Yo, what’s good fellow growers? It’s your boy Dan here to give you some tips on how to prevent and fix root bound cannabis plants. When we’re growing indoors in containers, plants can get cramped up and root bound, which can lead to all sorts of problems. So let’s dive into what root bound means, how to recognize it, and what you can do if it happens to you.
First off, when your plants are root bound, it means that the roots have outgrown their container and don’t have any more room to grow. This is a common issue when growing cannabis indoors, as we tend to use smaller containers. Outdoors in garden beds, plants becoming root bound is less likely, although it can happen when roots hit restricting barriers such as pipes or large rocks underground.
So how do you know if your plants are root bound? Here are some common signs:
– Nutrient deficiencies: If your plants are lacking nutrients despite proper feeding and watering, they may be root bound.
– Containers drying out too quickly: If you find that the soil dries out after only a day or two and you need to water very often, it means that your plant needs more water than the container can hold.
– Plants get way too big and unstable: When your plants have grown too tall for their container size, they may easily tip over. This is usually a sign that your plants have become root bound and need to be transplanted into bigger pots.
– Nutrient burn without excess nutrients: If you spot the signs of nutrient burn, but you are feeding your plants only lightly.
– Smaller buds with stunted growth: If your buds grow smaller, or your plants’ overall growth is slower than usual.
– Sick plants, wilting, drooping: If your plants have a sick appearance or start to wilt or droop unexpectedly.
If you suspect that your plants are root bound, it’s time to take action. Carefully remove them from their containers and check the roots. You want to be careful when you remove plants from their containers in order to not damage the roots. Get a good grip on your plant’s stem, right above the soil line. Rest your hand on top of the soil so that the stem is between your fingers. Carefully flip over the whole plant and then try to pull off the container. If you have troubles pulling off the container, carefully squeeze the container a few times around the side. This helps to loosen up the soil inside.
When you have managed to pull out your root-bound plant from the container, the roots will be running in a tight circle in the shape of the container. Before you replant into a bigger container, you should try loosening the compact mess of roots so they can spread out again. You can carefully do so with your fingers or by using a sharp knife to cut a few top-to-bottom incisions into the outer layer of the tightly-packed root ball. But be very careful and only cut thin roots. Do not cut any thick tap roots! 2-3 incisions evenly spaced out around the root ball should be all that you need to free the roots so that they can grow outwards again.
Take a new container with enough room so that your plant’s roots have plenty of space to expand. Fill the container with some soil, make a hole, and then align your plant in the middle. Make sure that your plant is at about the same soil level as you had it before. After you have placed your plant in its new container, water the soil. At this point, you can also add root stimulant to help with things.
But wait, why not prevent this from happening altogether? Preventing your plants from outgrowing their pots and becoming root bound is not difficult. Simply choose large enough containers from the start so this won’t ever happen. If you plan to replant during a grow, up-pot into bigger containers before it’s too late. Don’t wait until your plants have outgrown their current containers.
To sum it up my fellow growers, keep an eye out for signs of root bound cannabis plants and take action if necessary by carefully removing them from their containers and planting them into bigger pots with enough room for their roots to spread out. And remember prevention is key! Choose large enough containers from the start or up-pot before it’s too late.