How to improve the root system

How to improve the root system

The canopy of a plant is a mirror of its roots system

Just because the buds grow on the topside of a cannabis plant, many growers think this is the most important part of it. This is a common mistake. The canopy of every plant, not only cannabis, is nothing but the mirror of its roots. We can use a simile with a house. Imagine a great Mansion. Could it be possible without large and strong foundations? No way! They might not be directly responsible for growing buds, but they are the cause for many processes that will allow bud growth to happen!

A plant with a healthy root system can overcome many problems. It can fight plagues, viruses, poor culture conditions and so on. But the pathogens that attack our plants are predators and they act as any other predator in nature. They choose their targets. And any plant with weak a poor system will be a weak specimen. And the predators know it. Therefore, it will become the target they will choose. If you protect your plant root system, it will reward you with sticky home-grown bud!

What roots do for your plants

The path from a root to a leaf reminds of a straw. Water is transpired from leaves which produce suction. This way water is pulled through the roots, up through the stem and back into leaves. This is a very efficient way for plants to get moisture without having to take in as much water through its leaves.

The roots are needed to get nutrients

The roots are the main place where nutrient absorption happens. The roots are the guardians of the nutrients your plants get. The health of your root system determines how much of your nutrients are being used.

Cannabis growers know their plants can absorb nutrients through a process named ‘foliar feeding’. It is an excellent way to improve the irrigation process. But it is not enough. Neither for watering nor for feeding the plants. Roots will always be the main way for this process.

Roots are vital organs for any plant. They are absolutely necessary in order for life to continue. When a cannabis plant isn’t getting enough nutrients, the leaves/stems become damaged but the roots are left alone. When a cannabis plant gets too much nutrients, the leaves get burnt, but the roots are left alone. When a cannabis plant gets too much water, the leaves and stems suffer. The roots are the only vital part of the plant.

Rootbound: a common problem in plants cultivated in containers

The size of a plant depends on the amount of space the roots have to grow. Once the roots become out of space, which is known as rootbound, the growth will stop unless the conditions change. Although this won’t necessarily degrade the health of the roots directly, the rest of the plant will suffer.

To avoid this problem you must be sure the pot is big enough for the size of the plant you want to grow.

Overwater and underwater

No need to explain the problems these two methods will bring to your plants. But it is important to remind that underwatering is usually less stressing than overwatering. Too much water produces fungi and rotten roots. Both are deadly for the plant.

Primary and secondary roots

Plants develop two kinds of roots: primary and secondary. The first ones are to attach the plant to the soil. This is its only purpose. These roots are big but unable to be used to feed the plant. But in every curve of the roots appears a smaller root, white colored, which are the secondary roots. These are the ones the plant uses to absorb the nutrients. To promote these roots is convenient to add to the soil rounded pieces of arlite or volcanic clay. The primary roots will surround these pieces. And a secondary root will appear in these curves. The more secondary roots the plant has, the more nutrients will absorb.


To develop a good root system, the substratum needs to be able to allow the oxygen to circulate. For this reason it is very important to avoid too much compact soils. The soil must be loose and light. The looser and lighter it is, the more secondary roots will develop. The more secondary roots the plant has, the better buds you will get.

To get more oxygen circulating in the soil, it is very important to choose the proper pot. But this will be the subject of the next article.

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