The Root Causes of Root Rot
Few things are more disheartening to us green-thumbs than putting a whole lot of TLC into our plants just to have them develop root rot. If you are lucky enough to identify it in time, you can save your plant. In order to best avoid or treat root rot, it’s important to know what causes it and how to prevent it.
How to Spot the Rot
The main cause of root rot is oversaturation. When your plants are not able to properly absorb and then drain excess water, the leftover creates an ideal place for disruptive and damaging fungi to develop. This fungi in turn suffocates the roots. As you can imagine, this is harmful to the plant and will eventually kill it if left untreated.
Because overwatering is the main cause for root rot, this is why it is more common in potted plants than those planted in a garden. In fact, standing water, when combined with changing/dying leaves, is a major sign that your plant is experiencing root rot. Another sign is if, while checking the roots, you notice that the roots are dark brown, spongy and soft, and/or have actual mold on them. However, all hope is not lost! If you’ve caught it in time, there are some things you can do to triage and heal your beloved plants.
Not Ready for Compost Yet!
If you are unsure about whether or not your plant is experiencing root rot and you have little to no decay on the leaves, you can try to let the plant dry out over several days. If your plant bounces back, use caution when watering, as you may trigger root rot after just narrowly avoiding it.
Should you encounter root rot in your plant but the plant itself is still kicking, you must act quickly in order to save it. You must first isolate and remove the rot from the plant’s root system. This is tricky and will require patience – otherwise you may wind up killing the plant anyway. After removing the rot, thoroughly wash the pot and completely change the soil.
With all of the decaying pieces (leaves and roots) removed, your plant now has a decent chance to survive in its new soil.
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