Using rapid rooter plugs with seeds is a common practice for hydroponics farms to start developing roots quickly for transplant of seedlings. Rapid rooter plugs provide the essential conditions for seedlings to have healthy roots when transplanting. There are a variety of different brands of rapid rooter plugs which could be used for aquaponics. Rapid rooter plugs come from organic material with prepared nutrient compositions to support the early stage of growth for seedlings. Today we will be discussing how to use rapid rooters and what they are made of.
Root Development For Seeds Requires Phosphorus, Aeration, and Good Structure
Seeds and seedlings require specific conditions for proper germination and nursing before transplanting. Root development is essential to help the seedling adapt to the hydroponics or aquaponics water. Better root development will lead to better growth rates for your plants. Rapid rooter plugs are designed to provide the optimal conditions and nutrients needed for germination up to transplant of plants. First, we must understand what are the conditions needed for seedlings to boost root development.
Phosphorus Is An Essential Macronutrient For Plants Which Is Essential For Energy, Root Development, and Stem Strength
According to Dr. Bill Griffith from Mosaic Crop Nutrition, phosphorus is usually used by plants in the form of phosphates or H2PO4- or HPO42-. Phosphorus drives the use of energy in photosynthesis in plants in it’s form of ATP. ATP is commonly known as the unit of energy in everyone’s favorite cell organelle, the mitochondria. As one of the three micronutrients needed for plant growth, phosphorus aids in the development of new cells. DNA and RNA use phosphorus to glue together its structure. New and developing cells contain most of the phosphorus in the plant. This includes new cells in roots and in stems.
Rapid Rooter Plugs Are Made Of Organic Matter Designed To Optimize The Early-stage Growth Of Seedlings
General Hydroponics copyrighted the Rapid Rooter plant starter plugs although alternatives are available in the market. These come from tree bark and prepared with the necessary bacteria and nutrients to boost plant growth in early stages. This helps plants establish their mycorrhizae and root ecosystem. Plants rely on the mycorrhizae for nutrient uptake and converting nutrients in roots. Mycorrhizae are symbiotic fungi found in all plant roots necessary especially for the uptake of phosphorus. According to the University of Nevada – Reno campus, 90% of all plant species have symbiotic fungi that assist in multiple root functions and development. Rapid rooter plugs assist with the establishment of this root ecosystem for your plants. Other alternatives to these include using peat moss prepared by Klasmann who formulate different germination mediums for your plant.
Read more about: Best Plants To Grow In Aquaponics
Rapid Rooplantt Plug Structure and Most Germination Mediums Have Structures That Will Allow For Aeration and Ideal Water Retention For Your Seeds
The structure of the root plug is ideal for transplanting and aeration. Good germination mediums will allow your root to develop around and inside the medium. After the root fully develops, your roots and the germination medium will intertwine in such a way that they will not fall apart from each other. This is because as the roots develop around the root plug, your mycorrhizae have established in the medium as well. So taking the seedling along with the root plug will make it easy for transplanting into your hydroponics unit. Aeration for your root system helps develop root better to avoid drowning. Although water retention reduces use of water, too much water will drown your seedlings. Depending on the plant species, they will have different water requirements. More aeration will translate to more drainage for your germination medium, preventing waterlogging of the medium.
How To Use Rapid Rooter Plugs With Seeds
Using rapid rooter plugs with seeds is simple. Rapid rooter plugs are ready for use immediately for your seeds, but practices differ from each practitioner. Personally, I follow our own steps used in our commercial farm for germination of seeds. Our preferred germination medium is peat moss, but this is also applicable to different germination mediums like rapid rooter plugs. Follow these steps to germinate your seeds in your rapid rooter plugs:
- Prepare your rapid rooter plugs in a seedling tray or in a plastic container. Make sure your plugs are standing upright all the time and have proper drainage.
- Place one seed per plug at a depth of half an inch. Some seeds will also grow on top of the plug itself and the roots will naturally burrow into the medium.
- Follow the advised watering practice for your plant species, and make sure that the water drains well from the medium to avoid waterlogging
- Once the seedling has developed roots all around the outside of the rapid root plug, you could start transplanting already.
- In transplanting, ensure that the bottom of the net cup or the root plug only slightly touches the water to avoid the plant from drowning.
What To Avoid When Using Rapid Rooter Plugs With Seeds
It is simple to use rapid rooter plugs for your germination, but it is important to keep these in mind when nursing your seedlings:
- Avoid waterlogging by leaving space below the plug for water to flow
- Sunlight is still important for the seedling stage to avoid elongated stems
- Only use distilled or prepared water for your seedlings since most of the nutrients needed for the seedling come from the seed itself and the rapid rooter plug
- No need to use fertilizer for seedlings since the rapid rooter plug already has the necessary nutrients for root development and initial vegetative growth
Rapid rooter plugs are simplified for use with seeds for both experts and hobbyists alike. The major element required for root development is phosphorus as this will promote the development of new cells and utilization of energy in plants. Ideally, germination mediums like rapid rooter plugs contain most of the necessary nutrients and structure for germination. The benefit of using rapid rooter plugs include the ease of transplanting and early establishment of the plant’s root system. Your plant’s roots use mycorrhizae and bacteria to assist in its development and the uptake of nutrients in the water or in the soil. Rapid rooter plugs are designed to optimize the growth of these beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae for your plant, boosting overall productivity of your plants.