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Root Rot

Root rot is the archnemesis of the hydroponic gardener. If left untreated, root rot can spread like wildfire and quickly disrupt natural patterns of growth. At the extreme, root rot even has the potential to devastate a crop and leave nothing but the withered and maimed structure of once happily growing plants. Root rot, or pythium, is a fungal root disease that can be identified in a variety of crops. This issue is likely caused by a lack of drainage, oxygen, or the unmitigated presence of moisture in the root zone. Root rot will cause a plant to wilt, become sickly, and cease the uptake of water and liquid nutrients. 

Caused By: 

  • Bad Bacteria 
  • Poorly Oxygenated Root Zone
  • Lack of Drainage 
  • High Water Temperatures

Solution: Root Builder and/or Hydr-Ox 

Note: Hydro-Ox is only available for purchase in Canada. 

Root Builder is our root zone inoculant comprised of specifically selected beneficial bacillus bacteria, while Hydr-Ox is a highly concentrated oxygen additive that promotes healthy plant growth and maintenance by sterilizing and suppressing diseases in your grow environment. Use Hydr-Ox to neutralize harmful bacteria. Afterward, reintroduce beneficial bacteria back into the root zone with Root Builder.

How They Work

After identifying the characteristics and causes of root rot, it’s time to treat the problem at the source. For plants in hydroponic systems, consider implementing an emergency reservoir maintenance program. This process will involve stripping the roots of disease with high-strength hydrogen peroxide, followed by stimulating root growth with Root Builder. In the book, The Grower’s Handbook: Teachings of the Garden Sage, David Robinson describes this maintenance program. Follow the chart below for tips on treating root disease: 


H202 or 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide at 3ml per gallon
300 – 400 PPM food and root stimulating product
700 – 800 PPM food and root stimulating product
12 – 24 hours 1 – 2 days 2 – 4 days
(Robinson, 2012, p. 96)

The program above will likely cause some stress, however, it’s best to deal with the problem directly, rather than limping your crop through the final weeks of harvest. After the final stage of the program, the root zone will have returned to its original, your plants will have resumed their regular feeding routines, and the previously destructive root disease will have vanished. This program can also be used in drain-to-waste systems for plants in potting soil, coco, and rockwool. 

Use and Concentration 

Use Hydr-Ox at a rate of 1-2 ml/L (4-8 ml/gal), and Root Builder at a rate of 1.25 ml/L (5 ml/Gal). Apply at the recommended rates when you suspect the development of root disease. 

The best way to treat root rot is to completely avoid it. So remember, quality controls like resistant genetics, stable systems, care, and consistency all play an important role in treating and preventing root rot. Need support in the garden? GreenPlanet is here to help! For more information on the products or information mentioned in this article, contact your GreenPlanet representative directly, or your local garden supply store. 

Contact Us Today About Your Issue

Plants can be affected by a wide spectrum of variables. If you’re unsure about the many factors that hinder or prevent maximum yields, contact us today with a brief description of your issue.

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