When human beings lack certain nutrients they become sick. The same goes for plants, cannabis included. Should this happen, don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to get your herb back on track, this article highlights some.
Cannabis plants have different susceptibilities to deficiencies and diseases. Some are hardy against environmental fluctuations while others are not. Some are more susceptible to vector attacks while others are not. As a new grower, it can be difficult to keep up with all the characteristics of a particular strain and know what to anticipate. Even seasoned growers are sometimes caught off guard when the unexpected happens. The difference is that accustomed hands may know what to look out for and what to do about it. So the best place to start is knowing what to look out for.
1. Bud Rot
Bud rot is caused by the growth of mold and mildew when cannabis buds are subjected to damp environments. Mold is usually black or deep green while mildew is usually grayish-white. With time, mildew may turn black. Mold and mildew usually have a slimy feel and an earthy smell; they appear as patches on the surface of buds. Unfortunately, they are very hard to treat and consuming mold-ridden buds can be fatal. They start growing from the inside of the buds and can be hard to detect at first. Worse still, molds easily spread from one plant to the next meaning that it is very easy to have your whole canopy taken down.
Bud rot occurs when cannabis plants are exposed to high humidity and poor ventilation. Since it is hard to cure it, it is advisable to prevent it in the first place. This can be done by maintaining humidity at optimum levels as given below.
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You should also prune your plants to improve airflow in the canopy. Should you spot bud rot early, cut off all the affected and surrounding buds.
2. Crispy Leaves
Crispy leaves can be as a result of the light burn; this means that your plants have been exposed to too much light. New growers are often aware that cannabis plants need light, but they may not be aware that too much light is not good. Indoor cannabis requires artificial lighting and this creates an opportunity for “over-lighting” your plants and burning them in the process.
This is not a difficult problem to sort when identified early. You can easily adjust the lights and place them farther away from the plants. A rule-of-thumb is to place your palm below the light at the level of the plants, if your hand can’t sand the heat from the light, most likely your plants too will not.
Incandescent bulbs emit a lot of light and are best avoided. HID lights will need a spacing of about twelve (for 400w) and thirty-one inches (for 1000w) to prevent burning the buds. LED lights will need a spacing of about sixteen inches (for 240-400w) and forty-two inches (for 900w +).
3. Albino Buds
Over-exposure to light will eventually result in bud bleaching, also referred to as albino buds. When bleaching occurs, the buds will take a whitish appearance that may give them some novelty. However, the potency of such buds is wanting. Bleaching deprives the buds of chlorophyll that is essential for photosynthesis. Bleached buds will lack aromas that indicate the presence of terpenes. They will also tend towards low potency and low yield. To prevent bleached buds, ensure that your plants are spaced adequately below the lights.
4. Yellowing of leaves
Yellow cannabis leaves depict nitrogen deficiency, the yellowing starts from the roots-up. Nitrogen is essential for photosynthesis because it is a major component of chlorophyll. When cannabis plants lack nitrogen they will begin to wilt away and die. To prevent this, you can have your soil tested for nutrient levels by a soil lab. Too much nitrogen is also detrimental as it will cause the leaves to burn and turn dark green.
5. Red Stems and Stunted Growth
When cannabis plants lack phosphorous they become stunted and the stems turn red. Phosphorous plays numerous roles that are essential for the survival of cannabis plants. Some of the roles include:
- Disease resistance
- Root development
- Improve crop quality
- Promote maturity
Phosphorous deficiency can be treated by adding organic fertilizers that contain phosphorous. Should you spot this deficiency earlier and treat it, you have high chance of promoting new growth that is health.
Preventing Insect Attack
Most cannabis strains are prone to insect attacks from bugs, spider mites, caterpillars and aphids. Spider mites and aphids can destroy a whole canopy if not nipped-in-the-bud in good time. They attack the stems and leaves and suck out all the nutrients leaving the plant to wither and die. They are good at hiding beneath leaves; due to their small size that may look like dust.
Ladybugs can help you fight off these destructive insects. If this fails to work, you should act fast and get an organic pesticide. Neem oil can also come in handy because it has insecticidal effects.
Cannabis is not “any other weed” that will grow wildly without effort. Fortunately, once you give it the TLC that it requires, it will reciprocate with a bountiful harvest. As a new grower, find a strain that is hardy and adaptable to different environmental conditions. Choosing feminized seeds over clones will also save you some headaches are seeds are hardier and feminized versions will give you a higher yield.
1. Tandfonline (2018): Flower and foliage-infecting pathogens of marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) plants. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07060661.2018.1535467
2. National Pesticide Information: What is Neem Oil? Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/neemgen.html
3. Crop Nutrition: Nitrogen in Plants. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cropnutrition.com/efu-nitrogen
4. Crop Nutrition: Phosphorus in Plants. Retrieved from https://www.cropnutrition.com/efu-phosphorus