Pests and diseases: Bud rot (Botrytis)

Bud with bud rot (Botrytis)

What is “Bud Rot”?

Botrytis cinerea (“botrytis” from Ancient Greek botrys (βότρυς) meaning “grapes” plus itis for disease) is a fungus that affects many plant species. For grape growers, it is commonly known as botrytis bunch rot; in horticulture, it is usually called grey mould or gray mold. To a cannabis grower it is known as “Bud rot”.

How to spot bud rot

Keep an eye on the dense clusters of buds. Look at the small leaves protruding from the buds. If they are green things are ok. If they crinkle, turn yellow, brown or grey and pull away easily from the plant it is a sign the bud is infected. It pulls away easily because the mould has eaten the stem, killing the leaf.

Bud with bud rot (Botrytis)

If you find signs of bud rot act immediately or else it could wipe out your crop in a matter of days!

How to stop bud rot

Cut infected buds/colas from the plant and gently move away and destroy. Don’t try and root out tiny sections this will just knock the spores onto other parts of the plant. Clean whatever you used to cut the bud with alcohol. You will have spores on your hands at this point so do not touch any other buds or plants.

How to save your bud from bud rot

Don’t smoke rotten or mouldy buds. Remove and destroy all affected areas.

Destroy buds with bud rot in a fire
Destroy buds with bud rot in a BBQ fire

For the rest, dry as normal in a well ventilated area. Keep a close eye for signs of rot or mould. When it dries the infected bud will turn white or light grey and will be crumbly. Remove and destroy. Once your bud has dried (after at least 7 days) inspect to see signs of mould then cut away any infected area plus a little more (as the spores are invisible to the naked eye). Cure and keep inspecting.

How to prevent bud rot

Towards the end of flowering spend time each day to check for signs of bud rot.

Botrytis thrives in a humid, cold and dark environment. Keep the temperature above 18°C/64°F. 12-16°C (55-60°F) is the danger zone and should be avoided. Make sure you have good ventilation. Use a oscillating fan to circulate the air around the plant. Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity at 25-50%.

In the growing stage make sure you remove any caterpillars and their poop which can rot and infect the bud. Even better, stop the moths and butterflies getting near your plants in the first place by protecting them with horticultural netting.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botrytis_cinerea
http://www.mandalaseeds.com/Guides/Preventing-Bud-Mold
http://www.theweedblog.com/how-to-identify-and-prevent-bud-rot-on-marijuana-plants

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Guest post: Sensi Seeds – Growing automatic cannabis as sympathetic magic

This is the first in a series of “guest posts”. A bit of magic from Joshua of Sensi Seeds. If you’d like to contribute to this blog please let me in know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.

Cannabis Wisdom shrine with owl candlelight
Cannabis Wisdom shrine with owl candlelight

Individuals who grow cannabis for personal inspirational use are often creative, open-minded and interested in alternative and esoteric ideas and belief systems. One such belief system is known as sympathetic magic. This relatively simple practice is based on the principle that like attracts, resonates with and amplifies like. Just as striking a tuning fork of a particular tone will cause nearby wineglasses to sound the same note, sympathetic magic aims to draw a particular quality of energy to the user. By creating an altar or shrine of objects and images that correspond with something we desire, we cast a spell focussed on welcoming more of it into our lives.

Automatic cannabis plants are innately suited to being part of a personal shrine. Since they require all four magical elements to grow –earth, water, air, and the fire of the sun – they can even act as the whole altar if space is limited. Their fast growth cycle provides a daily reminder of the progress of the spell; they can grow virtually anywhere from a tropical garden to a chilly, wet balcony to a reasonably sunny windowsill; and they require a minimal amount of gardening expertise to successfully grow. As an added bonus, you can consume the flowers of your altar plant after harvesting – consciously taking in the qualities that you have spent ten or twelve weeks focussing on and imbuing into the plant. 

Here are some suggestions for the energy that each strain could be used to manifest, and corresponding items to include in your shrine. Altars can be any size; decorate your plant pot and place a crystal in the bottom before adding soil to turn the whole plant into a living altar! 

Skunk #1 Automatic – Happy Home Spell
Decorate using green, white and gold; images of Venus (the goddess and/or the planet), St Martha the Dominator; pearls, coral, agate, especially moss or blue lace varieties; green candles; objects made from copper 

Super Skunk Automatic – Creative Inspiration Spell
Decorate with yellow and orange; images of Mercury (god and/or planet); carnelian, orange calcite, citrine; tools of your creative activity, eg pens, paintbrushes, dance shoes; orange and yellow candles; objects made from gold

Northern Lights Automatic – Inner Peace Spell
Decorate with shades of blue and lilac; images of peace and tranquillity; amazonite, rose quartz, amethyst, blue lace agate; blue candles; objects made from silver. 

The weedseedshop offers cannabis seeds for three excellent Automatic varieties, all of which will grow and bloom without the need for special light cycles.

All altars can include: candles , a bowl of sea salt, a glass of rain or spring water, and your personal power items or images.

Remember to talk to your plant! Tell it your hopes and dreams and ask it to help you accomplish them. Thank it when you harvest it and again each time you consume its very special flowers. Blessed be!

Joshua from Sensi Seeds

Sources:

The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes
Witchipedia.com

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Pests and diseases: cabbage loopers on cannabis plants

Cabbage looper caterpillar on a cannabis leaf

Cabbage loopers are caterpillars of the Noctuidae moth. They can be found pretty much all over the globe and wreak havoc on your garden if not destroyed. When it comes to cannabis plants it will eat the leaves, stems and even your prize buds. They call it looper because of the way it arches it’s back as it crawls.

Cabbage looper caterpillar on underside of a cannabis leafThey are tricky to spot as the moth lays single eggs under the leaves. As they grow, they are the same colour as the leaves and tend to lurk on the underside. They even burrow into the flowers where they munch their way out. Look out for buds that are turning brown and starting to wilt, it may contain an unwanted guest.

Getting rid of them

If you see holes in your leaves like those pictured then you have some kind of caterpillar. Spend some time to track them down or else they’ll continue to destroy your plant until they start their transformation into a moth.

Use your fingers
Simply pick them them off and destroy. This could be the best option if you’re close to harvest or only have a couple of plants. Look around where the damage looks the freshest. You can also find them by their tell tale trails of tiny poop.

Use an organic pesticide
In case the plant is still in vegetative stage or pre-flowering then you can spray with BT, bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that once consumed by the worm will kill it within a couple of days. You could also use something which contains the active ingredient spinosad which does much the same thing.

Biological pest control
Tiny trichogramma wasps lay their eggs in the caterpillars eggs so you must act early. The babies then emerge from the egg instead of a hungry caterpillar.

Prevention

To prevent them appearing in the first place, spray diluted neem oil on your plant every 10 days. This makes the leaves non edible to caterpillars a bonus is a direct hit will kill them.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabbage_looper
Marijuana Garden Saver: Handbook for healthy plants By J. C. Stitch
5 Signs That Cabbage Worms are Attacking Your Garden Urban organic gardener

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