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Nico’s Nuggets: Growing Healthy Root Mass to Increase Yield

Nico Escondido

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Hi Nico, Thanks so much for the time you put into answering questions; and the amount of detail you go into when doing so. Maybe you can help me? I’d like to know how I can increase my root ball in my root zone, please?

I grow 8 plants in a DWC system in 20-liter pots and on my previous grow somehow I generated 5+ ounces of pure, dense bud (per plant) and I noticed the roots were abundant and very thick in diameter. But I’m not sure how I accomplished this exactly! I note everything I do and my lighting and environmental controls are consistent each grow is are my nutrient schedule.

However, this current cycle my roots aren’t half as abundant or thick as the last and I’m using clones from the last lot, so I’m wondering if you could shed some light on how to maintain a system which will give large roots balls – and thusly, large yield – each and every time?

My grow system consists of AC, one Gavita 750-watt light with master controller on a light rail moving over the 8 pots. I have a water chiller, a humidifier, a dehumidifier, CO2 injection, and filters in a closed room environment.


Thank you in advance and keep up the good work! – Saffet, via the mailbag at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com


Well, Mr. Saffet, thank you for reading and writing in as well as your kind words! It looks like you have quit the set-up going and have enjoyed some well-deserved success.

You’ll be happy to know that you already have an edge in creating a healthy, strong root mass because of your choice of grow system. DWC, or deep-water culture, grow systems are known for growing big plants with large yields as they offer excellent aeration for the root zone. In these systems, the plants sit in baskets or netted pots that drop down into larger buckets. The roots dangle down into these buckets, which periodically flood with water and nutrients, allowing the roots to sap up the H2O and nutrients the plants needs for growth. When the buckets are not flooded with water, the roots are hanging out in the air.


Excellent root structure from a DWC system.

This is optimal for root growth and development. Why? Because roots actually breath in oxygen, which, as you can imagine, is sometimes hard to come by when buried underneath soil or other grow medium. DWC’s primary benefit is the aeration of the root zone, however, you can do more.

You can further aerate your nutrient solution by adding air stones, bubble wands and diffusers to your reservoir to help oxygenate the water. These items connect to a standard aquarium pump and bring air into the reservoir to add gaseous minerals to the solution which will then be transported into the plant site buckets during flooding. In return, your roots will thrive and grow into massive structures. But there’s more…


Deep water culture systems like this one grow big plants and yield big as well.

In any hydroponic system it is always a good idea to add microbial agents and beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae (fungi) that are normally found in nature’s outdoor soils. These agents actually help the roots breakdown and absorb nutrients as well as transport minerals. Many companies such as Botanicare and DutchMaster offer these types of product lines. One hesitation I always have, however, in recommending the use of these products is that growers must be very careful as to which type of nutrient program they utilize with these additives. It is often best to use organic or veganic nutrients with these beneficials, as some synthetic (salt-based) nutrients prove to be too harsh and end up killing off the living microbials. Some milder synthetic nutrients can work in moderation, though, so be sure to do your research before purchasing any products.

Enjoy the indoor growing season everyone and have a happy and safe holiday!

Thanks for reading and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email 'em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!

Follow Nico on Social Media: @Nico_Escondido (Twitter) & @Nico_High_Times (Instagram)
 

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