Plant diseases in hydroponic gardens can be detrimental if not properly taken care of. Depending on what kind of disease or virus your crops have, it’s possible the sickness could destroy your entire crop as it spreads from one to the next. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to identify and prevent plant diseases in hydroponic growing systems.
Preventing Plant Diseases
To prevent plant diseases from occurring in your hydroponic garden, you’ll want to follow these rules:
Promote good air circulation by adding fans to your growing area, spacing out plants, and pruning or removing dead or diseased plants.
Make sure your hydroponic system has good drainage by not overwatering, and checking to see if there’s any standing or oversaturated water.
Try growing plant species that have been bred for growing indoors since they are made to be disease-resistant.
Prevent your plant’s stress by ensuring they have the necessary nutrients, and the correct temperature and humidity. Stressed plants can be more vulnerable to diseases.
Clean and sanitize your tools, growing media, and trays regularly.
Check for signs of plant diseases at least 1 to 2 times per week.
If able, allow for a one to two-month crop-free period once a year to eliminate all threats of disease.
Check for signs of pests because they can introduce and spread diseases amongst your plants.
Signs of Plant Diseases
Depending on what kind of disease your plant has contracted will determine the symptoms and signs to look out for. Plants are susceptible to viruses, diseases, fungi, and pythium. Once a pathogen enters your plants you’ll notice a development of galls, swellings or leaf curls, yellowing or stunted leaf, fruit, or root growth, or plant tissue die-off (wilting, rotting, browning, etc.).
Bacteria: If your plant has been contaminated by bacteria, you will notice a slimy, brown-colored coat on the plant’s roots. Try seeing if this brown coating is on your hydroponic reservoir’s walls, tubes, and water pump filter.
Fungi: Evidence of a fungal pathogen is when you notice powdery or fuzzy growths on the plant’s roots or leaves. These growths are typically gray, blue, white, or green colors.
Pythium: This type of disease is known for being the most deadly for hydroponic growing systems. Pythium will blacken the plant’s roots, ooze a foul smelling odor, and halt the growth of the plant. This pathogen is highly contagious and can spread quickly to ruin entire crops.
Virus: While viruses in plants are rare, they can be fatal when they do occur. Viruses are typically brought about by outside insects or outdoor soil. When introduced to a virus, the virus will spread quietly through the crop and can hide dormant in plants waiting to come out later. If not treated, a viral plant infection can lead to the destruction of the entire crop.