The Root Cause – With AutoPot

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A root system is the unseen glory of every successfully grown plant. Here’s where water and nutrients are absorbed, where the literal groundwork is laid for fruitful, productive structures, and where your plant is anchored. It’s plainly obvious to state that you cannot grow without these fundamentals. The interesting thing is that by improving the mass and function of these fundamentals you stand to gain immensely. There’s a host of ways to improve root mass and function and if you think we haven’t got some excellent solutions then you don’t know AutoPot Watering Systems, yet!

Above: Thar she blows! AirDome, the highly effective, inexpensive root zone oygenating device by AutoPot

Oxygenating devices, fabric pots, probiotic bacteria, and beneficial fungi, one way or another we have root zone enhancement comprehensively covered. However, before you diversify your growing methods there’s one abiding question to consider; where are your roots going to call home? Your choice of growing media is crucial. Any enhancing products will only build on the relative levels of success brought about by the substrates you use. So what to choose?

Ideally you want a growing media that maintains a balance between aeration, water-retention, and wicking. A blended growing media with such qualities encourages roots to develop fully, anchor securely, and feed keenly. For a more detailed look substrate combinations check out our growing guides (USA here, RoW here). With your media chosen you can start to experiment with enhancements.

Above: Check out our growing guides for the ultimate in AutoPot-friendly growing media

Getting oxygen into the root zone is essential for cellular respiration and root development. Our AirDome allows you to do this on-demand, in pots, with soil or coco-based growing media. The AirDome connects to a small air pump (available separately) and is then placed in the bottom of your pot. Surround the AirDome with gravel, pH stable clay pebbles, an AirBase Square (for 1Pot or easy2grow) or an AirBase Circle (for XL and FlexiPot) in order to optimise drainage. Then pot up. When switched on the AirDome disperses air up into the pot stimulating rapid root growth that enables higher rates of nutrient uptake. AirDome also helps to maintain the aerated texture of your grow media. Roots are given all the room they need to spread and the free-draining rhizosphere is less susceptible to disease.

Above: Fabric containers such as our FlexiPots offer excellent root zone aeration and help create keenly feeding root structures for healthy, productive plants

Another means of aeration lies in your choice of pot. Fabric FlexiPots feature porous sides that help to train the root structure rather than merely containing it, stimulating rapid, vigorous plant growth. When root tips reach the porous side of a FlexiPot they are ‘air-pruned’ – deterred from extending any further by the air outside. Secondary roots then develop, creating a root structure capable of vastly improved moisture and nutrient uptake. Root circling is also eliminated, making it possible to produce bigger plants from smaller pots. The porous BPA-free, Lead-free FlexiPot material also allows improved gas exchange in the substrate. Free to breathe the root zone can see dramatically enhanced oxygen levels – again supercharging growth.

Above: The full BioTabs range is available in the U.K. from AutoPot, including Mycotrex, the most concentrated mycorrhizal product on the market

To cultivate the actual content of the rhizosphere we offer a range of BioTabs organic fungi and beneficial bacteria in the UK. Mycotrex, the most concentrated mycorrhizal product on the market, unites roots and nutrients in the substrate through a most extraordinary natural process. The mycorrhiza fungus spores in Mycotrex attach themselves to your roots and germinate into hair-like tips that maximise water and nutrient absorption, accelerating healthy growth. This can increase root mass by up to 700%!

An ideal pairing with Mycotrex is Bactrex. This beneficial bacteria and trichoderma-rich water-soluble powder gets to work eating through any dead organic matter in the substrate and turning it back into food for your roots. In doing so it also lays a path for mycorrhizae and denies pathogens a home in the substrate. 

Above: Bactrex by BioTabs – a grow media conditioning water soluble powder that is rich in beneficial bacteria and trichoderma

Similarly adept at conditioning soils or coco media is BioTabs Startrex. Like Bactrex this also contains probiotic bacteria that condition your root zone. It creates a superb home for your roots and for your nutrients whilst also protecting your gains by displacing and repelling pathogens and disease.

With just a little bit of free-thinking and forward planning these easy to employ root-enhancing methods can bring you a great deal of joy. It’s not just about being boring and bowing down to the fundamentals, there’s so much to gain from a little exploration ‘down there.’

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