Root Rot in plants: Top Causes and Best Treatment

Root Rot in plants: Top Causes and Best Treatment
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Root rot in plants is one of the commonly seen diseases where the roots decays or rot which can also lead to the death of the plant. It is a fungal disease and is caused due to excess water in the soil. Root rot is a disease that can destroy plants if left untreated. The disease is left unnoticed till the parts of the plant above the ground shows signs and symptoms

Plants are most vulnerable to root rot in soils too thick for water to drain out effectively, or in containers that lack adequate drainage holes. While plants in containers are most at risk, plants in the garden are not resistant to root rot. By taking steps to improve soil drainage before planting, most garden root rot problems can be avoided.

Top Causes for Root Rot in Plants

  • Root rot in plants is caused mainly by inadequate drainage of humid soil, over watering or a root system that functions poorly.
  • Prolonged exposure to excess water causes water logging, interfering with root aeration, resulting in low oxygenation and decay.
  • Growing plants in dense garden soil can also contribute to root rot.
  • The waterlogged soil attracts the actual pathogen that causes the root rot- a fungus.
  • The moist environment promotes the growth of the fungus on the surface of the root, thus being harmful to the plant.

Some of the pathogens that cause root rot in plants include Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium etc. The spores of these pathogens are mostly carried away by insects present in the soil thus help spread the disease. Some of the other causative of root rot include Armillaria, Texas root rot, Roselinia nectrix, Scytunostroma galactinum etc.

Signs and Symptoms of Root Rot in Plants

Root rot is detectable by the appearance of weak, brown roots. A healthy plant’s root system should be solid and white under optimum moisture, the growth of the fungus changes the color of the root to brown.

When soil is soggy, fungal spores already present in the soil, accumulate and the fungus begins to spread, first growing at the roots’ extremities turning the roots brown and weak which later leads to its death. This prevents the plant from absorbing enough nutrients required for its healthy growth. The deficiency of the nutrients results in the leaves to lose its color, the plants don’t grow in height, leaves wilt and the formation of the flowers are delayed. In extreme cases, the plants die.

Treatment and Management of Root Rot in Plants

It is easier to prevent root rot disease than to treat an already infected plant.

The treatment of root rot depends up on the intensity of the rot. If the roots are completely destroyed by the fungus, then the only way of treatment is to remove the affected plant to prevent the spread of the disease. During the initial stages of infection, when only some parts of the root are infected, the plants can be uprooted, the roots can be washed clean and trimmed to remove the infected parts and then replanted in to a fresh soil. Use a sterile scissors to trim the roots, this prevents the spread of the spores to the new soil.

In cases where the plants are grown in ground, uproot the infected plant and replace the soil surrounding it with fresh soil. The soil can contain the spores which can lead to the spread of the disease.

Fungicides can also be used to reduce the spread of the disease. The best way to control root rot is by growing the plants in a well-drained soil with ample amount of aeration. Neglecting the initial signs of the rot can lead to wilting and death of the plant.

Mild Hydrogen Peroxide solution can be used for the Root Rot treatment. Take Mild Hydrogen Peroxide solution (around 3%) and mix it in the water in the ratio of 1:3. Uproot the plant and dip the plant roots in the above solution or pour the solution on the roots and leave it for 15 min. Clean the soil and report the plant in fresh soil. It may take 10-15 days for plant to recover from root rot. Same process can be done after a month if required.

Read about other Diseases in Plants:

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