Garden Diseases

Root Rot

The most common cause of root rot is from over watering which can cause some of the roots to die back due to a lack of oxygen. As the plants die they will start to rot. This can then spread to healthier roots and kill them as well, even if the soil conditions are put right.


Another source root rot is a fungus in the soil. This fungus can lay dormant and then can suddenly flare up when the plant is over watered. Again, this root rot fungus attacks the roots and causes them to rot.


How to spot

As with all garden diseases it is important to spot the disease early. With root rot you will notice the plant slowly wilting and the leaves turning yellow. If you try to touch the plant it will feel mushy and look black in colour.  Those roots affected may literally fall off the plant when you touch them. However, some roots may be black but if they are healthy they will feel firm to the touch.


How to treat

If you want to save the plant you must act quickly in order to give the best chance  survival. Root rot treatment is possible. Take the plant from the soil and wash the roots under running water. Be gentle and try to wash away as much soil as possible. Trim the affected roots with a sharp, clean pair of scissors along with some of the leaves so the root does not need to support as many leaves.

Clean the plant pot with a bleach-based solution before replacing it with new soil. Dip whatever remaining healthy roots you have left in a fungicide solution. This will kill off any possible root rot fungus. After treating root rot in the plant, repot the plant in clean potting mix. Natural remedies include mixing a gallon of water  with Bicarb Soda & Castile Soap or Apple Cider Vinegar

For potted houseplants make sure the container has good drainage and only water the plant when the top of the soil is dry. Don’t fertilize the plant once it has started to re-grow, as this may stress it. Hopefully your plant will recover from root rot and you will be able to enjoy it again.


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