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Identifying & Preventing Cannabis Plant Diseases

Marijuana is a versatile plant that can absorb chemicals from the environment and help clean up polluted fields. We must remember that despite its versatility and resilience, cannabis is only a herb. Even though cannabis is known as a “superweed” with medicinal properties and various industrial applications, it can also fall prey to deadly diseases.

Plants, like all living things, are susceptible to diseases. Plants, like human beings, are actively fending off viruses, for example, the common cold virus. In this post, we will go through some of the more common weed diseases that can damage your cannabis crops, as well as some tips about how to avoid and handle them if they do happen.

1.   Algae

Algae are among the most common hydroponic system issues, owing to the fact that both cannabis and algae grow quickly in hydroponic systems. However, you should keep your pot plants as far away from algae as possible. Algae have a tendency to bind to the roots of plants, depriving the weed of the vital nutrients it requires to survive in a hydroponic environment.

Taking adequate care ahead of time is, once again, the safest protection against algae. It’s difficult to keep the surroundings in a hydroponic environment unattractive since algae need light and humidity to thrive. Using opaque or dark content for your growing equipment is the perfect way to prevent algae from growing in your pot grow space. If your cannabis plants have been infected with algae, there are a few steps you should do to fix it and bring everything back on track, like drying out the container in which you are growing your plants.

2.   Leaf Septoria

Leaf Septoria, also known as yellow leaf spot, is a disease that causes yellow spots to appear on the leaves of your weed plants, as you would expect. It’s a fungus that often affects outdoor weed crops that are subjected to both heat and rain at the same time. Spots may surface initially on the low-hanging leaves, then make their way upward. Whole leaves can turn yellow and then come crumbling down in extreme cases. However, most of the time, just leaves and sometimes stems will be impacted, and your harvest will not be jeopardized as a result of leaf septoria.

Nonetheless, leaf septoria will reduce yield, so it’s crucial to prevent it however possible. It’s just about using sterile planting methods to avoid leaf septoria. For example, to prevent leaf septoria, you can always till the field deeply and perhaps use a disinfectant in your compost. If it doesn’t succeed, and you are still noticing yellow spots on your crops, you should use a combination of baking soda as well as other methods to combat it.

3.   Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is a wilt disease that is more attracted to poorly drained or overly rich soils. Six species of Verticillium fungi are responsible for the case of Verticillium wilt. Lower leaves that are yellowing and bulging are the first symptoms of this disease. At the moment where the stem reaches the ground, the fungus changes the color of the stem, turning it brown. It’s impossible to get with fungal diseases like these. To avoid verticillium wilt, you must have a thorough knowledge of the compost and soil combination that you have in the garden.

Verticillium wilt can be avoided by ensuring that the soil drains properly. Since there is no remedy for the cure of this disease, good planting practices such as crop rotation are important.

4.   Gray Mold

As a weed grower, gray mold is probably the most dangerous problem you can encounter. From the stalks and roots to the bulbs and buds, it infects nearly every aspect of the plant. It has no preference on whatever sections of the plant it consumes. It’s important to stop bringing gray mold into your home or weed garden. The disease thrives in cold or temperate climates where moisture is present to some extent. Therefore, to prevent gray mold from attacking your cannabis plants, it is recommended to maintain the grow room’s temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the moisture as low as possible.

You may even go the extra mile by changing your clothes before entering your cannabis garden. Sometimes, gray mold spores can cling to clothes before being released into the pot grow area until they’ve found the right host. If your cannabis plant is still contaminated, you should use a variety of soaps or sprays.

5.   Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a persistent pest that can wreak havoc on your cannabis garden. Since the spores are borne by the breeze, they may damage both outdoor and indoor gardens. The bad thing about this disease is that it is more difficult to detect than you would think. The spores will simply wait before the right circumstances arise for them to attack the roots of your plants. Mildew grows quickly in humidified environments with warm temperatures and a humidity amount of more than 55%.

Mildew can also be found on pot plants that have been grown too tightly together. If your cannabis garden is packed, you could be jeopardizing the survival of your crops. Powdery mildew is a white mold that damages the leaves and the capacity of the plant to carry out photosynthesis. If your cannabis plants have been infected with powdery mildew, there are many sprays that may help reduce the mildew’s symptoms, such as milk sprays and apple cider vinegar sprays.

6.   Fusarium

Fusarium is a parasite that grows in the dirt and attacks your weed’s root structures. Since it needs soil to thrive, hydroponic systems would not be prone to the risk of fusarium. Fusarium root rot and fusarium wilt are the two prominent signs, and both may be fatal to the pot plants. Fusarium will be dormant in the soil for a long time before wreaking havoc on your pot harvest.

There isn’t anything anyone can do to cure fusarium after it has infected your plants. Since it’s too tough to find, it’s a challenging fungus to contend with. There are a few measures you can take to prevent fusarium from infecting your plants in the first place such as washing and cleaning your soil thoroughly. But if you’re cultivating the weed in the open, you will still be at risk of fusarium in the soil, ready to attack your plants.

7.   Damping Off

Damping off is a reaction to an illness (such as pythium) and not a disease in and of itself. It’s most common in weed seeds that have fallen prey to certain bacteria. The plants will begin to wilt, and you may mistakenly believe that the plants may have been overwatered while, in fact, your roots are damping off. After some time, infections will appear on the seedling, and the infected cannabis plant will eventually die out.

For the prevention of deadly plant diseases and damping off, it’s often necessary to take good preventative steps. In certain cases, seedlings would not be able to rebound, so avoiding damping-off from the outset is the best option. The first step should be to ensure that the soil drainage is working efficiently and that underground air passage is not obstructed. It’s the most effective way to prevent spores from taking root, allowing you to grow stable growing weed plants.

8.   Root Rot

Root rot (or pythium) is a fungus that affects the roots of the cannabis plant. Pythium may occur in soil-based or container-based growth mediums, as well as hydroponic plant systems. This indicates that almost no grower is immune to its effects. The color of the leaves changes into brownish or yellowish, and the plant begins to crumble as a whole, which is the first symptom of root rot. However, if you just want to be certain it’s root rot, you will have to look at the roots.

Plants contaminated with pythium will begin to display symptoms of discoloration in their roots. The outer coating of your plants’ roots will end up breaking off, revealing a stringy, thin inner core. Hence the first step is to build an atmosphere that isn’t conducive to the forming of root rot. Pythium may be avoided by keeping the hydroponic setup clean or maintaining adequate ventilation in your cannabis garden.

9.   Spider Mites

Spider mites are unlike any of the diseases mentioned above and give a more creepy vibe. Spider mites will not only give your cannabis plants a spooky look, but they are also capable of killing plants and are mostly difficult to eradicate.

Bite marks, which show as small speckles on the soil, are the first symptoms of infestation on the plants. Small mites can be seen living beneath the leaves under close observation, but a majority of mites go overlooked. Since spider mites are extremely tiny, and their eggs are much smaller, infestations frequently go undetected before significant harm has been done. The leaves gradually transform yellow, and the webs emerge soon after.

Spider mites are hardy and fast, so avoidance is your best option in dealing with this disease. Spider mites, unlike their former fungal adversaries, prefer a sunny, dry environment. Regulating temperature and moisture, as well as constantly practicing sound hygiene standards, are excellent ways to avoid infestation. Since fungi and spider mites also enjoy stagnant weather, air ventilation is a perfect way to avoid disease.

If you’re fighting spider mites, know that you’re not alone. There are several sustainable and effective pest management solutions to explore, with organic pesticides and predator implementation being the most common.

How To Prevent Disease In Cannabis Plants

Growers should take every precaution to avoid contamination and ensure a successful harvest. Here are few suggestions for disease prevention.

Maintain a sanitary and safe climate

Many of the cannabis diseases mentioned in this article may be transmitted through infected machinery, supplies, and, in certain cases, employees and guests. As a result, keeping your cannabis garden safe and sanitary will help to prevent diseases from spreading.

Cleaning and sanitizing tools, appliances, air filters, dehumidifiers, and most importantly your cannabis garden should all be done on a regular basis. Beard nets, Tyvek coveralls, hairnets, and gloves should also be worn by growers and workers when accessing the cannabis garden.

To mitigate airborne toxins and bacteria, air purification and filtration devices such as UV and HEPA filters may be used. Powdery mildew and Botrytis, in particular, are transmitted through the air.

Maintain proper humidity and temperature

Some pathogens like botrytis and powdery mildew grow in wet, humid conditions with low air circulation. If outbreaks may arise, facilities that can monitor certain causes can reduce the seriousness of the disease. Since the chance of infection rises as buds age, it’s especially necessary to keep an eye on these levels in the growing room if you have botrytis.

Irrigation water treatment

Pythium, which produces water-borne spores, is spread primarily by polluted water. Fusarium, which causes the deadly root rot, crown rot, and damping-off diseases, as well as botrytis, can be prevented by processing irrigation water with chlorine, UV, or other registered items.

Plants that are infected should be identified and removed

The only approach to avoid the accumulation of inoculum and the transmission of the disease is to exclude plants that have been infected from your cannabis garden as soon as possible. Plant pathogens may be screened for using DNA-based diagnostic techniques until they exhibit visible signs or to confirm a potential infection.

Use planting stock or cuttings that are disease-free

Fusarium disease is spread primarily by infected plant stock. Cuttings taken from a polluted mother plant are prone to damping.

It is highly recommended for growers to check all the new plants and quarantine them before introducing them to your cannabis garden. For cuttings or planting stock, you should thoroughly check them for any infection symptoms or the presence of a pest.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis diseases can be annoying, especially when you put in a lot of time and effort in growing your cannabis garden just to realize that all your plants have been infected with a deadly disease. Identifying such diseases at an early stage will help you keep your plants from dying. As the saying goes, “better be safe than sorry!”

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