Are brown roots always bad?

hind_sightFebruary 17, 2008

I've only had experience growing one kind of plant previously, but now that I'm mixing it up and growing several types, I notice some of my plants have brown roots. Not all of a given plant's roots are brown, just some parts. They aren't slimy either. I'm wondering, do some plants just have brown roots or is this always an indication something went wrong and all plants should always have white roots? It's amazing how quickly and how much a subtle change in the system can cause the browning.

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Brown roots are dead roots. It's that simple.
however, just because roots on a plant die doesn't mean the plant won't survive.
But it is an indication that some component of your system isn't working optimally. In my case, it is almost always a lack of oxygen.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Thanks for the reply. Good to know. It has happened to me when I increased the ferts too much. My nutrient temp is a constant 68 degrees and I have pretty good aeration (pump waterfall and air pump) so I'm hoping its not a lack of oxygen.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:07PM
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Actually, I noticed something..... with some of my roots, a portion of them are brown, but then toward the ends of the brown roots, they are still white. If brown meant dead, wouldn't everything from that point toward the end be dead and brown too? It's kind of strange. The ends have stayed white for a week or two since the browning occured.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:00AM
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hind sight,

Are your roots looking like these?

I had chalked it up to nutrient and fertilizer buildup maybe I was wrong? Like you, my aeration is really good and my pH and TDS are inline with the plants requirements so IÂm now wondering if I have another issue.

Anyone have any input?



    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 5:01PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about that. I've had a lot worse looking root systems and the plant was fine.
It could be algae growing on them.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 9:03PM
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It's very likely mineral build-up in the pictures. Use a mineral flushing solution once a month at nutrient change. I use clearex.

Mineral build-up can inhibit nutrient uptake.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Thanks gizzman, I'll watch a little closer incase algae starts getting out of control.

Willard3, great advice. I'll give clearex a shot.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 5:58PM
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ottawapepper, mine like a little different.

I'm pretty sure it isn't algae or nutrient build-up because this browning doesn't happen until I make some sort of change. Then it hit happens within 24 to 48 hours of that change and the roots never return to white. Again, the roots aren't slimy, and if I touch them, nothing rubs off. The kinds of changes that make this happen are going too strong on the nutes, or going too wet on the water tricklers. In addition to the air stones, I have a PVC manifold glued to the lid (as you can see in the pics) that have holes aimed at the net pots. A very weak pump was set on a timer to drizzle the nutrient solution onto the net pots for 10 minutes every 2 hours. The idea being that the water falling down would help further aerate the nutrient, and would keep the roots moist on the young plants whos roots had not yet left the net pots. One plant was really thirsty so I had make the pump run more frequently and longer (15 minutes every hour), but as soon as I did that, some of the roots on the established plants went brown. The plants with the brown roots are still growing fine for the most part. I have since completely disconnected the drizzlers as the bubble snap from air stones seems adequate to keep the roots and net pots moist.

I can't go above 400ppm using GH Flora series or the roots will turn brown. If you follow the instructions on the GH bottles for the "mild" solution, the PPM rating is over 1000!!!! Ive used Pure Blend Pro for a while with good luck, but have never had luck with the GH Flora series. I have since switched back to it for the challenge haha. I'm determined to make it work. Maybe NASA uses it because they are the only ones smart enough to figure it out? :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 8:19PM
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I may be wrong, but as nitrogen is commonly brown couldn't this mean there is simply an abundance awaiting intake? I grow fresh roots on vines in a simple glass of water and this occurs. They aren't dead as they continue outward from the point of brown.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:29PM
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add H2o2 35% at 1 tea spoon a gal in you res then let it run for an hour then add your will see. your welcome lol

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:33AM
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