Bud Rot: How To Keep Your Buds Healthy
Bud Rot is a type of common fungal growth called Botrytis Cinerea that can devastate cannabis crops. Luckily, Bud Rot can be prevented.
Bud Rot: The Highlights
- Bud Rot is a type of fungal growth called Botrytis Cinerea that can damage and kill large numbers of marijuana plants in areas where there are high humidity and mild temperatures.
- Bud Rot is caused by botrytis spores intruding into tears, or open spots, from the plant’s exterior surface, which then causes increasing infection until complete decomposition of the plant has taken place.
- Botrytis Bud rot is able to cause infections and grow in cannabis plants through having a wet and humid environment on or around the plant, having little to no air circulation around and through the plants, and entering into spaces within the plant that have dense foliage which create optimal breeding grounds for this fungus.
- Signs of Bud Rot include yellow leaves, brown stems, and in the later stages white and dark fuzz-like mold around the entire plant.
- There are many effective ways in which you can prevent Bud Rot from taking over your garden or drying room, all of which involve growing and tending to your plants in ways that support an inhospitable environment for gray mold to grow.
What Is Bud Rot?
Bud Rot, or grey mold, is a type of fungal plant disease similar to the Phytophthora disease called botrytis cinerea. Bud Rot kills marijuana plants as well as many other types of plants, even fruit-bearing plants.
Bud Rot loves to attack wine grapes and strawberries. It is such a widespread disease that it causes the damage and deaths of over 220 different types of plant species. This is the most common fungus in marijuana crops, no matter where they grow.
This mold disease works so quick that it can destroy a whole garden in only a week’s time. Additionally, this disease is so destructive to plants that it can kill at all stages of development: seed, young plant, flowering stage, or adult plant.
What Causes Bud Rot?
Bud Rot is caused by tears in the plant’s inner tissue being exposed to botrytis fungal spores. These spores easily travel throughout the air and if they land on a plant that has a tear, it makes it vulnerable to the spores getting inside of them and continuing to grow until they are infected.
If this happens, the plant will quickly be eaten from the inside out by this mold and mildew growth.
Tear damage can happen on weed plants by pests such as insects eating on the plant or animals walking over them. These pests do not have to do much to create wounds on the plants.
Therefore, it might be a good idea to look into having an indoor garden to lower the chances of these pests being a problem for your delicate weed plants.
Also, other types of mildew, as well as training plants that cause bending of the stems, can cause Bud Rot. When a stem is trained and bent, it sometimes puts enough pressure on the plant to cause a small break or tear, in the plant.
What Helps The Botrytis Fungus Grow?
There are three factors that help botrytis to grow and thrive on marijuana plants:
Wet Buds Or High Humidity
High moisture environments or wet bud sites are both perfect conditions for botrytis to grow. Gray mold needs either a high humidity atmosphere or it needs moisture on or within the bud itself.
Many times, morning dew that doesn’t get enough sunshine throughout the day or watering too late in the day can cause a hospitable wet environment on cannabis buds.
The higher the humidity level or the moister on or within the bud, the better gray mold can grow.
The typical temperature conditions needed for botrytis to grow is between 17 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. However, it can grow at higher temperatures.
Poor Air Circulation
Another factor is poor air circulation. When plants do not get proper ventilation through their leaves, they can form a warm, moist pouch where spores can attach and start growing.
A Sativa marijuana strain tends to be more invulnerable to gray mold because its leaves are more spread out and not as thick. An Indica strain, on the other hand, has thick, closely-compact leaves and stems that can easily house mold growth.
If you live in a very moist, mild climate area that easily accommodates Bud Rot and you are growing your own cannabis plants, then you might want to consider growing a Sativa strain. If you do want Indica strains, then you might want to adhere to the following advice.
Signs Of Bud Rot
he early stages of bud rot are hard to detect as visible symptoms because it starts inside the stem of the plant as they are growing. It isn’t until you start to see yellowing leaves and brown stems that you are looking at a plant that will most likely die before the week is out.
After yellow leaves and brown stems, the infection spreads to the surrounding areas of the cannabis plant, where it then starts to produce its own spores. This will initially almost look like a thin layer of cotton. As it continues to spread and decompose the plant and the bud, the white layer will turn dark grey or black.
At this second stage, there is no hope for the plant. The best way to avoid this swift destruction of your plant is to prevent Bud Rot at all costs.
How To Prevent Bud Rot
If your growing marijuana outdoors, here are some tips to help minimize the chances of developing Bud Rot:
In The Garden
In addition to choosing strains of weed plants that have whispy and properly separated buds and stems, like the Sativa strain, another option is to prune your plants. Pruning your plants allows for more separation which allows optimal air ventilation.
Also, training your plants helps. We have talked about how this can possibly cause tearing on the surface of the plant’s outer layer and create opportunities for spores to enter in.
However, this can also help the plants not grow towards one another, thus creating wide enough pockets of separation for adequate ventilation.
Additionally, supporting your plants in having healthy immune systems is vitally important. This can be done by making sure that the soil is properly laden with healthy microbes that feed the plant such as compost tea, which contains Bacillus Subtilus, a friendly bacteria that acts as a natural fungicide.
Lastly, as stated before moisture breeds gray mold. Therefore, it is important to find ways to keep moisture off the plants. Even with an outside garden, there are ways to minimize dampness.
- Shake your plants after a rainfall
- Blow the plants off with a leaf blower after a rainfall
- Water your plants in the morning so that the water has time to evaporate during the day
If you are growing indoors, a dehumidifier or a set of fans will do the trick nicely.
In The Drying Room
There are a series of prevention tools you can use in your drying room to prevent Bud Rot:
- In the harvesting process, check for rot as you go. Pick out leaves, stems, or whole plants that have gray mold on them and save the rest. This way, it cannot continue to spread.
- If you can, wait to harvest your plants during a dry spell when there hasn’t been any water rainfall for at least a few days. This ensures the least amount of moisture that can start the rotting process.
- Trim your buds and pull off the fan leaves. This ensures that there is more gap space within each plant and also that your buds have more breathing space.
- Do not place each drying plant too close to one another. Allow room in between each plant so that air flow can keep each one dry.
- Your drying room needs have the optimal conditions for successfully drying out your plants. This means preferably a dark space and definitely, a space that has a relative humidity level at around 50 percent and a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the perfect dry space to dry your weed.
- If you do find mold in some of your drying plants, increase the temperature and decrease the humidity for quicker drying time. This way the spores have an almost impossible chance of surviving and spreading to the healthy plants.
The bottom line is that if you grow cannabis plants and are new to the art, remember that no one wants to smoke moldy weed. It carries health hazards that no one would want to experience.
Protect Your Crop From Bud Rot
Growing weed crops that are successful is not an easy feat. However, it can be done if you are knowledgeable about what Bud Rot is, how it grows, why it grows, and how to prevent it.
If you have this knowledge down-pat, you can minimize your chances of having an epic fail with your crop and instead, produce a stellar crop that will yield great and satisfying rewards.