Bottom leaves started wilting during veg, help!

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txhempfarmer

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These four ladies have lower leaves that have suddenly started showing severe wilting and dying. I'm seeking second opinions on what it could be.

Here's my rough diagnosis based on a few changes to our grow in the past few weeks, please share your thoughts:

1. About one week ago, I top dressed about a cup (combined) of blood meal, bone meal, and potassium sulfate. I've been top watering for a few days and am wondering if I've caused a pH imbalance. This hasn't been an issue when top dressing in the past, but the big difference is our use of potassium sulfate, which we didn't have before.

2. About a week and a half ago, I applied a large amount of Phytoseiulus persimilis (beneficial mites). In my last two grows, we've struggled with spider mites toward the second half of flower, and so I did this almost like a pre-emptive measure before moving the plants to the bloom room. However, it's doubtful there were any prey in the soil for the beneficials to eat. I'm wondering if those beneficials are now attacking the roots?

3. We recently bumped the temperature of the room up to about 84 to prepare the plants for the bloom room (which has no a/c). This doesn't look like heat stress, but maybe I'm wrong?

4. The soil is plenty moist, so I know it's not a lack of water. Im wondering if it might actually be overwatering? The problem is starting from the bottom of the plant and working its way up.

5. The wilting leaves are not dry or brittle. Nor are they exhibiting signs of a nitrogen deficiency. But they seem to be wilting to a point of non-recovery.

Any second opinions or suggestions please!
 
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txhempfarmer

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Busted a plant open today and dug into its roots and figured out the problem: root aphids!
 
Ponky

Ponky

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Root aphids? Did they come in the soil you bought or the yard?
 
KeytheCaregiver

KeytheCaregiver

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How did this end? I have the same problem currently.
 
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txhempfarmer

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Sorry for delay in updating. I was able to control the problem first with a soil drench of azadirachtin-based product (like Azamax). Then, I drenched three times over a week with a product called Lost Coast Plant Therapy, which is essential oils that target soil insects. Finally, we ended with an application of beneficial nematodes (SF/HB -- can buy from Arbico organics). The nemes feed on larvae that may still be in the soil after our drenches. So far so good. Plants are just over halfway through flower and no longer shed leaves.

To the question about how the root aphids might have gotten there: the soil was recycled from a previous grow and had been sitting outside for several weeks before it was used in the pots. I did not pre-treat the soil before using it, so these bugs must have laid some dormant eggs that activated. I now create my own custom super soil blend that we treat with nemes prior to using.
 
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