They absorb water and nutrients, anchor the plant to the soil or substrate, can serve as storage organs and are home to microorganisms (rhizosphere).
A healthy root system is capable of adapting to the growth conditions. In dry conditions, the plant will direct more energy to the production of an extensive root system. If roots are damaged (when transplanting for example), the plant tries to repair this as quick as possible by reducing or even stopping growth above ground, to invest all the available energy in root repair.
What slows down root growth?
There are two types of factors which slow down root growth:
Biotic factors (originating from living organisms):
Biotic factors can have a negative impact on crops. Examples are pests or diseases or eating into/infection of the roots and plants by insects and/or mould infections.
A-biotic factors (environmental factors):
These involve factors such as the quantity/presence of water, light, carbon, oxygen and nutrients. But factors such as the soil pH, soil structure, mechanical damage and temperature fluctuations can also inhibit root growth.
What stimulates root growth?
A grower can stimulate optimal root growth by planting the plant in a soil with sufficient soil structure and soil life and by supplying the correct nutrients. A good availability of phosphate is known to be important for root development.
There are also several hormonal processes in a plant which affect root development. The plant produces signalling agents (triggers) which set important physiological processes in motion. Some of these signalling agents are:
Gibberellin (GA): stimulates germination and initial growth, promotes stem elongation and is very decisive for flowering and fruit set.
Auxin: stimulates root development and the formation of new side roots.
Cytokinin: promotes recovery capabilities, stimulates cell division and new growth.
Specifically for the stimulation of root development, our range includes the product Optima Root. This product contains, besides well-balanced nutrients, seaweed extract, amino acids, vitamins, humic and fulvic acids, which promote root development.