for your plant's healthy growth. These pH kits are regulated by buffers to keep them accurate.

2. Bound roots

Pots filled with soil can make the roots get tied together and trapped. For fibrous root, you have to make sure the plant has adequate space to grow within the pot. Taproots may want to go deeper in search of nutrients just to find the bottom of the pot barring it.

What can be done?

For plants you want to stay in pots, you should ensure they have adequate space for the roots to grow to maturity. Plants should be regularly fed within the soil to avoid the roots sneaking out or binding themselves. Progrow encourages air-pots for efficient pruning of the roots to prevent this problem altogether.

3. Rotting roots

A root rot can kill your plant when it's not attended to in good time, so is the worst nightmare for hydroponic growers. Some reasons for root rotting can be:

  • Stagnant water with limited oxygen at 20 degrees Celsius or above

  • Pythium presence in the water

  • Temperature changes in the substrate with poor drainage.

Rot can be detected by brown and stinky roots. Attend to your plant as soon as possible!

What can be done?

To regulate the temperature in the summer, you can use chillers for controlling water heat. You should maintain a low of 16 degrees and a high of 18 degrees for your water temperature. More heat equals less oxygen.

Properly sterilising your plastics, syringes and meters often is recommended. If you don't want to risk plant-after-plant failure, consider buying other materials anew from a supplier such as Progrow.

4. Fungus gnats

These black flies produce larvae that eventually begin to digest the roots. Take care of these flies, which are found mainly in the water while watering.

What can be done?

Put gluey traps all over your pot to catch the adult flies, but the larvae need a root drench to be taken care of.

5. Under or overwatering

Putting too much water on your plant results in lower leaves drooping and turning yellow. Hydroponic growers find themselves using much water, primarily with young plants that need a steady increase in the water intake as they grow. Underwatering causes wilting of leaves and affects the whole plant.

What can be done?

Over-watered plants will not require more water because you have to drain or let the plant take it up. If you use a pot with soil, try lifting it and approximating the weight change until all the water is out. For an under-watered plan, just water it in shifts until saturation is achieved.




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