There’s a common misconception among cannabis growers that if your plant’s root system looks like the plant on the right (see below)…then you’ve got healthy roots. 

In the horticultural world, the plant on the right is an example of developing root bound, or root lock. So, what are bound roots and how can they affect your plant’s growth? And, once you know your matted & circled roots aren’t a sign of a strong root system…how should cannabis growers go about avoiding root bound all together? 

Unlocking Root Lock

To avoid the negative effects of a root bound plant, first you have to learn what it is and how it occurs in the first place. By definition a plant with root bound means…

“…that the roots have completely taken up the pot, often circling and creating a dense web of roots. This can form a compacted, hard ball that comes out of the pot with effort, retaining the shape of the pot. If often means the plant isn’t healthy because the roots have replaced the potting soil.”

When transplanting, if your roots are entwined in a circular fashion, they will continue to develop in the same direction, rather than sending the roots into the surrounding soil. If the roots keep circling, they ultimately choke the plant. 

Healthy roots = happy plants.

While you may think you’re transplanting a strong, visible root system…come to find out, you’re making it harder to thrive for the plants you’re wanting to grow as healthy and maximum yield, as can be. 

We all know the roots are where the magic of the plant begins. Roots perform the main functions in helping Cannabis grow…they anchor the plant for heavy buds, absorb,store and distribute water, food & nutrients you so lovingly provide your growing ladies. 

To perform optimally (aka maximum yields) and for a plant to grow healthy, you have to start with a healthy root system

Recent studies have also shown that roots produce compounds that affect the microorganisms in the soil. What can that do for your plant? Ideal microorganisms can help protect the plant from disease, and encourage nutrients to absorb in the soil

So what are the side effects of unhealthy roots or root bound plants? 

  • Can wilt quickly
  • Yellowing or dead foliage
  • Stunted growth

The Proof is in the Soil

While many sites can teach you how to fix root bound plants, how about preventing it? We’ve been using Microkote, a container coating design to prevent the issue altogether. MicroKote® contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc bound in a latex coating that provides delayed release of the nutrients when the roots reach the sides of the container. As seen in our testing footage, below – 

When you remove the soil from the Microkote grown plant, you can see the healthy root systems ready to adhere to their new transplanted container. Watch us hose down a cannabis root ball below…


Transplanting healthy roots can avoid shock & mechanical root pruning – plus, you can reap the benefits of your strong, uniform and healthy plants as they mature and are ready to harvest.


Continue to follow our journey, like us on Instagram & Facebook and comment below on how you keep your roots happy and healthy!