BCRDWC. Root growth monitoring.

The test of root health & root mass development has always been a challenge, if not impossible, to achieve with any degree of accuracy. This challenge has been due to using a soil base or other inert growing materials, as in the past and present growing cultivation techniques. This challenge is because the plants being cultivated are in a solid rooting material like soil, rock wool or other inert growing materials available today, rendering an accurate root measurement an extremely difficult to nearly impossible task to achieve with great accuracy. Taking an actual root mass measurement would first require the removal of all none root materials encompassing the root system; this action is to prevent false readings by the added mass of the inert or soil-based materials used in the cultivation. However, the removal of the rooting material surrounding the roots creates a significant obstacle as the undertaking and removal of all none root material from around the root structure causes plant fine root structure damage, with the fundamental fibrous roots getting removed with the inert/soil materials of which make up most of a plant’s root structure and mass. So, the act of this removal, rendering an accurate representation of root mass and growth development, void. Also, removing a plant from its growing position and commencing to damage the root system by removing non-root material will cause the plant in most cases, to suffer mass stress & fail to recover, which in horticulture terms is a waste & loss of a valuable plant which could have borne fruit if left alone.  

Another factor to consider is not all plants are equal in their growth, as many factors can affect the vigour of a single plant over another, even if the plants are genetically identical. In addition, such things as plant location with respect to light & position within the growing environment can affect each plant on a very individual basis, so to measure one plant out of many does not give an accurate representation of overall possible crop production potentials from the root development of one plant in many or key growth control points for the entirety of the crop within the cultivation environment.  

Until the BCRDWC systems uniform functionality, there was no system or method to provide accurate, quantifiable root growth analysis throughout the life cycle of cultivated plants within a growing environment. As described above, current methods of root mass measurement without the risk of damage to the plant. So, until now, much of the root analysis has been conducted at the end of a plant’s life cycle, not during and throughout cultivation.  

So, it becomes abundantly clear that there is a need for a system and method that allows for an accurate incremental and quantifiable root mass development measurement, throughout a plant’s life cycle, without interrupting or affecting the growth and wellbeing of the plants within a cultivation system. 

The solution is within the solution.

Due to the BCRDWC hydroponic systems’ unique quantifiable fluid accuracy, any object of mass placed within the solution becomes evident as displacement, which allows for quantifiable volumetric measurements to be taken and quantified in litres displaced by root mass growth. 

By filling the BCRDWC hydroponic system to a quantified pre-set solution and volumetric level, which we at HTG have termed the solution level baseline, this baseline is a nutrient level point within the head sump unit. The measured fluid quantity, set before cultivation and without the submerged root mass growing into the quantifiable baseline solution. As the roots grow and expand into the set level nutrient solution, the roots start to displace X amount of solution when the solution reaches the pre-set baseline level, from empty. In that case, we are left with a root mass volumetric displacement figure over a pre-set increment of time within a cultivation period, with any number of timed displacement readings through a crop cycle. This quantifiable numerical data builds a pattern of crucial root growth at set points throughout a crop cycle, allowing the cultivator to assess key timing points of the crop cycle as more root equals more fruit.  

RMD at 10wks, Baseline level 100ltrs = ten root zones. Fill to base level 64ltrs fluid = volume displacement of 36ltrs Root mass development into the solution. 

As seen in the above example of root mass displacement, we can start to gain baseline knowledge at many key root growth stages of a crop cycle. These root mass figures are adaptable according to the species cultivated within the BCRDWC hydroponic system. Once a baseline has been achieved, the user may start manipulating the nutrient solutions and key biological stimulants in tailored, accurate degrees of bio elemental stimulation. This manipulation of the provided elements starts to build a numerical picture of the precise nutrient element requirements of the crop at given points of its cultivation cycle. Due to mathematically accurate & impactful results upon root mass development, alongside green plant development outside the root zone container. By combining the research of environmentally controlled green canopy growth & quantifiable root-zone expansion with numerical data, we can develop a highly balanced cultivation system to minimise waste whilst maximising output.  

Research in this area is an ongoing project to gain chronological root development empirical statistical data for all individual plant species the BCRDWC system can cultivate. Over time, using the BCRDWC’s numerical calculation system of root mass displacement, we can compose an accurate statistical database of root growth at critical stages. This database then allows the development of unique targeted nutrient and bio element feed regimes, enhancing crop production with scientific research.