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orchid root tip dieback

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by David K, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. David K

    David K New Member

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    For a few months now I've noticed issues with my orchids where the root tips seem to be dying back for some reason. I grow mostly epiphytically on cork and other mounts. But I'm seeing similar issues with potted plants. During last winter virtually all the roots seemed dead - I saw green velemen at all. With the new growing season this Spring and Summer some roots have sprouted back but then they again die back. I've checked day and night for insects or snails/slugs but have not noticed them. I water through a mist system or manually via a hose mounted mister. I fertilize with general very dilute fertilizer with a Hudson type sprayer about once every 5 days in the Spring/Summer. I suspect the water. My municipal water company does not provide a water analysis. I have a portable mini water tester and it showed pH about 6.2 and TDS of less than 100. Any ideas what might be causing problems and how to resolve this orchid culture problem?
    Here are a couple of photos showing problem:

    Attached Files:

  2. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Redding, California, USA
    David, identifying the cause of plant damage is a weak point in my orchid knowledge. However, I'm thinking the girdling shown in the first photo may be thrips. There are several discussions here on the forum on how to control thrips. Just do a "search".

    On the dead root tips... maybe low humidity? A variety of other causes or combination of factors could be the issue too. Hopefully someone can help. Good luck.
  3. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    Puerto Rico
    The first photo shows a plant whose water needs are being met inconsistently that is it seems to be going through a cycle where it is allowed to dry until it cannot support root growth any more and then watered again. The living root tips are so short it seems the plant is barely managing to sustain their growth. The second photo shows something totally different, those roots apparently had a healthy amount of new green tender growth, then something that dehydrated the root tips occurred, literaly something sucked the water out of those green tips. The usual culprit in this cases is the plant being watered with a solution of fertilizer that draws the water out of the growing tips of the roots.
  4. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Oak Island NC
    My first guess would agree with the lack-of-moisture assessment.

    Mounted plants do best in moderate-to-high humidity and frequent watering. Here in coastal NC, even with its high humidity, for example, I find that I must water mounted plants at least once a day.