While lots of growers care about the appearance of the leaves on their cannabis plants the most, we suggest paying attention to the roots as well. Yes, in most cases, you can barely see them and, therefore, cannot say whether they are healthy or not, whether they have grown big or stayed small, but if you give them some extra care, the reward will be superb!
There is a belief that a healthy root system is possible only for the plants that grow outdoors. But is that true? Well, if there were no other factors that affected your garden, it could be indeed very close to the truth. However, even outdoor plants require some additional care to make sure their root system is developing healthy and functioning effectively.
Even if the leaves and stems look quite healthy, your plant can provide you with a smaller yield than you expect or than the plant of the same strain did under other conditions. Those conditions may only be associated with root treatment. Even a tiny nutrient imbalance, not to mention pH variation, can lead to decay in performance.
There is a common misconception that every nutrient mix you feed to your plants will be fully absorbed. This is why many growers try to create their own unique and “most effective” mix that should lead to massive yield. However, the expectations rarely correspond to reality.
The thing is, plants are not sponges, and while they can absorb some nutrients right away (like humans would absorb sugar-containing products first), others require special conditions to start working as you expect them to. An overly concentrated fertilizer can damage the roots (the same as too much food will make us tired instead of giving us energy), and wrong nutrients can rather slow the growth instead of enhancing it.
On the other hand, giving your plants clear water with no additions at all is not the best idea either. If they do not get at least some magnesium, calcium, or silica (and this is especially essential for the plants that grow in neutral soil, such as coco fiber), plants begin to starve, their leaves become yellow, and the growth slows down. The same happens if a grower adds only nitrogen (without other nutrients) during the vegetative period: plants will simply not be able to absorb it without sufficient ratios of magnesium and calcium. That is why prepared nutrient mixes are often much better than any ingenious mixture growers make by themselves.
It is usually considered that the size of the root knot is more or less the same as the plant's crown. However, in real life, you can grow a huge cannabis tree that will give you a massive yield, while the plant is still sitting in an average-sized pot.
The best results are achieved through the Screen of Green method, which allows growing four to ten plants in a 5'x5' space. The screen promotes horizontal growth of the plant, which stimulates root expansion and facilitates light penetration. As a result, a large root knot makes it possible for a plant to support an abundant yield.
At the same time, it is very important to give the plants the best conditions to develop a normal root system. If you use a pot that is too small or the soil that is too heavy, there is a risk that the roots will grow around the walls of the pot trying to get access to air. Sometimes, you can see white roots going through the bottom hole, but when you decide to replant the cannabis, it appears to have a quite modest root system.
That is why it is important to provide your roots with a light soil mixture (you can add perlite or even regular river sand) and give them enough aeration. Additionally, you can plant your cannabis in air-pots—they have shown great results, and growers who use such pots usually have a sufficient boost in yields.
Adding beneficial microbes to the soil can help growers avoid nutrient overdose or any other gardening errors associated with root health. On the market, there are thousands of different brands that can offer you their “unique” solution for getting the maximum from your soil. However, the “magic” is usually in adding endomycorrhizal fungi and bacteria that can be used with any soil. You can get it by purchasing a prepacked product or even brewing aerated compost teas. They can be added both when you are planting your cannabis to the pot or later during the vegetative stage.
In any case, you can always find a recipe and learn how to make your own compost tea . This way you will save your money on purchasing expensive products. Also, remember that you cannot overdose your plants with beneficial bacteria. Even occasional adding of such a fertilizer to a potted plant can bring extraordinary results.
Therefore, whether you are growing a monster cannabis or a micro plant, make sure the roots feel comfortable and happy. The happier the roots are, the bigger yield your plants can provide. And that is exactly what we all are craving for.