Its all about the roots

Root systems vary in size from those of a seedling, perhaps a few inches long, to those of a 300' redwood (pictured at right holding up the author) which can grow larger in size than the visible tree itself! Regardless of physical size, roots serve the plant three essential functions; the uptake of water and nutrients, storage for manufactured materials and providing physical support for the plant above ground. Hydroponics is all about the roots - healthy roots!

The absorption of water and nutrients take place just behind the root tip through tiny root hairs. These root hairs are extremely delicate and usually die off as the root tip grows further into the medium. The method in which the roots absorb water and nutrients is called diffusion. In this process water and oxygen pass into the root structure through membranes in the cell walls. An interesting point is that diffusion actually takes place at the ionic level which in laymen's terms means that nutritional elements are passed by the electrical exchange of charged particles. This is always my first line of defense against those who claim that hydroponics is unnatural and isn't "organic" because plants grown that way aren't fed "organic" nutrients. Foolish to say the least - the bottom line is that roots can ONLY uptake PURE ELEMENTS and a hydroponic system is a much cleaner environment than their compost pile.

Oxygen is absorbed and then utilized for growth, in return the roots give off carbon dioxide. Absence of oxygen in the root zone causes asphyxiation, damaging the roots and adversely affecting the tops of the plant as well. Stagnation of water in the root zone can also cause asphyxiation in addition to root rot. Once a plants roots die, or become dehydrated, death of the organism is usually imminent. Many studies have proven that oxygenation to the root zone is a major factor in determining a plant's growth potential - so much so that the practice of "Aeroponics" has developed to maximize growth one step beyond that conventionally believed to be possible with hydroponics. Plants grown aeroponically have their roots suspended in thin air!

Plants can function normally with their roots exposed to light provided they are always at 100% relative humidity. However, exposure to light will promote the growth of green algae. Algae appears as a green or brown slime on roots, plumbing, and containers. Some studies have suggested that plants suffer when their roots are exposed to light, this is probably due to the resulting algae growth on the surface of the root. Algae will

Fluid Vessel Lateral Root Root Hairs Growth Zone Root Cap

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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