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Stunted roots

This is a discussion on Stunted roots within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hi all. I have a query about causes of stunted new root growth. I've heard ...

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  1. #1
    come_on_ranger's Avatar
    come_on_ranger is offline Junior Member
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    Default Stunted roots

    Hi all.

    I have a query about causes of stunted new root growth. I've heard that it could be because the orchid doesn't like the substrata. Is that true? Are there any other reasons why the new roots stop growing after a few centermeters? Some go brown on the end instead of fresh green colour. Could anyone give me a tip, please?

    Thanks, Debbie.

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    raybark is online now Senior Member
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    There are several potential reasons, with insufficient humidity, chemical toxicity, or the medium is acting as a desiccant being some of the more common ones.

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    Thanks, Ray, for your reply. Sorry to sound ignorant, but what do you mean by the medium acting as a desiccant? Could the glue used to make the coconut fiber lining be a cause of chemical toxicity?

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    Hi Debbie...

    I agree with Ray. I would clean the plant of all old medium; cut off bad roots to healthy tissue OR just dip in fungicide. Then repot into fresh medium that drains well: in case the plant was suffering from excessive moisture at the roots.

    Using tapwater can be resented by some types more than others if you are in a hard water area. Play safe by using rainwater, or a fancy alternative.

    Overfeeding can cause trouble: salts can build up in the medium and make it toxic to the roots. Always flush well by using 2 or 3 plain waterings between feeds (at half the normal dose). There is an orchid feed that will not foul the medium at all, but I can't use it's name on here (it originates from a certain BELGIAN nursery hint-hint and the brand name has to do with rain... I use it and it is brilliant.)

    QUESTION: What kind of orchid is it, and how big? Size makes a difference when it comes to recuperation and post-surgical care...

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by come_on_ranger View Post
    Thanks, Ray, for your reply. Sorry to sound ignorant, but what do you mean by the medium acting as a desiccant? Could the glue used to make the coconut fiber lining be a cause of chemical toxicity?
    What I'm referring to is a medium that literally "sucks" moisture from the newly-growing root tips.

    I have only seen it when folks use expanded clay media, and don't water enough, but I imagine it could occur with any medium that has a high moisture-holding capacity.

  6. #6
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    I have never had trouble with coconut fibre myself- but I guess it am lucky to have a reliable source. (I believe coconut fibre has to be well washed in order to make it chemically neutral enough to make it suitable as a rooting medium... I suppose some sources may not process it fully.

    BTW: "dessication" or drying of the root tissues is actually why hard water as well as untreated fibre are harmful: they contain higher concentrations of salts than the plant tissues- and slow down or prevent water uptake by the roots... or in extreme circumstances can actually cause water to flow FROM the roots INTO the substrate. It is a process called Osmosis.

    (Osmosis is what we try to avoid when making a salad: we dress it just before serving because if a dressed salad stands around for too long the leaves would wilt- the salty dressing draws water from the plant cells making them lose turgor stiffness. But osmosis is a help with coleslaw: the cabbage has to be softened a bit with salt etc to make it pleasantly crunchy but not inedible.)

  7. #7
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    Default

    Hum! It's all starting to make sense now. Thanks for the advice and the briefing on the technical lingo. so, going from what could be the cause, should I perhaps soak the coconut fiber in water for a day and them repot with sterilized media? Not all of the orchids in coconut pouches are suffering. It's mostly the mini cattleyas. The oncidiums are growing fine. I also have a Pot. In a coconut pouch and it's doing fine. The roots are even penitrating the fiber. On each cattleya the is new growth, it's just the roots that aren't doing so well.
    Thanks again for pro info!
    Posted via Mobile Device

    Here's a pic of my orchids in the garage. The garage here in Brazil is also the entrance to the house, so the gate/garage door has bars so pleanty of light gets through.
    Name:  Debbie's pictures 2 003.JPG
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  8. #8
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    A picture is worth a thousand words! I SEE! You have coconut fibre POUCHES. (I thought you used chopped fibre as a medium in pots and baskets, like I do.) Your first instinct was probably correct: the binding may have added a chemical load at the beginning.

    Anyway, you are right about what to do... I always soak the chopped coconut fibre well in rainwater and later squeeze it to get most of thewater out- and I'm pretty sure everyone will tell you that; you should certainly have washed the pouches before planting them up? It is great that the Potinara and oters are rooting well- that indicates to me that there is not a big problem, and a washing out of the pouches and replanting with fresh medium will sort everything out ok- just as you say. Any plants that are doing fine- I would just leave them be.

    You have some lovely plants there!

    (Miniature catts- all my ones took FOR EVER to get going... but that could mean anything... maybe they just tend to be s-l-o-w developers? Everything they do is in ultra-slow-motion! Buds can take months to open.)

  9. #9
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    Default

    Thanks for all your help, everyone! I tried to upload some more photos of my orchids on the forum, but they seem to be too big.

    I also have another query about another orchid. A cattleya cutting which I was given has developed bubbles in the older leaves. It has a new, slow growing shoot on it with a new root, but I'm a bit concerned about the bubbles. Any clues?

    Deb

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    Quote Originally Posted by come_on_ranger View Post
    Thanks for all your help, everyone! I tried to upload some more photos of my orchids on the forum, but they seem to be too big.
    Deb
    Deb, please see the section on attaching or linking photos : http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...tml#post105368
    Without a photo it is difficult to give you an answer. Resizing photos to fit the forum is quite easy and can be done either on your computer or right here in the forum. Image Editor for OrchidTalk - OrchidTalk Orchid Forums - Grow Orchids!

    Cheers,
    BD

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