Hydroponics is the process of growing plants and vegetables in liquid solutions. In most cases, little to no soil or sand is used during the growing process. The environment is controlled, and humidity levels become one of the most important aspects of the process. With liquid making up the majority of the environment, fungal and bacterial diseases present a serious threat to the vegetation. While some hydroponic diseases cause mild damage, some diseases can be detrimental, if not deadly, to the plant.
Pythium Root Rot
Phythium root rot is a water mold disease that attacks the roots of hydroponic plants. This fungal disease is transported by fungal spores that are carried from plant to plant by gnats and flies. Infected hydroponic plants develop root infections that cause the roots to decay and rot. Infected hydroponic systems will develop water mold. Infected plants will develop a discolored root system and experience dieback, growth stunt and wilt. Pythium root rot must be removed from the hydroponic system by sterilization. Fungicidal sprays are ineffective in treating infected plants, and those infected plants should be removed and discarded. Still, fungicidal treatments are effective in preventing the disease.
Bacterial wilt is a detrimental disease that kills hydroponic plants. This disease is transported by infected larva that rest around the hydroponic system. The bacterium enters the plants through its weakened and wounded areas. Upon entry, the bacterium infects the plant's xylem vessels, causing them to become clogged and discolored. The clogged vessels become unable to transport water and nutrients throughout the plant. As a result, the hydroponic plant experiences wilt, dieback, growth stunt and drooping, and eventually dies from the infection. Chemical treatments are ineffective in treating active infections; however, these treatments are effective in preventing an outbreak of the disease.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that is common to hydroponic plants. This water-loving disease requires damp, cool conditions to germinate. The disease is transported by wind, rain and cross-contamination near the hydroponic system. Plants that are infected with this disease develop small white spots on either side of the foliage. Progression of the disease causes an accumulation of white, coalesced spots. These spots appear as a white, fungal covering of mildew across the foliage. Severely infected foliage will experience decay, dieback and growth stunt from the lack of sun penetration to the leaves. Powdery mildew is easily cured with a fungicidal treatment that is designed for the disease. Fungicidal treatments are also effective in preventing the infection.