Dangers Of Root Rot When Using Hydroponic Systems

root rot

Root rot can occur in both indoor and outdoor plants; however, it’s more common in indoor systems with poor drainage. While hydroponic systems have many advantages, chances increase that your plants will experience issues with root health.

What is Root Rot?

It is a water-borne disease that damages the roots, causing them to rot and eventually die off. Root rot often occurs due to poor drainage and overwatering. Excess water prevents the roots from getting the air they need to thrive. Unfortunately, root rot is lethal for plants, as there isn’t an effective treatment. Due to the lack of treatment options, it’s important to take preventative measures in order to avoid losing your plants.

Root issues in Hydroponic Systems

Root rot commonly occurs in hydroponic systems that are not properly aerated. These problems eventually led to the creation of alternative systems such as aeroponics and the hydro-aero hybrid Grow Tray System from Whole Plant Technologies.

Root rot in hydroponic systems can be identified by:

  • Wilting
  • Burned spots on leaves
  • Brown, sickly roots

In hydroponic systems, you often won’t see many symptoms on the leaves and upper plants themselves. When you look into the hydroponic trays, if you see brown, slimy roots, you may have a problem with root rot.


  1. Oxygen – Get as much oxygen as possible dissolved into your water, or switch to a system that uses aeroponic technology to aerate plant roots. Roots need an oxygen-rich environment to thrive in, which is important regardless of the grow system.
  2. Temperature – Warm water creates an environment for bacteria to run rampant. It also holds less dissolved oxygen. Together these elements create the perfect breeding ground for root rot.
  3. Remove Debris – Remove dead leaves, dead roots and other types of plant debris from the reservoir. Plant debris in the reservoir can begin to rot and create an environment for bacteria and root rot to grow.
  4. Avoid Light on Roots – Just as in outdoor soil growing, roots shouldn’t see the light of day. Heat and light promote an environment where bacteria can grow rapidly. Avoid unnecessary light and heat from harming your plants.
  5. Change Water Regularly – Regularly changing the water in hydroponic systems helps prevent nutrient build up and is essential to avoid bacteria from taking over the entire reservoir.

Due to the nature of hydroponic systems, root rot occurs more often than in other types of systems. Systems that utilize aeroponic technology provide plants with more of the oxygen they need and create an environment where they can grow and prosper.

Learn more about the Grow Tray System from Whole Plant Technologies. With our Grow Tray System, you can minimize the chances of losing your crops to water borne diseases like root rot.

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