Roots and how to maximize root size?

Indi

Active member
I’ve been having problems getting consistent good roots.

Whether it’s my imagination one thing I’ve noticed is my best outcomes have had great roots.If I grow 10 pheno types usually the keepers have the best roots out of all phenotypes,not always but 95% of the time.

I use coco and I could be over watering before plants develop a good root system or maybe I need a root supplement.

What are some ways to get good roots in coco,dirt,etc....?
Wet and dry cycles,root supplements,myco,enzymes,high P,etc...?


I have planted cuttings in 3 gallons of coco and sometimes the roots do great but other times terrible.I definitely see a relationship between roots and yields.

Any methods,supplements,etc... you have found that get you good roots please post.
 

Med Man

New member
I grow in coco as well. I use Canna Rizotonic get some great roots I also amend my coco with perlight 30% or so.Red light is said to stimulate root growth. I did add some HLG QB LED's red, deep red and far red to my LED Veg that I can control stretch with some strains like bulky Indica strains, I get massive roots as well.

The red strips I use for flower run 15 min before lights on and 15 after this simulates sun rise , set.

Here's a link:

https://horticulturelightinggroup.com/collections/quantum-boards/products/qb18-quantum-board

I did post a pic of some Shark Shock in the bud shot section check it out if you like..
 

Indi

Active member
I have only tried cannazyme.I now use an enzyme called Pondzyme and it does better than cannazyme and costs less than a penny a dose per 50 gallons of water.
I’m starting to think good roots indoors might be genetics because some females or pheno types have great roots others not that great.
I have let a gallon sized root ball form then transplant into 5-10 gallons for bloom and gotten great plants.
Sticking clones in a cube in 3 gallons has worked but only after picking the best pheno for roots.
There’s another product called Tribus that’s similar to cannazyme but it’s as expensive as AN.
There’s got to be a way to form a good root system without the bottled supplements and they are high in preservatives.
I boiled some willow tree bark from young branches but it molded before I could use it.
I’m going to try coconut water also and see how it does for roots.
 
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MImedpatient

Well-known member
I have only tried cannazyme.I now use an enzyme called Pondzyme and it does better than cannazyme and costs less than a penny a dose per 50 gallons of water.
I’m starting to think good roots indoors might be genetics because some females or pheno types have great roots others not that great.
I have let a gallon sized root ball form then transplant into 5-10 gallons for bloom and gotten great plants.
Sticking clones in a cube in 3 gallons has worked but only after picking the best pheno for roots.
There’s another product called Tribus that’s similar to cannazyme but it’s as expensive as AN.
There’s got to be a way to form a good root system without the bottled supplements and they are high in preservatives.
I boiled some willow tree bark from young branches but it molded before I could use it.
I’m going to try coconut water also and see how it does for roots.
look up the product EM1 by terraganix. there is a recipe on thier website for culturing out the microorganisms EM1 is a 7 species blend of lactic acid bacteria, a purple sulfur eating bacteria, and some yeastie boys! is basically the symbotes to your mycorhizzal supplement. Tribus is NOT similar to cannazyme. Tribus is 3 of the most common species of soil bacteria at the highest liquid concentration on the market last time I checked(2019). you can get a product called Mammoth P to assist with rooting as well. I use em1 from the bottle at 5ml/gallon, the brewed em1 at 10ml/gallon tribus at .5ml per gallon, and the mammoth p at .5ml per gallon from 1st feed till last watering. mammoth p is a blend of phosphorus solubizing bacteria. you can make LABS from korean natureal farming and use the pickling bacteria in the air to assist root growth. pretty much all enzyme products are made from malted barley. if you want affordable enzymes use NPK industries Enzyme powder. Root systems w/ mycorhizae and bacterial inoculants
 

MImedpatient

Well-known member
I grow in coco as well. I use Canna Rizotonic get some great roots I also amend my coco with perlight 30% or so.Red light is said to stimulate root growth. I did add some HLG QB LED's red, deep red and far red to my LED Veg that I can control stretch with some strains like bulky Indica strains, I get massive roots as well.

The red strips I use for flower run 15 min before lights on and 15 after this simulates sun rise , set.

Here's a link:

https://horticulturelightinggroup.com/collections/quantum-boards/products/qb18-quantum-board

I did post a pic of some Shark Shock in the bud shot section check it out if you like..
Hi All

to keep it simple coco leeches very easily so adding perlite to the mix at about 30% will improve the root system without needing extra additives...and reduce the watering so roots need to spread and search for water....all the best Sb
I’ve been having problems getting consistent good roots.

Whether it’s my imagination one thing I’ve noticed is my best outcomes have had great roots.If I grow 10 pheno types usually the keepers have the best roots out of all phenotypes,not always but 95% of the time.

I use coco and I could be over watering before plants develop a good root system or maybe I need a root supplement.

What are some ways to get good roots in coco,dirt,etc....?
Wet and dry cycles,root supplements,myco,enzymes,high P,etc...?


I have planted cuttings in 3 gallons of coco and sometimes the roots do great but other times terrible.I definitely see a relationship between roots and yields.

Any methods,supplements,etc... you have found that get you good roots please post.
that is 2 votes, and one is from a wizard, for you to increase the aeration amendment volume of your mix I am only not suggesting adding aeration amendment because its been suggested. and if you still got weak roots after that, try the microbial path.
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
that is 2 votes, and one is from a wizard, for you to increase the aeration amendment volume of your mix I am only not suggesting adding aeration amendment because its been suggested. and if you still got weak roots after that, try the microbial path.
Hi. I'm playing around with coco too, but from a bit different angle.
I used coir a lot before in soiless media, but found it difficult
I always felt like it overwatered, and lost occasional plants to rot.
I read some guides that recommend a lot higher drainage, and less than half the media is actually coco.

You get the advantages of coco like high terpene and oil content, trichoderma etc but without the disadvantages of pure coco like mineral imbalance and cation exchange
I found a well rooted cut will colonise a 5gal pro-pot root-zone in about 7 days. After a week the base will show roots growing through strongly.

The way I learned was 50%+ perlite with the rest coco.
The way I did it was 60/40 clay/coco ( more like 7/4 if you put 10% clay pebbles only in base of pot for drainage, and then fill the rest with 6/4 )
With that amount of drainage you have to irrigate the media to saturation regularly. ( No more need to worry about over irrigation )
The need to frequently irrigate ( micro irrigate 1- 5 times a day ) at least once a day are that you can maintain quite strong EC.
When the coco dries out the EC raises, but if you irrigate again before the media reaches </=90% saturation, you will maintain regular EC level in the root-zone
Also, by irrigating to 10-20% runoff everytime and not recirculating nutrient you are basically doing a mini flush continually..
Using that method you can bloom a full cycle without flushing once.
Running RO water with very low EC through the root zone isn't good for the growing plant.

As the coco is only 35-50% of the media, you have less issue with CE, and the frequent micro-irrigation help as well.
If you are using higher concentration of coir and irrigating only every 48+ hours the sodium has a better chance to exchange.
If you are using 50+% of inert media, you have less than half the exchange potenial.
Coco is really versatile, so you can use it lots of different ways

NHG.net.au ##way2grow coco probiotic is a pretty good product as well.
The bacteria are seeded on kelp powder. My water tends to drift acid in the resovour ( run to waste but mix multiple days solution and aerate it before use ) 0.3g/L continually through bloom seemed to buffer the liquor.
Aquatic flora like kelp and seagrass have lots of biostimulant action from their auxin content to being a prefered food for the friendly bacteria.

Try mixing sphagnum peat with coir 1:2-1:1 also to boost root growth.
Peat is what they refine fulvate from.

# one thing I noticed from running such high drainage is that fungus gnats don't survive. They may hang around first week, but as the coco settles in the pot the surface doesn't seem to satisfy them.
 
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musashi

Site Moderator
Staff member
I used to use coco and will probably go back to it as soil prices have increased substantially. As Shanti was saying about simplicity, aeration is important and overwatering can cause anaerobic conditions, resulting in stunting, bacterial and viral problems, root death and pests. Best to do infrequent but full waterings, letting the medium dry out before watering again. This method will encourage better root growth. I like to water from the bottom as well as the top to encourage this. I use saponins as wetting agents to encourage soil saturation and aid in salt elimination.
This is how I might proceed if I go back to coco:
Along with the perlite, mix coir with equal amounts of compost. As root growth is contingent on P, amend the soil adding phosphorite or bone meal into the soil mixture along with some azomite, kelp meal or greensand for some K. Don't lock out N by overdoing the K, a tablespoon in the mixture will suffice. Reluctant to use coco as I remember the gnats from helI, but have learned some since last using it and will probably implement this in my next grow.

🤙Mu
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
I used to use coco and will probably go back to it as soil prices have increased substantially. As Shanti was saying about simplicity, aeration is important and overwatering can cause anaerobic conditions, resulting in stunting, bacterial and viral problems, root death and pests. Best to do infrequent but full waterings, letting the medium dry out before watering again. This method will encourage better root growth. I like to water from the bottom as well as the top to encourage this. I use saponins as wetting agents to encourage soil saturation and aid in salt elimination.
This is how I might proceed if I go back to coco:
Along with the perlite, mix coir with equal amounts of compost. As root growth is contingent on P, amend the soil adding phosphorite or bone meal into the soil mixture along with some azomite, kelp meal or greensand for some K. Don't lock out N by overdoing the K, a tablespoon in the mixture will suffice. Reluctant to use coco as I remember the gnats from helI, but have learned some since last using it and will probably implement this in my next grow.

🤙Mu
Hey Mu, you mention anaerobic condition of coir.
In soil you have pore space and moisture and oxygen both share it.
So you are on a bit of a linear plane.
On one hand if the pore is full of moisture then it is oxygen starved.
If the pore is full of oxygen, then your plants will lack moisture.
So it's always a bit of a trade off, and an esoteric skill on when and how much to water.

Hydroponics is water farming, it's in the name afterall.
Coco can grow plants in pure form, but so could pure vermiculite, but it wouldn't be best practice.

I don't think mimicking soil culture with coco is utilising it as media to its best potential.
No other system of hydroponics requires you to remove water from the process.
By allowing coco to dry out you are almost guaranteed to have issues in growing.
Either you are putting in salts that will build up, or running plain water through the system to flush out the salts left from previous dry-offs.

Running really high drainage allows you to maintain CONSTANT EC, constant moisture level and PREFERRED NET ELEMENTAL PROFILE at all times.

The drainage allows optimum moisture and oxygen levels to be maintained without guess work and the moisture to oxygen conundrum created by growing in soil doesn't apply.

Coco is really forgiving and can grow weed suboptimally with ease, it's advantages leveraged and disadvantages countered simply enough
But it is still a hydroponic media, and not a soil substitute.

If you are making a non soil organic media, that's a bit different story.
Coco is probably inferior to peat and certainly inferior to a coco/peat blend
Peat doesn't break down as much, doesn't have same CE issues and brings its own fulvic acid. Coco is cheap, renewable, benign pH and has trichoderma, so they are a really good mix.

I'd like to see a hydro grow of coco mix with lava pumice and maybe a little creek gravel for ballast.
The pumice should act like clay or perlite, activate easy enough and no production energy required.
images (74).jpeg
images (72).jpegimages (71).jpeg

Cheers
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member

Sexy looking pots.
Better than the round ones we get here
IMG_20201228_103627.jpg
Smartbags are excellent for coco tooIMG_20201228_080929.jpg

I was going through some data on techniques that the successful gardeners in Colorado were using in high THC bud competition.

The top ten highest THC gardeners mostly using coco (5) non soil organic mix, ie coco/peat blends (4) and the last gardener was using activated rockwool.

No aeroponics, recirculating water or perlite in the top gardens
The key seems to be the amount of bioactivity in the root-zone.
 
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Islandgrower

Well-known member
Sexy looking pots.
Better than the round ones we get here
View attachment 48690
Smartbags are excellent for coco tooView attachment 48691

I was going through some data on the techniques that the successful gardeners in Colorado were using in high THC bud competition.
The top ten highest THC gardeners mostly using coco (5) non soil organic mix, so coco/peat blends (4) and the last gardener was using activated rockwool.
No aeroponics, recirculating water or perlite in the top gardens
The key seems to be the amount of bioactivity in the root-zone.
In that case, maybe coco is better looked at as inert organics.
It breaks down but not that fast you can't treat it as inert media.
I am using a mix of coco and peat available commercially. Added some flower potting soil to the mix as well . Pure coco is great if you can keep up with daily waterings . However with the mix you can water without drastic consequences. The soil life will break down the coco faster than straight coco as well.
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
One thing to remember when considering how wet to run coco as hydro media is that the salts/ions don't really bond strongly to the media.
If you run solution in, then dehydrate it, you will leave a nutrient build up.
The salts aren't bonded strongly, so still active, and can lead to nutrient burn when rehydrated with new full strength solution.

The excess salts/ions are much more attracted to water, and will just concentrate into new solution.

That's why when you use plain water to flush the root-zone, it works.
The salts aren't bonded strongly, so are very easy to gather into solution.
If they are always kept in solution ( a saturated root zone ) and irrigated to slight runoff continually, then the salts are always flowing down and out of the system.
They want to stay hydrated and will if managed that way.

The nutrient imbalance many ppl encounter from coco would have a lot more to do with contamination of the root zone from previous incomplete irrigation ( and therefore uncontrolled EC, pH and NEP ) than coco's ability to exchange and lock up electrolytes.
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
A few thoughts on calcium metabolism and irrigation frequency..
Calcium is utilised in the plant in conjunction with transpirtation.
The calcium is shuttled along the same pathway in the plant as water, and calcium transport and utilisation is totally bound to that process.
Calcium is not considered to be a mobile nutrient in cannabis.

Calcium issues can many times be attributed to issues around transpiration.
Extreme temperatures and extremes of humidity can create issues, too high or too low EC, as well as some fan issues. ( Set too low can draw calcium to the lower plant at expense of growing tops )

IMG_20201228_154221.jpg
This plant had a magnesium issue ( dark stems ) and potassium calcium inbalance. Notice the length in internode on long stems.
Until recently the laterals were not developing.
The plant started to throw double length internode but the laterals just stunted.
I think this was potassium blocking calcium.

The tops are green and growing now, and the lateral tips are growing out
It is in a very small pot of probably only 1/3 gallon.
It has been fed the same food mix all along. Before it inbalanced and grew well, when it stunted up, and now when it is growing again, same food always, and never flushed.
Only difference is its irrigation frequency.
It had always been watered by hand once a day. And is being watered again daily.
For about a month I had got slack and started to water her only every 48 hours because I didn't know if I would keep her.
Twice I found her drooping from moisture stress.
Then I noticed she wasn't thriving
Even though the solution was correct and the other plants I had in 5L bags on same regime didn't suffer, the small root-zone and lack of transpiration on this plant seems to have created issues around potassium/calcium balance.
IMG_20201228_154303.jpgIMG_20201228_154322.jpg

Cuts I took from the stunted plant a week ago look like they need magnesium at least
They were shaded under a blue chux cloth last week.
 
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musashi

Site Moderator
Staff member
I am using a mix of coco and peat available commercially. Added some flower potting soil to the mix as well . Pure coco is great if you can keep up with daily waterings . However with the mix you can water without drastic consequences. The soil life will break down the coco faster than straight coco as well.
It is why I mixed both in the past. Water retention, stabler bioactivity in the root zone.

@Vlad the Inhaler well made points coming from solid past experience. I get your point about a hydroponic medium not having soil characteristics. You give good reasons to use coco. You bring out the disadvantages of infrequent and incomplete waterings which results in instability and imbalance. Thanks for your knowledge. Keep bringin it brah

🤙Mu
 

MImedpatient

Well-known member
Hi. I'm playing around with coco too, but from a bit different angle.
I used coir a lot before in soiless media, but found it difficult
I always felt like it overwatered, and lost occasional plants to rot.
I read some guides that recommend a lot higher drainage, and less than half the media is actually coco.

You get the advantages of coco like high terpene and oil content, trichoderma etc but without the disadvantages of pure coco like mineral imbalance and cation exchange
I found a well rooted cut will colonize a 5gal pro-pot root-zone in about 7 days. After a week the base will show roots growing through strongly.

The way I learned was 50%+ perlite with the rest coco.
The way I did it was 60/40 clay/coco ( more like 7/4 if you put 10% clay pebbles only in base of pot for drainage, and then fill the rest with 6/4 )
With that amount of drainage you have to irrigate the media to saturation regularly. ( No more need to worry about over irrigation )
The need to frequently irrigate ( micro irrigate 1- 5 times a day ) at least once a day are that you can maintain quite strong EC.
When the coco dries out the EC raises, but if you irrigate again before the media reaches </=90% saturation, you will maintain regular EC level in the root-zone
Also, by irrigating to 10-20% runoff everytime and not recirculating nutrient you are basically doing a mini flush continually..
Using that method you can bloom a full cycle without flushing once.
Running RO water with very low EC through the root zone isn't good for the growing plant.

As the coco is only 35-50% of the media, you have less issue with CE, and the frequent micro-irrigation help as well.
If you are using higher concentration of coir and irrigating only every 48+ hours the sodium has a better chance to exchange.
If you are using 50+% of inert media, you have less than half the exchange potential.
Coco is really versatile, so you can use it lots of different ways

NHG.net.au ##way2grow coco probiotic is a pretty good product as well.
The bacteria are seeded on kelp powder. My water tends to drift acid in the reservoir ( run to waste but mix multiple days solution and aerate it before use ) 0.3g/L continually through bloom seemed to buffer the liquor.
Aquatic flora like kelp and seagrass have lots of biostimulant action from their auxin content to being a prefered food for the friendly bacteria.

Try mixing sphagnum peat with coir 1:2-1:1 also to boost root growth.
Peat is what they refine fulvate from.

# one thing I noticed from running such high drainage is that fungus gnats don't survive. They may hang around first week, but as the coco settles in the pot the surface doesn't seem to satisfy them.
So, I FUCKING LOVE 1:1 COCO : PEAT BLENDS FOR ORGANICS. as part of the mel's mix blend. And I very, very, very much like the pro mix HPCC blend for dumping fertilizer water on. It holds so much water! it makes me happy. I only water/feed once a week. Your blend Ideas sound nice, but consider the small perlite sized lava rock if you mix and re use your media. it breaks down much slower than perlite.
 

300dutchman

Active member
i line my pots with landscape fabric about that comes up about a inch from the bottom then i put washed pea gravel in, this helps with drainage, i have used straight coco for three years and unless you transplant 3 times i found it easy to overwater. i have used a blend of living soil and coco the past year with excellent results, a 50/50 blend living soil and coco, i was using the canna coco line of nutrients for those two runs i did. i found the cost was getting to high though, the nutrients are pricey where i am at.
 

MImedpatient

Well-known member
i line my pots with landscape fabric about that comes up about a inch from the bottom then i put washed pea gravel in, this helps with drainage, i have used straight coco for three years and unless you transplant 3 times i found it easy to overwater. i have used a blend of living soil and coco the past year with excellent results, a 50/50 blend living soil and coco, i was using the canna coco line of nutrients for those two runs i did. i found the cost was getting to high though, the nutrients are pricey where i am at.
Fine sir! the Canna organic nutrients are ferments. make your own ferments, save money.
 
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