ROOTS: Indicators of Good and Bad Culture

Culture Orchid Doctor

by Robert M. [Bert] Hamilton (Compiler)

Originally published in The Orchid Doctor in 1980 and 1988

Posted by Sys Admin almost 5 years ago.

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Commentary on aspects of root behavior: green tip growth, corregations in root growth, green tip stoppage, adhesion to outside of pot, etc., refer to A85-122
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Roots Comments
ROOTS: Activity in Summer In July root activity usually slows down and the plants require less water which is contrary to common belief; in late Augus t new activity occurs and fresh roots can appear. OR81-214 0
ROOTS: Aerial They appear on miniature cymbidiums being summered outdoors; if grown in small or open-sided containers, roots will develop outside the container, especially if they are benched close together; try to keep roots inside the pot. A74-708 0
ROOTS: Cattleyas The aerial roots turn brown and wither while others turn black where they touch the bark; the water supply may have been softened with a chemical, particularly sodium. A75-618 0
ROOTS: Cattleyas and Phalaenopsis Their tips on the surface of the medium rot off; the plants should be leached several times with water within thirty minutes, then fertilized with f tpg of 30-10-10. A80-850 0
ROOTS: Cattleyas Growing Out of the Pot They can be cut off with a sterile knife so that they branch out again inside the pot; roots from the old rhizome should not be cut. OR81-143 0
ROOTS: Dying of Mycelium in the Center of the Larger Pots The cure is to drench them with lttpg of Benlate together with 1 tpg. of Truban, or lttpg. of Banrot. (RMH) 0
ROOTS: Growth Is Very Poor Paphiopedilums under lights normally make small roots and need little fertilizer; in bark media formulas such as 20-20-20 or 23-19-17 are not appropriate; use 30-10-10 or 20-10-10. A76-115 0
ROOTS: Growth Stimulants One of the most common root-promoting substances is indole acetic acid, but it is used mainly to stimulate rooting of cuttings. A62-1009 0
ROOTS: Indicators of Good Culture For paphiopedilums look at the roots, not at the leaves to judge condition; knock the plants out of their pots and inspect the root tips and if they are lacking, something is wrong with the culture. A77-710 0
ROOTS: In Flasks They grow above the medium where there is not enough oxygen getting into the flask. A79-455 0
ROOTS: Lack of Same If they are lost the first thing to check is the humidity level, the fresh-air level, the medium itself; carbon must be available for cell sugar use in the plant which it normally obtains from the host tree barks; if it is missing the lack shows up in various ways. AU84-204 0
ROOTS: Loss, Sudden and Excessive Watering with water containing highly concentrated sulfur could cause a buildup; repot, even if out of season; use rain-water. A71-345 0
ROOTS: Nutrient Absorbing Parts Only the tips of the aerial roots absorb nutrients; the velamen is relatively impervious; roots inside pots however attach themselves by means of root hairs capable of absorbing. A64-693 0
ROOTS: Old Ones Experiments with root absorption of a trace element: showed that old roots continue to function and are of value to the plant. ORII-210. 0
ROOTS: Outside Pots Why do they grow so vigourously?; it is because of too much watering, or the medium is too poorly aerated or dense. A69-55 0
ROOTS: Outside the Pot Actually an indication of good culture of epiphytic types of orchids, also an indication that cutlure of that particular plant on a mount, on a block, or in a basket would be appropriate and successful; when re-potting, leave the aerial roots outside the pot and do not be tempted to bury them in the new mix; in winter, if white velamen covers the green tips stop spraying water on them. OR85-30 0
ROOTS: Paphiopedilums If they appear brown and mushy it could be a fungus problem and the cure is to first repot the plant possibly in a 50/50 peat/perlite mix and culture normally but withhold fertilizer for several months. OR85-77They grow up out of the medium; it is because the medium is too dense, and poorly aerated;' change the mix, use medium fir bark instead of peat, Perlite and sand. A76-895 0
ROOTS: Phalaenopsis They grow a few inches then die; it occurs where the water supply is high in sodium salts especially. A72-807 0
ROOTS: Phalaenopsis on a Windowsill If roots show brown areas on the exposed ones it is because of too low humidity, A75-876 0
ROOTS: Structure Roots are made of a central core consisting of a number of tough tubes wound together, which pass food in liquid form from the root tip to the leaf cell and back again; the soft tissues, velamen, surrounding the core are rings of cells used to store food and water; ten layers of the outside surface of the root serve the double purpose, fungal threads pass through them unhindered but at the eleventh layer are devoured for food. AU73-87 0
ROOTS: Tips Being Eaten Away This is caused by sowbugs or snails more likely the latter; use Zectran 25%WP as a spray at 3 tpg. A75-192 0
ROOTS: Tips Eaten Away Look for bush snails in the early morning; look for Australian cockroaches carefully at night with a flash light; control the snails with metaldehyde spray; control cockroaches with Diazinon 25XWP at 2 ttpg. A71-783 0
ROOTS: Tips Eaten Off It is not likely sowbugs but bush snails that do the damage. A75-192 0
ROOTS: Treatment When Repotting Do not severely cut back healthy old roots because they continue to function and provide physical anchorage. F80-20 0
ROOTS: Wandering Over the Edge of the Pot Take a clean knife and cut the roots flush around the edge to stimulate the growth of new ones into the medium. OD79-162 0

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