Cannabis bud rot is soft rot that occurs in the buds due to poor hygiene—bacteria like warm and moist environments. If left untreated, over time, the fungus spreads throughout the entire marijuana plant. Marijuana plants that are not treated properly can have their yield reduced by 50%. Also, the whole plant may die if the damage is not caught early enough.
Identifying bud rot in cannabis
Cannabis plants have a natural defense system to prevent them from being infected with fungi and bacteria. The first line of defense is a thick membrane known as the cuticle, or epidermis, that covers the leaf surface of the cannabis plant. When attacked by pathogens, the plant will release chemical compounds called terpenes that prevent the fungus from spreading further. If the pathogen gets past the cuticle layer, the plant will respond with its second line of defense, an enzyme-containing liquid known as latex.
The latex will produce chemicals that cause the cells in the plant to swell until they burst, killing off any invading organism. However, if the plant is not given enough time to activate its defenses, the pathogen could kill the plant before all of the latex is released. In these cases, growers should look out for what’s known as “bud rot.”
Bud rot symptoms can vary depending on the type of pathogen involved. The most common types are bacterial infections, which cause the buds to become discolored, and fungal infections, which can lead to soft spots on the plant’s leaves. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including dried-out leaves and stems, stunted growth, and yellowing of the flowers.
Causes of Bud rot
There are two major causes of bud rot: insect damage and poor nutrition. Insect damage can occur if the plant is not provided with adequate ventilation, which prevents the plant from being exposed to excessive amounts of moisture and humidity. Fungal infections can result from both improper ventilation and nutritional deficiencies.
If the plant does not receive enough water, it may develop an overabundance of mold spores. These spores can attach themselves to the outside of the plant and begin to spread throughout the plant's root systems. As the molds continue to multiply, they eventually infect the entire plant, causing it to wilt. Because of their proximity to the roots, fungi can also get inside the plant’s vascular tissue, where they will thrive and infest the plant’s interior.
Poor nutrition can also cause bud rot. One of the easiest ways to spot nutritional deficiencies is by looking at the coloration of the cannabis flower. A lack of proper nutrition will appear as a dull purple flower instead of a bright red one. Nutritional deficiencies can also affect the overall shape of the flower, making it appear stunted and sparse. Cannabis plants need lots of protein and vitamins, especially B12 and C.
Prevent bud rot
You should always take preventative measures to avoid bud rot since some methods can worsen the problem. First, make sure that you provide your cannabis plant with ample airflow and sunlight. This is essential in keeping the plant cool and dry, encouraging it to release its latex faster.
Second, ensure that you provide your plants with a good fertilizer supply. Use high-quality products designed specifically for cannabis use. Be careful not to overfertilize your plants since doing so can leave them vulnerable to attack from insects and fungi.
Finally, keep an eye out for early warning signs of bud rot. Look for browned plants, wilting foliage, and flowers that smell sour. You should seek professional help immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
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