Root Rot and Plant Maintenance
Health and Maintenance
Marijuana is a pretty self-sustaining plant once you get all the equipment and devices put into place. After that, if you make sure to put just a small amount of effort checking on them regularly, you shouldn’t have to do much at all for your entire grow. On the other hand, if you aren’t taking note of what your plants are trying to tell you because you haven’t taken the time to become familiar with them, you might have big trouble in little closet and not even know it.
Here are some of the major problems hydroponic growers can run into like root rot and how to prevent them. I actually lost my first grow to root rot, so I know from experience how nasty it can be. I also talk about what sorts of things you can do on a daily and weekly basis to help you recognize warning signs and prevent them from becoming catastrophes.
Root rot is the most notorious challenge of growing with a hydroponics system. As I mentioned, I have personally lost an entire crop because root rot got into my plants’ root structure and destroyed them from the inside out. Nothing is more disheartening than putting a lot of time, effort, and money into watching your ladies grow, only to watch helplessly as they are pillaged by merciless bacteria.
Once root rot gets into a root system, it is very difficult to get it out. In a lot of hydroponic grows, multiple plants will have their roots interwoven between each other. This means that if root rot infects one plant, it is almost inevitable that it reaches the other plants as well. It’s effectiveness at corrupting live tissue and its ability to spread efficiently are what make root root so devastating.
Fortunately, root rot is a much easier to prevent altogether rather than ousting once its arrived. That’s because root rot thrives in acidic, low-oxygen environments. Naturally, this means you want a pH balanced, highly oxygenated nutrient solution to defend your plants from root rot completely.
There are 3 very easy ways to accomplish the task of keeping your system rot free. They are:
- Use Multiple Air Stones
I use 2 air stones, one on each side of my nutrient solution to make sure there is a large concentration of oxygen in the water.
- Add Hydrogen Peroxide
Adding hydrogen peroxide daily fills the tank with oxygen at every corner giving rot nowhere to escape. This isn’t a method I use personally because I’m not sure if hydrogen peroxide has any effect, but some growers swear by it.
- Use a Natural Enzyme
You can get enzymes which you add to your nutrient solution that serve as a natural barrier for your plants from root rot. The enzymes feed on any development of bacteria that might otherwise damage your plant’s roots. I have used Cannazym ever since my first grow when I lost everything, and I haven’t had root rot since.
Just remember that a little preventive measure can reap a lot of benefit, so do everything you can to make sure root rot never enters the gates of your cannabis heaven.
One wise piece of advice I can give is to keep your plant’s environment as stable as possible. The amount of water your plants have access to is another one of these factors.
This is something I neglected for a couple of grows because I didn’t realize what it was doing to my plants. I was waiting until the water level got down to 2 or 3 gallons (down from 5), then just giving it water every now and then to make sure it didn’t dry out.
Then, when it came time to clean the tank, I would put 5 gallons in again after I put the plants back into the system. They would often immediately droop over after that and appear somewhat lifeless (though still very green). I finally figured out that I was overwatering them when I put them back in because they were getting used to the 2-3 gallons of water, not the 5 gallons.
Keeping my water levels stable and not varying outside of that by any more than a gallon has completely eliminated the problem. No longer are my plants getting shocked and having their growth greatly stunted.
Regular maintenance is undoubtedly the easiest and most cost-effective part of growing marijuana. All it takes is an ounce of discipline to greatly increase your overall success.
These are some minimum level suggestions I would give in regards to maintaining your plants.
- Pay attention to the color of your plant’s leaves, and look for any obvious discoloration. Also inspect for any apparent trauma or damage. As you do this, changes will become more noticeable and give powerful hints to any possible problems ahead.
- Check the water level and make sure it’s at an appropriate level. This can be as quick as a glance if you mark the inside of your nutrient tank with a fill line showing where the normal water level should be.
- Check the temperature and humidity. I use a digital thermometer/hygrometer that I leave in the grow room at all times, so checking it is only another 2 seconds.
- Measure the pH of the nutrient solution. You want to maintain pH of 5.5 – 6.5, so if your outside that range, you’ll want to fix it immediately and give your plants access to nutrients again.
- Clean the hydroponics system and replace the water. Minerals and sediment will build up on the sides of your tank and in other parts of your system like the water pump and air stones. Keeping them clean maximizes their output and minimizes any potential effect on your plants. I use a 10% bleach/water solution for cleaning; don’t use pure bleach!
- Give your plants nutrients. When I first started growing, I was feeding my plants every other day. This is a bad idea because overfeeding causes nutrient burn and hinders growth. Now that I use GH Flora Series though, I just follow the weekly feeding schedule and it has worked out beautifully. I add nutrients 24 hours after I replace their water and clean the tank out to give them 1 day of pure fresh water and flush their systems a little.
So here’s the breakdown. I spend about 5-10 minutes a day looking over the plants and their condition. I will fix any problem that looks like it might be developing, which might add a little time. I spend another half hour or so weekly cleaning the tank and replacing the water. That means all and all, I spend roughly 10 hours of time for each grow. Very easy stuff if you stay aware of the health and well-being of your system.
One last recommendation I have for keeping your plants in pristine condition is getting this guide. It puts all the relevant information in one place, so if you do run into any issues that aren’t covered inside my free guide, you’ll actually have somewhere reliable to turn to. You can always contact me too, and I will try my best to answer your questions.
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