Whether you’re a farmer cultivating weed or tomatoes, each crop has its own set of challenges. Cannabis, like every other herb, is vulnerable to fungi, rodents, diseases, and infestations, among other things. Verticillium wilt is a fungal infection that causes yellow and wilting discoloration in cannabis plants. Verticillium wilt on cannabis plants can be a real pain in the neck for growers, particularly if it isn’t detected early.
The secret to successfully treating the verticillium wilt on cannabis is accurately recognizing the disease (this may be difficult since the symptoms are similar to those of many other cannabis plant diseases) and avoiding it by utilizing good compost, adequate soil drainage, as well as choosing plants with powerful genetics.
What Is Verticillium Wilt?
The Verticillium Wilt is a fungus that affects a plant’s roots and spreads up the plant’s vascular chain via the xylem. The xylem is the portion of the plant that transfers water from the ground, up the stem, and then into the leaves from the roots. As verticillium fungi infiltrate the xylem, they obstruct the vessels that enable water to reach the plant and instead create toxins that propagate across it. This is what triggers the plant to wilt, die, and turn yellow.
Verticillium wilt can affect a wide range of plants other than cannabis. To avoid verticillium wilt, many major commercial agriculture practitioners disinfect the soil before they ever begin to plant these crops. The disinfection is done with very costly pesticides that destroy the fungus present in one’s soil, but these are harmful to human health and the atmosphere, which explains why organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs are so valuable.
Verticillium wilt fungi may survive for years in the soil. The fungus thrives in soil with low drainage and high nitrogen levels. Verticillium wilt prospers in warm environments with temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Can You Tell If Your Marijuana Plants Have Verticillium Wilt?
Verticillium wilt signs appear on marijuana plants in two places: the plant’s leaves and the plant’s body. You will note the following symptoms in any plant that has verticillium wilt:
- Drooping, yellowing, dying leaves, especially near the plant’s root
- Sudden and serious wilting, which worsens as the day progresses
- Browning present at the stem’s end
- The plant has a brown-grey discoloration.
- Branches die away – Verticillium wilt often affects isolated sections of a plant.
How to Treat Cannabis Plants Affected With Verticillium Wilt
One of the issues with verticillium wilt has to do with the fact that the signs may be difficult to detect before it’s too late. There isn’t much one can do after the fungus has entered the plant except destroy it and treat the soil. Rip the infected marijuana plant out of the dirt, dispose of the plant, and simply leave your soil alone as soon as you see symptoms of verticillium wilt. You don’t want to replace it with another plant because that one would almost certainly get the disease as well.
Taking preventative steps for the soil and using optimal practices for raising plants in soil are the keys to eradicating verticillium wilt. Verticillium wilt can be avoided in many ways:
1. Use soil that is of high-quality
Verticillium wilt can survive in the soil for many years, so make sure you’re using disease-free potting soil when you grow your cannabis. Be sure to buy sterilized manure and stay away from soil that has been contaminated with the verticillium fungus. In case the fungus has infected the seed, discard your plants and never compost them yourself. The disease will spread once again if you replant it because of this. If you’re dealing with land you’ve never farmed before, you might want to grow your weed in containers rather than directly in the dirt. This prevents any hidden contaminants that might be present in your soil.
2. Ensure proper drainage of your plants
To ensure adequate irrigation, avoid overwatering your plants and add lots of organic matter to your soil. Since the Verticillium fungus loves humid, moist conditions, excessive moisture in the soil should be considered a huge red flag.
When deciding where to cultivate weed, keep in mind that the water must flow downhill. Try installing a French drain if your rising area is totally flat. A French drain is a shallow trench packed with rocks that has a 1-3 percent downward gradient. This can make water drain downstream if it is pooling in your garden.
3. Deep plowing, crop rotation, and soil solarization
If you’re set on planting your weed crop directly into the ground outside, there are certain agricultural best practices you may use to reduce the risk of verticillium wilt. To begin, thoroughly till your soil and mix it with a fungus-free sterilized compost.
Just in case, you might want to try solarizing the dirt. This can be achieved by wetting the dirt, tilling it, adding fertilizer, and then covering it for three weeks with a transparent plastic tarp. Make sure you do this at a time of year where the ground will be vulnerable to direct sunshine and high temperatures. The fungus in the soil would be killed by the sun.
Crop rotation may also be used to help discourage viruses from infecting the plants. If your land has been affected by verticillium wilt, consider planting a fungus-resistant cover crop. You should till the cover crop into the soil until it’s time to plant again. Sudangrass, mustard, and broccoli are several examples of verticillium-resistant cover crops.
4. Use plants with good genetics
This is part of the argument that you should purchase genetically strong weed seeds and plants. Verticillium wilt, like other diseases, only affects plants that seem to have a damaged root structure. It’s yet one more explanation of why you should purchase weed seeds from a legitimate seller. especially if you’re trying to profit from your cannabis cultivation.
5. Get rid of the dirt and replace it with hydroponics.
You can always experiment with soil-borne fungi-free growing methods. Working with soil while cultivating cannabis presents a number of difficulties, including sensitivity to pests and diseases, pH fluctuations, and trouble supplying and calculating nutrients to the plants. You may want to try a hydroponic growing method if you aren’t committed to supplying your plants with good soil and aren’t involved in soil science. Growing hydroponically has its own set of difficulties, but you won’t have to beat yourself up about the verticillium wilt eliminating your harvest or ruining your soil for years.