When it comes to mold, most of us know that there is an indoor and outdoor mold. Most times, we hear people that they have mold problems in the basement, and so on. But did you know that cannabis can suffer from mold problems, as well? It’s true, and it can be extremely detrimental to the plant. In some cases, it can be lethal. Leaving the plants unsupervised only to see them wilt and die because of mold is not particularly pleasant.
Mold is a fungus, and like other funguses, this one decomposes everything it touches, including plant stems and leaves. That’s just what it does. They feed on organic matter, and they thrive in moist environments. Chances are that your garden, indoor or outdoor, has damp spots here and there.
The mold spores fly around aimlessly until they find the right spot to start reproducing. Having an outdoor cannabis garden makes you that much more predisposed to mold infestation, clearly. Most importantly, mold can infect and destroy cannabis plants during any growth stage (vegetative phase, flowering phase, and even when you cure the plants).
Types of mold and warning signs
There are many types of mold, and that’s an understatement. However, for garden mold, according to BudStars, there are just a few that you have to worry about:
- Powdery mildew – You’ll see white dust on the foliage and leaves. If left unabated, this mold will lead to wilted leaves and stunted plant growth rate. Even the fresh leaves are infected and sick. Using neem oil may alleviate the symptoms.
To prevent powdery mildew molds from infecting your cannabis plants, you should ventilate your cannabis greenhouse regularly. By keeping the humidity down and even using dehumidifiers, you prevent mold from appearing.
- Botrytis or bud rot is a form of grey mold that infiltrates the plant through openings and wounds. If the plant is sick in some way, the botrytis spores will jump at the occasion. If you see black dots on the leaves of grey patches on the plant, then Botrytis is the cause. The plant slowly wilts and dies down, and the leaf tips become yellowish.
Treating it is simple – Prune or remove the infected parts of the plants. Also, makes sure the pruning tools are sterilized, and you might want to install a hygrometer and a fan to prevent humidity from accumulating. That’s one way to avoid mold infestation.
- Sooty mold – This type of mold is very easy to identify. It literally looks like soot on the plant leaves. It grows in the excrements of insects that suck plant sap. The black patches on the plant will slow down the photosynthesis process and stunt the plant’s growth rate. However, this type of mold is easy to prevent and treat.
- Fusarium – The most dangerous type of cannabis mold, the Fusarium, is also very hard to detect because it can remain inactive in the ground for years even. When it starts manifesting, the plant roots will start rotting, and the plant will die down excessively fast because of a lack of nutrients from the root. Ideally, it would help if you took preventative measures because treating Fusarium is hardly a choice.
Usually, it’s quite difficult to know what sort of microbes or fungi are underground. Preventing mold can still be done, though, by placing other beneficial fungi in the ground. Trichoderma can deal with Fusarium, for instance, and the Gliocladium fungus parasitizes other dangerous fungi by poisoning them. The Bacillus subtilis is an antifungal bacterium that can effectively fight against powdery mildew and Botrytis.
Both for indoor and outdoor cannabis cultures, there are a few things you can do to prevent mold infestations. Using hygrometers to check for environmental humidity and dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture in the air will help you a great deal. Use fans to keep the air fresh, and maintain the temperature at about 24°C. Moreover, always check your plants’ vital signs and overall look. Do they look sick or wilted? That’s a problem!
When growing outdoors, you should raise the plants in full sunlight. This will prevent moisture from accumulating, and thus mold infestations don’t occur. During bad weather, you can move the plants if you have portable containers. Make sure the plants don’t touch one another. This way, even if one becomes infected, it won’t spread the disease to other plants.
You might also want to grow cannabis strains that are resistant to fungus infections. Either way, mold can be prevented and treated if you notice the infestation in time!