What Are the Symptoms of Root Rot?

Wilted, Yellowing Leaves Are Signs of Root Rot.

What are the symptoms of root rot?

Whether you’re a farmer or a casual gardener, one thing you don’t want your crops or plants to suffer is root rot. This is a disease that can cripple your plants and stunt their growth. It has many causes ranging from overwatering to fungal infections to exposure to freezing temperatures. Depending on the cause, the disease has varying symptoms, some of which are similar to those of other plant diseases. Symptoms can include:

  • Slow growth, especially in comparison to healthy plants.
  • Older leaves yellowing and falling.
  • When the root ball is cleaned of soil the roots will appear dark brown or black. There will also be no or very few white roots or root tips.
  • An unhealthy plant will have roots that are limp and not crisp.
  • When removed from potting soil, the root’s outer layer of cells will get stripped away leaving behind the water-conducting tissue.

If you are noticing these symptoms in your plants and want treatment for root rot in Fort Worth, TX, you can always count on the professionals at Butler Tree Health. We provide several solutions to treat your plants and keep them healthy. Learn more about what we can for you by calling 817-882-6499.

How fast does root rot happen?

Root rot is most often caused by microscopic fungi that feed on plants. It’s usually caused because plants are kept in poor environments for growing. These environments have poor drainage, are overcrowded, and lack adequate sunlight. The speed at which root rot affects a plant will depend on the plant. Sometimes the disease causes changes slowly, in other plants the disease can spread rapidly. Untreated, the disease can kill the plants. 

What does overwatering look like?

Obviously, plants need water to survive. But too much water can cause as much damage as too little water. Too much water, in particular, can cause damage to the roots. When there is too much water, especially in compacted or clay soils, you can actually deprive the roots of their oxygen, and restrict your plant’s growth. This is a form of root rot. One of the most common signs of overwatering is wilting. But, wilting is also a sign of a plant not getting enough water. There’s no need, however, to fret over whether you’re overwatering or underwatering. Your leaves will tell you. If they are dry and brittle, your plant isn’t getting enough water. If the leaves are limp, they’ve been watered too much. One of the best ways to avoid overwatering is to water your plants less frequently and slowly for a long period of time. Irrigating your garden will also help. In addition, you also want to plant plants with similar water needs closer to each other, and select plants that grow best in the type of soil that you have.

How do you get rid of root rot?

If your plants are showing signs of root rot—yellowing leaves and wilting, for example—you want to get treatment for them quickly, as these are usually advanced stages of the disease.

Treat the disease as follows:

  • Check the root system. If it is mushy, the disease is too well advanced to save the plant.
  • Look for white, firm roots. If present, you can replant the plant in fresh soil where drainage is good. Make sure you replant within a few hours of uprooting.
  • Before replanting, clean the roots under running water. Remove brown, mushy roots with scissors, cutting slightly above the damaged area.
  • After replanting, to stop the spread of fungal spores, sterilize your scissors in a 1 part bleach to 3 parts water solution.  

Does hydrogen peroxide kill root rot?

Another way to kill off root rot is to use hydrogen peroxide. You’ll have to use a weakened solution of about 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water. Pour the mixture around the roots as well as the plant’s base to kill off the fungus and bacteria affecting the plant.

Is root rot contagious?

Root rot can spread to other plants, though this will depend on several factors, including the type of plants you have, as well as what’s caused the disease. Overwatered plants won’t be a problem unless you continue to overwater them. If the disease is caused by a fungal infection it could be transmitted to other plants if the spores are spread to those plants, although a really healthy plant might not be as readily infected as one that’s less healthy or growing in an unhealthy environment. 

Is root rot dangerous to humans?

For the most part, root rot or other diseases that infect plants are not harmful and can’t be transmitted to humans. Even if you eat plants with such diseases, you are unlikely to get sick, although the produce might not taste as good as a healthy plant, so it’s not recommended. Of course, humans can get sick from eating plants contaminated with bacteria and parasites like giardia that cause food poisoning. Occasionally, plants can transmit diseases like sporotrichosis, caused by fungus on decaying roses.

How to prevent root rot in potted plants

Root rot can be a problem for potted plants, a problem that can be prevented fairly easily. Poor drainage is one cause of the disease, so make sure the pot you plant in has a hole in the bottom for drainage. You also want to select potting soil that will drain well. After you water your potted plant, you want to empty the water that’s drained off it, so the water won’t get absorbed by the soil.

Potted Plants Are Often Susceptible to Root Rot.

When to treat root rot

You want to try to treat root rot as soon as you identify it. Usually, this means replanting any plants that still have healthy root systems. You may also have to get rid of some plants if the rot has progressed too far. Anytime you need help with root rot in Fort Worth, TX, the professionals at Butler Tree Health are always willing to assist you. Find out all the things we can do to help your plants and trees by calling 817-882-6499.