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  #1  
Old 01-22-2021, 10:29 PM
Karl G. Karl G. is offline
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Default In search of bad phal roots clarification

I'm confused...
I've read Orchid Board posts that say to cut off all bad/dead/mushy roots - at the crown.

I've read posts that say just remove the dead velum, and leave the bare roots.

And, I've read posts that imply "never cut any roots off of a phal".

And therefor I seek proper guidance as to what the hell should I do with this Germaine Vincent...and bad phal roots in general?
The plant looks pretty good, but the roots...well...
Any sound advice will be much appreciated!
Karl G.
(I did skim through the end-all be-all phal pages here, but I'm still not sure what I should do)
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2021, 11:12 PM
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Those roots are mostly healthy. People can't reliably tell which roots are dead. That is why I advise not cutting them off unless they are black, wet and slimy.

That looks like a typical summer flowering Phal. They like high temperatures and can look poorly in cool winter homes.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2021, 11:45 PM
Karl G. Karl G. is offline
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Thank you for your response.
Maybe the photo can't depict the fact that just about every root has no substance - when I squeeze them there is nothing there to feel but the actual root itself.
Should I re pot (into semi-hydro) "as is"?
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:26 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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I can’t give an opinion on de semi-hydro but if you’re growing under cool conditions you may want to consider supplemental heat since evaporative cooling will make things even colder.

For Phal roots, I cut if they’re mushy all the way from the stem to the end of the root. If there are any sections that are firm: I leave the root as it’s still at least somewhat functional. It’s really important to be very careful if deciding to cut that you don’t accidentally remove any of these semi functional roots if root health isn’t great.

In my experience most of these semi functional roots will die following a repot. But, if you repot the Phal into conditions it likes, the old roots will stay functional long enough for new roots to establish. If all the roots are bad, leave enough dead roots intact to securely anchor the plant.

If the Phal is a new acquisition, you can likely blame the poor roots on the previous grower. If you’ve had it awhile examine your husbandry practices and growing conditions especially substrate, watering, and temperature.
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Old 01-23-2021, 01:26 AM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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I'll second everything alice has said.

The reason some growers don't cut rotting roots off is because they think it makes no difference. To me a few rotting roots is not too bad but if it is more than a few then the substrate can acidify, bacteria and fungus can grow so I prefer cutting any roots that are not firm or just pull the velamen off and leave the root as that doesn't rot or even if it does it turns more wood like unlike the velamen which turns everything soggy. So try to remove the really shrivelled and brown bits. From the picture it looks like 20% can be removed and 80% should be okish.
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Old 01-23-2021, 02:26 AM
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If a Phal doesn't look right the problem is almost always a problem with growing conditions. It is never a problem of needing roots cut off.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:03 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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To clarify, I don’t think cutting off dead roots will help any orchid’s recovery if underlying husbandry issues are not addressed.

With my own Phals and other orchids that had large numbers of dead roots, the presence of this mass of decaying material did seem to impede recovery even after I repotted them. With some it wasn’t clear what was dead so I left everything on during the initial repot, gave it month or so, then after continued decline or no signs of rebound, unpotted, cut everything that was now clearly dead, repotted, and shortly thereafter saw the first signs of recovery.

I think having a big mass of dead root tissue is like having a big mass of degraded sphagnum or the like: even if they’re repotted into an airy media like the bark I moved them into: I don’t see the benefit because of all the rotting tissue from the dead dead roots. It may be less of an issue if you’re growing under warm conditions, but I have a lot of issues with Phals and dense water retentive media like sphagnum when growing them at my household temperatures (low 70s).

I will add that I don’t regret the wait. Some plants recovered fine without needing to be unpotted and I assume in these cases the roots were viable after all. If you’re unsure if a root is alive or dead, I do think it’s best to err on the side of caution and not cut. You can always cut later if they become a problem.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:25 PM
Karl G. Karl G. is offline
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Thank y'all for some very good information - I have much to learn, and this really helps me!
I'll take the hit for contributing to the initial cause of the root problem. I guess left it in the old spag moss for too long, eh?
At any rate: I will approach the partial root trim based on the information provided, as it now makes sense to me. And will go with a good soak of kelp max prior to the s/h re-pot.
Take care all,
Karl G
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl G. View Post
Should I re pot (into semi-hydro) "as is"?
No. S/H culture is not a particularly good way to rescue ailing plants - unless your growing conditions are hot and humid.

Take a look at this.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl G. View Post
Thank you for your response.
Maybe the photo can't depict the fact that just about every root has no substance - when I squeeze them there is nothing there to feel but the actual root itself.
Should I re pot (into semi-hydro) "as is"?
Typical for plants from Norman's Orchids / Orchids.com. They are the absolute worst vendor out there. Not even worth trying to get compensation.
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