Take a look at our root rot page to see pictures of how Hydroguard was able to completely cure a terrible case of root rot. Other examples of beneficial root supplements include Piranha, VooDoo Juice, Great White (Great White has great reviews, yet is obscenely expensive), Subculture B, Rooters, and Plant Savers. Most of these can be used with both hydro and soil grows. I personally recommend Hydroguard because I’ve used it successfully to treat Root Rot (and it’s also very affordably priced, you can use it throughout your grow without breaking the bank).
One important thing to note is that after you treat the cause of root problems, the old damaged leaves may never recover! With recovery, you should be looking for the problem to stop spreading, and for new leaves to be growing in green and healthy. Cannabis Root Rot – Slimy, brown, twisted or unhealthy roots are caused by unwanted pathogens in your hydroponic tank! The marijuana plant on the left is healthy, and the plant on the right has root rot. The curled, drooping, unhealthy leaves are the result of the plant not being able to get enough oxygen through the roots. Root rot symptoms often look like a soil plant that has been severely over or under-watered. An example of what cannabis root rot can look like “under the hood”.
Every infection looks a little different, but brown roots are usually the main symptom. It may affect all or just parts of the roots, and the sick sections usually become slimy or mushy and start twisting together. Root rot can be caused by several different organisms including types of bacteria, fungi, algae and parasitic oomycotes. Although the symptoms are similar between different types, they don’t always look exactly the same. However, growers generally refer to all types of unhealthy root browning as just “root rot.” Root Rot causes droopiness and other symptoms similar to over or under-watering. The Most Common Triggers for Root Rot Are Light Leaks, Heat & Lack of Oxygen in the Water. Because cannabis root rot can be caused by different pathogens, a solution that solves the symptoms of root rot for one grower may not necessarily work for another grower. What’s attacking your roots in California might be completely different from what’s attacking the roots of a grower in Australia. That being said, there are tools to fight against root rot no matter what kind you have! The brown tinge on these young roots is the first sign of root rot. Some varieties of root rot mostly affect the roots below the surface of the water while the roots located above the waterline stay white and healthy. This phenomenon is part of why it’s often recommended that hydro growers maintain at least a small amount of air gap under the net pots. Oxygen-rich moist environments (including that misty air gap) make it very difficult for root pathogens to grow. Sometimes even the roots above the waterline appear brown. The white strands you see in this picture are actually new roots coming out of the old unhealthy stuff. When new white roots are growing, it’s a sign the plant may be getting better! Even after roots have recovered, you may see the brown for a while until it’s completely covered by new white roots again. The twisting/bunching together is the result of infection. Healthy roots have individual “strands” that tend to stay separated even when they’re all floating together in a reservoir. The grower believes that the water level in the reservoir was too high. Cannabis roots with root rot sometimes look mushy or slimy and can almost look like they’re covered in snot 🙁 This case of root rot was caused by a brown algae bloom. Brown or green algae is especially common in hot temperatures or when there are light leaks! Important: The Following Roots Are Stained from Nutrients – They Are NOT Brown from Root Rot. Nutrient-stained roots are not slimy or smelly and all the roots are evenly dyed the same color. You’ll be able to see each individual “strand” on healthy cannabis roots, as they won’t be twisted together. You also won’t see leaf symptoms or wilting on the plant itself. The first sign of root rot is usually wilting or drooping, though sometimes you won’t have any symptoms at first. Root rot often strikes immediately after disturbing the roots or completing a reservoir change, especially with young plants.
It’s a good idea to avoid disturbing young seedling roots when possible! This gives roots time to build up a biofilm that protects them against root rot. This cannabis plant was completely healthy the day before, but started looking weak after being transferred from one hydroponic reservoir to a different one. The thin, light colored plastic of the reservoir may have been letting light through, making the reservoir a haven for root rot. Additionally, the temperature was about 85°F (30°C) in the grow space! Cannabis root rot can cause leaf symptoms that can look like almost anything: cannabis leaves get burnt edges or tips; yellow / bronze / brown spots or stripes; nutrient deficiencies; clawing and curled edges; and other unusual leaf symptoms. Curling and other typical signs of root problems are often present. Root rot can cause curling leaves and brown or burnt patches. Sometimes you’ll have a plant with root rot that looks completely healthy other than the roots.
Don’t ignore this problem as you will likely start getting symptoms! The plant ailment we think of as ‘Root Rot’ is actually a bunch of similar symptoms caused by many different types of organisms. Since these organisms all cause the same problem – gross, brown roots – we group them together.