The root environment is what separates hydroponics from soil cultivation. In soil, plants await rainfall or irrigation, and their roots search out essential nutrients. With good, fertile soil and abundant water plants thrive. In hydroponics, the plant roots are constantly provided with water, oxygen and nutrients – no searching for available nutrients or waiting for the next rain. The challenge for the grower is to keep up with the plants’ needs and to avoid damaging plants with excesses or deficiencies of minerals, extremes in pH and temperature, or a lack of oxygen. A few simple tools and techniques can make the difference between success and failure.