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How to Prevent Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

If the plant roots within a hydroponic system show signs of deterioration or discoloration, root rot is likely the problem. Hydroponics operates on the principle of recirculation of both water and air within the system. This enclosed system, while having numerous advantages, also presents an opportunity for the growth of pathogens such as pythium and fusarioum. Prevent root rot in your hydroponic system with proper sterilization techniques.

Sterilize all components of the hydroponic system before placing the plant in the system. Use a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to 3 gallons of water to cleanse the exterior and interior of the system.

Add 1 tbs. of hydrogen peroxide to the water to be used within the reservoir of the hydroponics system. The peroxide is a natural combatant against pathogens that cause root rot.

Ensure that any seedling placed in the hydroponic system has a healthy root system. If the root system shows any sign of damage or discoloration, discard the plant.

Test the system to ensure the water is moving at a rate sufficient to move all the water within the system during a pumping cycle. If the water is too slow to circulate, it becomes vulnerable to pathogens that then infect the roots.

Add 1 tbs. of hydrogen peroxide to the water every four days. Peroxide dissipates within a relatively short period. To maintain a steady supply, add the peroxide regularly.

Disinfect the tank and feed tubes of the hydroponic system when renewing the nutrient and water supplies. Use the same solution used when first setting up the system. Rinse the tank and tubes thoroughly before adding water and nutrients.

Monitor the plant in the hydroponic system. Look for wilting leaves, soft stems or failure to flower. If any of these symptoms manifest, carefully check the root system. If the roots display symptoms indicating early onset of root rot, take steps to fend off the pathogens.

Remove the plant from the system and sterilize the system. Gently dip the plant roots in a solution of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 5 gallons of clean water.

Add 1 tbs. of hydrogen peroxide to the water in the reservoir of the system and then replace the plant in the system. Continue to monitor the plant for signs of improvement.

Maintain the hydroponic system by regularly adding hydrogen peroxide, consistently cleaning the systems when renewing the water and nutrients, and maintaining a clean garden area.


Always wash your hands before handling the plants in hydroponic systems. Avoid placing hydroponic systems near soil gardens or container gardens.

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