How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated: 08/01/2021

Although rewarding, maintaining a hydroponics garden can present a few challenges. Among these are hydroponic root rots, which may eventually cause plant death. Hydroponic growers are likely to experience this condition at least once in their lives, so knowing how to prevent it is crucial for optimal plant growth. In addition, it is highly practical to learn about an effective treatment after your plants have been affected by it. Even though many people advise disposing of plants immediately, the truth is that it isn’t always the case. Therefore, now we need to ask: how do we treat root rotting? Can your plants even be salvaged?

The end of your crops isn’t inevitable when it comes to hydroponic root rot. You can still cure your infected plants with simple methods. However, preventative measures should always be in place. Knowing this phenomenon’s causes can help you avoid it in the future.

We will describe hydroponics root rot in this article, explain how to diagnose if your plants have it, and give you tips on preventing and treating it. Moreover, we will provide additional tips for maintaining a healthy hydroponics garden.

What is Root Rot?

root rot prevention for hydroponicsRoot rot associated with hydroponics refers to an important threat to crops grown hydroponically. In general, it is a term used to describe the damage caused by water overexposure to the roots of plants.

The roots can be infected by mold, fungi, or bacteria, especially slightly damp. A plant that has been infected will find it difficult to have access to nutrients and water. Therefore, causing further damage and possibly even death due to nutrient deficiency. In hydroponics gardens indoors, this disease occurs due to poor circulation. A setup outside is also not guaranteed to be 100% secure.

Diagnosing Root Rot

It is important to observe your hydroponic plants closely – from their leaves to their roots – to diagnose root rot. The disease leaves tell-tale signs that can assist you in determining if your crops have been affected by it, and you should pay attention to these. If you want to treat root rot properly, you need to give yourself plenty of time. The sooner you diagnose this, the better.

Start by inspecting the leaves to see if they are starting to yellow or drying out. Unhealthy or dead leaves are one of the signs of root rot. You should immediately carry out an inspection of plant roots when you see these. Slimy and tangled, the infected roots are already turning dark brown.

You can also smell the roots to determine whether they are rotten. You may have a diseased plant if it emits a strange smell and shows the signs outlined above.
A quick note. Natural discolorations may occur on brown roots caused by nutrient staining. Therefore, concluding that your plants suffer from root rot based solely on discolored roots is not necessarily correct.

Causes of Root Rot

Poor circulation and insufficient water movement are two factors that contribute to root rot. As a result, oxygen levels in your hydroponics system decrease, which could cause plant death. You must remember that plants breathe too, just like any living thing.

Hydroponic root rot can be caused by a variety of other factors as well. In other cases, infected transplants, contaminated nutrient solutions, and pests could also be contributing factors. Hence, we have to take preventive measures before the disease becoming severe. In the next section, we will explain these measures in more detail.

Root Rot Prevention

Generally, a hydroponic system must be kept clean and healthy. Roots are nourished and oxygenated properly when this happens. This will prevent your entire plant from being infected with hydroponic root rot. Here is a checklist that you can use to minimize the occurrence of root rot.

Maintaining A Sterile Environment

Cleanliness is important in a hydroponics system. This includes more than removing dead plant matter and organizing your tools. Ensure that your system is decontaminated, your equipment is sterilized, and no breeding ground exists for harmful bacteria and unwanted pathogens. Additionally, keep your hydroponic nutrient solution safe by making sure that it’s free from toxic chemicals.

Regular Cutting of Roots

To ensure that dissolved oxygen and nutrient solutions pass through your system smoothly, cut your roots regularly. These essential needs are sometimes blocked by large roots, which could negatively affect some crops.

No To Extreme Temperatures

Warmer water can foster the growth of bacteria. You must maintain the right temperature to prevent this; it should not exceed 24 degrees Celsius. It is more difficult for pathogen growth to survive in a cool reservoir.

Make sure you have proper ventilation or use hydroponic chillers if you live in a warm region. For those using an outdoor setup, make sure the hydroponic reservoir water is in a shady area.

Selecting the Right Pump

It is vital to have an oxygen-rich environment for the roots of a hydroponic setup since this could promote healthy roots. A reliable pump and air stones are the easiest ways to promote aeration.

Using Opaque Materials

You must protect your roots from light since bad bacteria love light. Use opaque materials with dark colors for your grow bed as a preventative measure. Your roots could be less exposed to light if this happens.

Promote Beneficial Bacteria

To grow a healthy plant, add beneficial root bacteria to your system. In turn, this should reduce the risk of them getting sick. Taking vitamins and supplements is synonymous with this root treatment.

Treatment For Root Rot

Getting rid of your infected plant may not always be the best solution. Decide whether your crops are worth preserving first. You can probably save it if you have just a small portion that is infected. Early-stage root rot is usually treatable with the following methods:

Halt Hydroponic Operations

You should turn off your hydroponics production when you observe root rot on your plants. Contaminated water supplies can also cause the disease. In addition to removing infected plants, you might also infect other healthy crops sooner or later. As a result, it would be best to pause your system.

Wash and Trim Roots

The process of cleaning your plant roots consists of two steps. First of all, you must thoroughly clean it with water to remove all debris and unnecessary materials. Then you can gently trim away the dead roots from the healthier roots.

Clean Your Hydro Setup

You should thoroughly clean your hydroponic system. By draining the entire nutrient solution in your nutrient reservoir, you can start. Additionally, the grow bed should be checked and cleaned. Root rot can also be caused by dead plant material and organic matter that are lying around.

After carrying out the steps above, you can now reinstall your hydroponics system. To prevent the disease, be sure to follow the prevention measures discussed in the previous section. Instead of throwing away plants that you could not save, we recommend using them as compost.


When you know the right techniques, you can prevent hydroponic root rot. Fortunately, some solutions can save already infected crops. You can improve the quality of your hydroponics garden by employing the right knowledge. To conclude this article, we would like to leave you with a couple of tips.