10 Ways To Prevent Root Rot In Your Hydroponic Garden

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Root rot can stunt your plant’s growth greatly affecting its potential.  It doesn’t stay with one plant and can spread to the other plants in your hydroponic garden. As with most issues, it’s easier to prevent root rot than it is to treat the issue.

Where Does Root Rot Come From?

Fungus gnats and other pests are carriers of pathogens that affect the root system.

Transplants that are infected with pests diseases and pathogens are brought into the garden.

Dormant spores can remain on contaminated equipment, grow media, and tools.

Ways To Prevent Root Rot In Your Hydroponic Garden

Keep Proper Temperature

Temperature plays a big role in hydroponics and gardening in general. Too hot and the available oxygen in the nutrient solution goes down. Warmer temperatures are also better for bacteria and pathogens to live and reproduce in. Keep your hydroponic nutrient solution under 75 degrees to help prevent root rot in your garden.

Keep a sterile working environment

Clean and disinfect tools your tools after each use. This will prevent the spreading of pathogens and diseases throughout your garden.

Add beneficial bacteria to your nutrient solution

Adding beneficial bacteria, like Hydrogaurd, to your nutrient regimen is a great way to produce healthier, fuller roots that take in more oxygen. In addition to increased oxygen levels, a healthier root system is less susceptible to diseases like root rot.

Keep a tidy garden

 Plants and bacteria are attracted to stuff they can feed on. Keep dead plant matter and debris cleaned up around your garden. Don’t allow debris to fall into your nutrient solution.

Keep the roots dark

Light promotes the growth of bacteria and algae. Use dark colors and/or thick materials for your grow bed to keep the light from reaching the root system

Provide good aeration levels

Making sure your nutrient solution has enough aeration is probably the most important step you can take to prevent root rot from occurring in your hydroponic garden. Adding additional air stones or hoses will only help.

Plan out your systems

If you’re growing on a larger scale, it is a good idea to set up portions to run off different nutrient reservoirs. This will prevent root problems from spreading to your whole garden making it easier to contain

Monitor pests

Pests like fungus gnats are vectors for pathogens that can cause root rot. Put down sticky traps and make sure vents are filtered to keep out pests.

Use healthy transplants

Transplants can be transporters for pests and diseases into your hydroponic garden. Look over plants carefully before introducing them into your garden to reduce the risk of root rot.

Prune back the roots

Just as in pruning the top of the plant, pruning the root mass can be beneficial as well. As a plant’s root mass grows it can block aeration to the rest of the roots. Trimming back the roots will cause them to shoot laterally, making it easier for oxygen to reach the whole root system.


As a hydroponic gardener, especially gardening outdoors, you’re bound to experience a case of root rot. Taking preventive measures will decrease the chances of an occurrence and save you time, money, and headache in the long run.

Fortunately, there are ways to save a hydroponic plant from root rot if the disease is not too far advanced.

7 Answers

  1. Chas A. Stack
    February 29, 2020 at 7:44 am

    EUREKA everything I wanted to know and more . just off the top of my head I would think roots need to be pruned and I’m a noob . oh yeah I ask this question before seeing this article . good stuff keep up the good work I appreciate it

  2. Jackie Kerr
    April 9, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I just bought 35 gal. Closed barrels. Do you think this will work for hydroponic growing??? I purchased masterblend nutrients and gonna give it a try. No pumps, just wondering if this will work?? What should I use to test the water for pH levels??? Thanks, Jackie

    1. NoSoilSolutions
      April 9, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      There are a few ways to test pH. You can use strips, a liquid test kit or my preferred option is using an electronic pH meter. Those barrels will work for a Kratky setup, though that method can be difficult for beginners growing fruiting plants. I would recommend adding an air pump and air stone to your setup if possible.

  3. Chris Gregorsky
    May 16, 2020 at 6:19 am

    I have small black spots on my roots . Roots are white and plants growing ok ( Bib lettuce )
    Just wondering what it is I’m a newbie thanks

  4. Cindy
    December 31, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Why my lettuce getting root rot. Although, I already changed water in every cycle. I treat my seedlings with hydrogen peroxide before transfering in deep water culture system in my hydroponics. But still my lettuce getting root rot. What should I do? I need your suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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