kev843

Hydrogen Peroxide,the miracle cure???

kev843
April 24, 2008

Hi everyone

I was reading somewhere that Hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill the bacteria that causes root rot,and at the same time provide oxygen to the roots!

Has anyone else heard of this?

Seems like it would work and for those of us that dont have as fast of draining mix as we would like this could be a Godsend LOL :-)

Comments (18)

  • redneck_grower

    Hydrogen peroxide is only weakly antibacterial. And, it is very unstable, releasing oxygen and water when exposed to organic material (visualize the bubbling that occurs when you put it on a wound).

    My guess is that by the time the peroxide got deep enough to be at the level of root rot, it would only consist of water, having released its oxygen long before it got there.

    I could be wrong, but I bet it's not an effective measure, except MAYBE in very shallow pots.

    Maybe someone has a different opinion.

    Cheers

  • meyermike_1micha

    GREAT STUUF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • tapla

    I wrote this a few years ago - you may find it useful:

    H2O2 has an extra O atom (compared to H2O) in an unstable arrangement. It's the extra atom that makes it useful in horticultural applications. Generally, we're not concerned with aerobic forms of bacteria normally occurring in container media or on roots.
    Since H2O2 is an unstable molecule, it breaks down easily. When it does, a single O- atom and a molecule of water is released. This O- atom is extremely reactive and will quickly attach itself to either another O- atom forming stable O2, or attack the nearest organic molecule.
    Many disease causing organisms and spores are killed by O. The free O- H2O2 releases is extremely effective at this. H2O2 can help eliminate existing infections and help prevent future ones. The free O atom can destroy dead organic material (i.e, leaves roots) that are rotting and spreading diseases.
    Reduced O levels and high temperatures encourage both anaerobic bacteria and fungi. When plants growing in soil are treated with H2O2 it will break down and release O into the area around the roots. This helps stop the O from being depleted in the water filled air soil air spaces until air can get back into them. High O levels at the roots will encourage rapid healthy root growth and discourage unwanted bacteria/fungi.
    .
    I know it comes in several different strengths - 3%, 5%, 8% and 35% solutions. Cheapest is 35% which you dilute (to 3%) by mixing 1:11 with water. Plastic or glass is best to store it in, & the container should be opaque to prevent light degradation. If three-liter soda bottles are available in your area they are ideal for mixing and storing H2O2. Once you have it mixed at 3% (or start with 3%) mix it at the rate of 1-1/2 tsp/gallon of water as a cutting dip & up to 2-1/2 tsp/gallon to water containers with on a regular basis. Start at the lower concentration and increase concentrations gradually over a few weeks.
    H2O2 in high concentration is a powerful oxidant and will bleach skin white as it quickly oxidizes almost anything it contacts, so be careful with it if you use it. A solution that's too strong can destroy any organic molecule it contacts.

    TO THIS AMOUNT OF WATER ADD THIS AMOUNT OF 3% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE --OR-- ADD THIS AMOUNT OF 35% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (second column)

    1 cup, add 1-1/2 teaspoons ..... 35% - 7 to 10 drops
    1 quart, add 2 tablespoons ..... 35% - 1/2 teaspoon
    1 gallon, add 1/2 cup ............. 35% - 2 teaspoons
    5 gallons, add 2-1/2 cups ...... 35% - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
    10 gallons, add 5 cups .......... 35% - 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
    20 gallons, add 10 cups ........ 35% - 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

    Al

  • redneck_grower

    Thanks, Al, for correcting me. I learn something new every day.

    Cheers

  • chills71

    I'm confused about one thing. H2O2 destroys organic material, right? Then wouldn't using it to destroy rotting and diseased roots and other material also destroy healthy tissues?

    Could it be used against nematodes (safely)??

    ~Chills

  • tapla

    Don't we apply it to wounds to kill bacteria w/o concern for it killing the living tissue?

    Al

  • kev843

    Thanx Al for giving us the ratios and background on this.
    I think many of us will now have another tool to use in keeping our plants happy and healthy!

  • redneck_grower

    Al wrote: "Don't we apply it to wounds to kill bacteria w/o concern for it killing the living tissue?"

    I'm a veterinarian. 3% hydrogen peroxide, the strength used on wounds, is weakly antibacterial; but has no residual affect due to its instability. In the course of medical practice, we NEVER use it as an antibacterial; there are far better choices. We consider it just about useless, actually (except to remove blood from hair, which it does a good job of). While 3% is fairly weak, there is still some tissue damage that occurs. Peroxide has the capability of creating what we call a "pseudomembrane" in open wounds, a microscopic layer of damaged tissue that can actually trap some bacteria under this layer.

    Free radicals, such as the unstable oxygen molecules that are released by hydrogen peroxide, are well-known causes of damage within the body. As a matter of fact, the body produces enzymes specifically to neutralize these free radicals. Some of the vitamins and microminerals (Vit C, Vit E, selenium, amongst others) play a role in protecting the body against free radical damage.

    There may be some uses for peroxide as a weak antibacterials on inanimate objects, and perhaps some foodstuffs.

    As for the potential of oxidative damage to plant roots, I'm not sure. It is certainly possible. Do the antibacterial affects and oxygen delivery offset this damage for a net benefit? I'm not sure; some posters above certainly believe this. I would like to see peer-reviewed studies on the risk/benefits of hydrogen peroxide before I would use it on my plants.

    I'm open minded on this, cuz I really don't know the affects on plants. If there is research to indicate the utility of hydrogen peroxide in horticulture, I'm sure someone on this forum can provide a reference.

    Cheers

  • tapla

    Plenty of reference to its use on the hydroponics forum.

    Al

  • redneck_grower

    Al, I've seen some of the references re: hydroponic growing. Just haven't seen references concerning peroxide use in soil (I'll admit I haven't searched hard, either). I'm guessing if the peroxide causes no tissue damage in a hydroponic environment, then damage in a soil environment would also NOT occur. I just have to wonder how much of the peroxide actually reaches the root, and how much liberates its oxygen radical before it gets there.

    Another interesting point; some bacteria produce peroxidases to protect them from free radicals. We can use that in identifying some bacteria by placing a drop of peroxide on a bacterial colony; peroxidase-producing bacteria will cause the drop of peroxide to bubble, those bacteria without peroxidase will not cause this bubbling. I have no knowledge of the peroxidase status of root-rot bacteria.

    Very interesting discussion.

  • tomakers

    It may not be antiseptic, but years ago my Dr. told me to gargle with approximately 1.5% H2O2 for a sore throat. It doesn't taste so good, but it DOES work. It is cured almost immediately.
    I HAVE used it to treat fungus on the soil in seed trays, in a very weak solution, and it seems to work there also.
    Roots I don't know.
    JMO,
    Tom

  • tomncath

    Tomakers, thanks for the last post. I was just getting ready to ask Al what the practical application is. Who's used this and specifically, what for?

  • kev843

    Hi Al or anyone else,
    I must admit Im feeling a bit stupid and am still confused about something LOL

    In the post it says that if using 3%,to add up to 2-1/2 teaspoons per gallon.
    But underneath it says to add 2 tablespoons of 3% to a qt of water.

    So for anyone smarter than me would you mind explaining what Im missing? LOL

  • tapla

    Hi, Kev. I'm really sorry. I had already saved the little article I wrote about H2O2 when I later discovered the chart about how to mix it. I also meant tbsp instead of tsp in what I originally wrote. Here's the piece, amended:

    H2O2 has an extra O atom (compared to H2O) in an unstable arrangement. It's the extra atom that makes it useful in horticultural applications. Generally, we're not concerned with aerobic forms of bacteria normally occurring in container media or on roots. Since H2O2 is an unstable molecule, it breaks down easily. When it does, a single O- atom and a molecule of water is released. This O- atom is extremely reactive and will quickly attach itself to either another O- atom forming stable O2, or attack the nearest organic molecule.

    Reduced O levels and high temperatures encourage both anaerobic bacteria and fungi. Many disease causing organisms and spores are killed by O, and the free O- H2O2 releases is very effective at this. Additionally, when plants growing in water-retentive media are treated with H2O2 it will break down and release O into the area around the roots. This helps stop the O from being depleted in the water filled air soil air spaces until air can get back into them. High O levels at the roots will encourage rapid healthy root growth and discourage unwanted bacteria/fungi.
    .
    I know H2O2 comes in several different strengths, the most common of which are 3% and 35% solutions. Least expensive is the 35% product which you dilute (to an approximate 3% solution) by mixing 1:11 with water. I have used the 3% solution at 1-½ to 2 tbsp per gallon as a cutting dip/soak, and have mixed it into irrigation water for plants in extremely water retentive soils at up to 3 tbsp per gallon, both with good results and nothing adverse apparent.

    H2O2 in high concentration is a powerful oxidant and quickly oxidizes almost anything it contacts, so be careful with it if you use it. A solution that is too strong can destroy any organic molecule it contacts.

    I have seen this chart posted several times as suggested strength solutions for use in watering plants. You may wish to start at a lower concentration , such as I have used, and experiment.

    TO THIS AMOUNT OF WATER ADD THIS AMOUNT OF 3% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE --OR-- ADD THIS AMOUNT OF 35% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

    1 cup, add 1-1/2 teaspoons  35% - 7 to 10 drops
    1 quart, add 2 tablespoons  35% - 1/2 teaspoon
    1 gallon, add 1/2 cup Â....... 35% - 2 teaspoons
    5 gallons, add 2-1/2 cups  35% - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
    10 gallons, add 5 cups ... 35% - 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
    20 gallons, add 10 cups  35% - 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

    Al

  • kev843

    Once again Al you come to the rescue LOL!
    Thanx

  • pimpette95

    Hi All,

    I'm a very new gardner and I have a fiddle leaf ficus that I was anticipating in having for years.

    I accidentally put the plastic potter in a ceramic potter with a saucer that was too snug. I watered it except not to the point where it drained (at least I think so). I believe the snug saucer created an airtight environment and here's a photo of possible root rot?

    Can I use this hydrogen peroxide solution to a 14" pot with soil? I also read that if I add a fungicide and root hormone to the solution then I can get rid of the root rot? I'm sorry if I don't know this already because I just started gardening and really enjoy it. I am hoping to save my tree too!

    Thank you,
    Linda

  • Hire_an_Aggie

    Hydrogen peroxide works well to combat surface microbes; like preventing damping off after the fungus has begun to grow. To cure your anaerobic soil with peroxide would be more expensive and less likely to work than replacing the soil in the plant. Remove all the smelly, slimy, black or grey material, rinse the roots with gentle water if necessary. Repot the plant ASAP. Remove any rotten roots and shoots that are damaged.

    Then, place the plant into a well draining soilless mix and a well draining pot. Try to break as few non-rotten roots as possible. There is no need for a saucer unless you are trying to protect the surface the plant is sitting on. In that case I recommend and oversized saucer that will not block the air flow, or water for that matter.

    There are dozens of mixes available at the store. I make my own soil with 2 parts processed Canadian sphagnum peat moss, 2 parts perlite, 1 part vermiculite, time release fertilizer, and depending on your water profile, some dolomitic limestone or gypsum (I use gypsum as my tap water is high in sodium). Works great, lightweight, holds water and drains well.

    I would bet that if you give your plant a healthy environment to grow new roots it will bounce back. The only exception is if the septic situation attracted some pathogen, or an insect that brought a pathogen.

    worst case, cut off a healthy piece, dip in in some rooting hormone, and place it in the new soil. It will need to be covered and kept moist out of direct sun for several weeks while it roots, maybe longer in cooler temperatures. Heck, do this regardless of the outcome and then you will have more plants just like that one.

  • seysonn

    1 cup, add 1-1/2 teaspoons � 35% - 7 to 10 drops
    1 quart, add 2 tablespoons � 35% - 1/2 teaspoon
    1 gallon, add 1/2 cup �....... 35% - 2 teaspoons
    5 gallons, add 2-1/2 cups � 35% - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
    10 gallons, add 5 cups ...� 35% - 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
    20 gallons, add 10 cups � 35% - 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    interesting !
    1/2 cup per gal. of 3%. I should remember that number.

    This post was edited by seysonn on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 14:49

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