Quite literally, healthy roots are connected to tasty and potent buds. The relationship your pot plant's root system has with the buds is actually very complex and interesting as you start to break-it down. It can also be noted that there are some myths and folklore regarding roots and how your plants feed; let's have a look underneath, shall we?
Plants quite literally live in two worlds at the same time: there is the aerial environment, which receives light and carbon dioxide to fuel growth, then, there is the root environment or “rhizosphere” -- the dark and mysterious place that we never really get to see much of. What's going on below the surface is critical to the health and ultimately the quality and quantity of buds that can be harvested.
Below, a plants root system has very different needs. Roots need to be kept dark, moderately cool, moist and preferably in an oxygen rich environment. The polar opposite of what's going on up top in your cannabis garden.
The two biggest problems growers tend to create at the roots is too wet and too warm. This stifles plant performance because the roots become starved of oxygen. When this happens, imbalances in the natural biology in and surrounding the roots occur and plant diseases like root rot can start to set in.
In nature, the roots are usually about 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the air temperature, with the ground temperature remaining rather constant. It is a scientific fact that cooler temperatures in the root zone means that there is more potential for higher levels of oxygen. Roots love oxygen, but they also don't like temperature below 65 degree Fahrenheit. Once temperatures drop below this, important elements like phosphorous in the budding phase become harder to uptake.
The optimal root zone temperature is actually a rather fine line in comparison to the aerial (upper) plant environment, with the optimal range being somewhere between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, a temperature range of 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit is usually what happens through an average day in nature for a cannabis plant up top, while the portion in the earth tends to remain a seasonal constant.
Do bigger root systems mean bigger yields? Not always. A bigger root system that has not reached “container bound” proportions can be more forgiving however. Growers who inoculate their growing soils with beneficial bacteria and fungi, for example like mycorrhizae can potentially build a bigger root system in the same sized pot. A root system like this will resist environmental stresses like over watering, pH fluctuation and saline conditions better than an untreated root system.
However, in a performance growing system, root systems can remain relatively compact, because they are efficient. For example, bare rooted plants in hydroponics can support massive yields of buds while having a much proportionately smaller root system. That’s because in hydroponics, there is no soil or soil life to get in between nutrients and absorption by the roots.
Is one better than the other? The answer depends on what you are looking for or need in your growing experience.
Soil is forgiving and can help produce a higher percentage of dried weight (usually). Changes are slow to happen in soil, which while making it easier to manage doesn't give it the fastest growth rates.
Growers looking for faster growth rates and quick crop turn around times may find some advantages in hydro. Hydro can be especially handy for urban growing where carrying bags of soil in and out all the time isn't a good idea -- some hydro mediums like grow rocks are completely re-usable and you need only small amounts relative to plant size.
However, with good organic growing practices, healthy soils may also be re-used several times before being replaced too.
The dark underworld of roots in your cannabis crop is a fascinating one and it has a direct bearing on what's happening up top: think deep!