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Indentifying Plant Diseases
Hydroponic gardening's popularity has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years, especially in North America.

Plant diseases or blights in a hydroponics garden are much less frequent than in a dirt garden because there is no dirt to grow bacteria. Not to mention the fact that many plant diseases travel to the plant from the surrounding soil.  Plant disease cannot occur without a host plant, a pathogen, and favorable environmental conditions.

Plants can be more susceptible to disease if weakened by environmental conditions such as too much shade, high humidity and crowded conditions. They are also more susceptible when weakened by nutrient deficiency or toxicity (too many nutrients) and poor pH.

There will always be some trouble with disease, just watch for it and take care of it immediately. Unfortunately, many disease cures involve the use of harsh chemicals which you really do not want on your plants. A hydroponics garden can easily collect such chemicals in the nutrient solution with indiscriminant use and get into the plant cells - not something you want. 

What To Do About Them

Try some less harsh solution first. Our favorite all-purpose cure is to mix water, baking soda, lemon juice and a very little dish detergent. Put this in a spray bottle and mist the affected parts of the plant. If you mix and use this recipe, make sure you cover all areas open to your nutrient solution or the dish detergent will get into it causing soap bubbles. 

 

Powdery Mildew
Description: Fungus causing whitish spots on the underside of the leaves. Eventually the leaves shrivel and die. Thrives in high humidity.

Treatment: Spray with homemade all purpose cure described earlier.
 

Root Rot
Description: Fungus rots a plants roots.

Treatment: Cut away rotted root portions and spray with a fungicide.  

 

Early Blight
Description: Dark brown spots on leaves, stems and plant fruit seriously weakening the plant.

Treatment: Treat with harsh chemicals (maneb, zineb).  
 

Black Mold
Description: Sooty black or grayish white leaf growth.                

Treatment: Gently wash leaves and scrape off mold.   

 

Anthracnose
Description: Fungus caused by over watering where leaves become marked with dark smears and shrivel. Hardly ever occurs in hydroponics plants

Treatment: Spray with fungicide and remove damaged leaves.  

Damping Off
Description: A fungus affecting small plants where stems meet soil causing them to fall over and die.

Treatment: Remove diseased sections. If it has affected a significant number of plants, replant in new soil and clean containers.  

Botrytis
Description: Grayish white, fuzzy leaf growth caused by inadequate ventilation. Not common in hydroponics gardens.
 
Treatment: Increase ventilation and remove affected 

Rust
Description: Slightly raised, powdery red pustules on the underside of the leaves causing them to turn yellow then brown and die. Helped along by high humidity. Very contagious.

Treatment: Apply harsh chemicals like zineb or maneb. 

Club Root
Description: Roots turn into a mass of club shaped tubers. Plants may become stunted.

Treatment: Dust with fungicide

 

Crown and Stem Rot
Description: Fungus causes plant to turn pulpy and rot.

Treatment: Cut away rotted plant portions and spray with a fungicide.