Many cannabis growers cite bud rot as a leading cause of crop failure. Also known as bud mold, gray mold, or botrytis, bud rot is a deadly botanical disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. The infection is associated chiefly with marijuana buds, although it can attack virtually all other parts of the plant.
What makes botrytis so challenging to treat is that symptoms usually present themselves when the disease has progressed significantly. Fortunately, you can take certain precautionary measures to prevent bud rot invasion.
This article looks at the top six tips on preventing bud rot in marijuana.
- Choose Your Strains Wisely
Botrytis in cannabis can result from several factors. However, cooler temperatures and high relative humidity are the two most common causes. So, managing these two factors is key in knowing how to stop bud rot.
But what’s the relationship between these environmental aspects and cannabis strains?
Well, marijuana produces many species, which are sometimes also known as strains or cultivars. These species differ substantially in their genetic makeup.
Some strains, particularly those derived from Cannabis indica, generally grow into dense and stocky foliage. Such varieties are more susceptible to bud rot since they take much longer to dry up after exposure to moisture. And that’s precisely why experts recommend conducting extensive research while looking for the best marijuana strains to grow.
Begin by picking high-quality cannabis seeds from a reputable supplier. And while you’re at it, be sure to inquire about the genetic composition of the seeds. The information can clue you in on the plants’ expected immunity levels. Note that weak immune plants are more susceptible to bud rot. Diminished immunity may also expose your weed crops to a range of other mold-related illnesses.
Next, insist on mold-resistant species. Although cannabis is an incredibly resilient plant, it still produces numerous cultivars that differ in their mold resistance.
- Space Your Plants Properly
It’s not enough to choose the best cannabis seeds. Experts further recommend spacing the seedlings properly once transferred to their permanent growing location.
The thumb rule is to space your marijuana plants at least six feet apart. You could even increase the distance if you’re growing the bushier Indica-based strains. The goal is to ensure the plants don’t touch at all costs.
Leaving ample space between cannabis plants is a smart way to enhance airflow between the adjacent trees and various parts of an individual plant.
It’s also worth noting that as cannabis trees mature, their canopies will spread further into one another. The expanding canopies can inhibit airflow.
Since you cannot uproot and replant the trees, your best bet is to prune the branches.
- Regulate Relative Humidity
As already indicated, botrytis mainly thrives in cooler temperatures and moist conditions. In fact, the disease is primarily a humidity problem. That makes regulating relative humidity the most effective method of managing it.
First, you’ll need to understand the humid conditions required by cannabis plants for optimal growth. Experts recommend aiming for relative humidity levels between 40 and 50% throughout the plants’ growth cycle.
The exact percentage will vary depending on whether the plants are in their vegetative or flowering phase. However, your biggest concern is to ensure the humidity levels don’t rise beyond 50%.
You could also lower humidity during the wetter and cooler months. The combination of water droplets on your cannabis buds, cooler ambient temperature, and high humidity can quickly worsen the effects of botrytis.
Remember that you’ll require certain tools to keep the humidity levels in check. A hygrometer will help you measure the relative humidity, while a humidifier and dehumidifier will be handy in raising or lowering the humidity levels, respectively.
- Keep the Temperature in Check
Marijuana flourishes under temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants will prefer temperatures on the lower end of the range during their vegetative growth stage and on the higher end as they approach their flowering phase.
Keeping track of the ambient temperature in your cannabis farm will not only guarantee a bumper harvest but will also help keep fungal infections like botrytis at bay. In this case, the idea is to ensure the conditions don’t plummet far below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that the cooler the temperature, the more susceptible marijuana is to bud rot.
Just as with humidity, you’ll require specific equipment to monitor the temperature fluctuations in your cannabis farm. A simple thermometer will help you detect potentially adverse fluctuations in the ambient temperature so you can adopt the right interventions, such as turning on the fans.
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- Invest In Efficient HVAC Systems
Indoor cannabis growers require heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
HVAC equipment serves two essential purposes – temperature control and airflow regulation. Note that reduced air circulation and cooler temperatures significantly increase the likelihood of condensation. The condensing moisture creates a perfect environment for the formation of botrytis, significantly if it condenses inside the buds.
To use HVAC systems, determine whether the temperature or airflow has fallen within dangerous levels and turn the equipment on.
In fact, many modern HVAC systems utilize intelligence technology that lets them turn on and off automatically depending on the temperature and airflow changes in their surroundings.
- Ramp up Your Pest Control Efforts
Cannabis ranks among the hardiest plants in the world. It’s not called weed for nothing. Hybridization programs undertaken over the years have further resulted in even more resilient marijuana strains.
That said, cannabis isn’t entirely immune from pests and diseases. The plant can play host to both nectar-seeking insects and parasitic ones like aphids. Once they invade a marijuana tree, these insects can create wounds on the tender parts of the plant, such as the buds. The wounds may eventually heal. But in the meantime, they could offer an entry point for bud rot and other fungal diseases.
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to control cannabis bugs. You can use several home remedies to eliminate these pests without damaging the cannabis trees.
For instance, Azadirachta indica oil has proven effective at managing pests and disinfecting insect wounds. The same is true for ginger water and tomato leaf extracts, both of which have compounds that can asphyxiate common cannabis pests like aphids.
When dealing with bud rot in cannabis, prevention certainly works better than cure. We hope you can leverage the above-listed preventive measures to keep your marijuana trees botrytis-free.