How to Check & Prune Roots


Why Roots Matter

Keeping your plant roots healthy is key to growing healthy plants! One of the best and easiest things you can do for healthy plant roots is regularly adding HydroBoost to your water tank. Learn more about HydroBoost's many benefits here!

Roots are the foundation of your plants and have many functions, so it's crucial to show them some care! Roots provide the anchor needed to keep the plant in place, and they act as a lifeline by taking up air, water, and nutrients.

Signs of Healthy vs. Unhealthy Roots

Healthy plant roots vary in shades of white*, most often appearing as a creamy white, especially on new growth. Certain species, like Swiss Chard and Bull's Blood Beets, have naturally colorful roots. Healthy roots have a neutral to plant-like smell.

Unhealthy roots appear brown* to black, feel slimy, and easily fall apart when handled. They also tend to have a rotten odor.

*An exception to healthy root color is Bare Root Strawberries. Upon arrival, you'll see their roots are brown, which is perfectly normal and a result of the plants' dormancy. Once you prep and place your Strawberries on your Gardyn upon their arrival, you'll see the roots lighten in color over time.

Some hydroponic plants can produce additional, adventitious roots. These are roots that generate from other parts of the plant - like the stem tissue - rather than the root system, but they're nothing to worry about!

How to Check Your Roots & Prune as Needed

1. Remove each plant from the column, one at a time

You can pull the whole yPod out - no need to separate the yCube!

2. Look at the roots

Healthy roots are typically white & odorless. Swiss Chard & Bull’s Blood Beet Greens are the exceptions, with bright magenta roots.

3. See any brown, smelly, or slimy roots?

These signs indicate rotting roots. Remove them by pinching away the rotting section & discarding.

  • Tip: Regularly adding HydroBoost can improve root health & prevent root rot!

4. Contain roots within the yPod

If any roots are growing outside or beyond the yPod, gently tuck them back inside the yPod.

  • Tip: 1-2 month-old plants are still developing their roots, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to trim any at that stage.

5. No more room in the yPod?

Some plants have robust root systems that grow so thick inside the yPod that you can't push any more stray roots inside. When this happens, you'll need to trim the roots outside and inside the yPod to make room for new growth and water.

Trim the stray roots by pinching or using a clean pair of scissors. Next, separate the yCube from the yPod to access the full root mass and trim off the bottom corner at a 45° angle.

6. Check mature plants’ roots every 2 weeks

Consistent & small root pruning is less likely to shock your plant than more sporadic & severe root pruning. Kelby will help remind you with a task in the app!

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