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Check These 6 Things & Cure 99% of Marijuana Growing Problems
by Sirius Fourside
Recently, we showed you how to identify many common growing problems on sight.
And the truth is, when it comes to growing cannabis, it's inevitable that you will eventually run into problems. I've never met a single grower who's never had ANY problems.
So don't beat yourself up when growing problems happen.
Just remember, how you REACT to problems is what determines whether you harvest pounds of potent buds... or end up totally killing your plants.
Growing cannabis can be easy, and when you have the right information, you'll know exactly how to react to problems when they arise.
Luckily, bringing your plant back to peak health is actually pretty simple - which explains why I can do it!
Arm yourself with the knowledge of these 6 simple things to check when your plants get sick, so you know how to give your plants a 100% recovery.
These tips were specially made to fix a whole host of possible issues with minimal work.
Catching and solving problems quickly means bigger, bulkier , more potent buds; your cannabis will love you for it!
1.) Heat Kills - Grow Area Should Be a Comfortable Room Temperature, or a little warmer
Heat saps the strength of your plant and forces it to drink more water than normal, which can have unexpected consequences. Often, especially when growing hydroponically, hot temps can cause nutrient burn because your plant is absorbing more nutrients than normal alongside the extra water.
If there is a particular source of heat that is harming the plant(like a hot light ballast), you'll know because the leaves closest to the source of the problem will wilt and turn a brownish color.
A generally too-hot environment will cause the branches and main stem of your plant to droop as if it were under- or over-watered.
Plants that suffer from extreme heat stress for too long won't recover and will be unable to straighten their posture and continue growing.
What to Do: Reduce heat by whatever means necessary and make sure your grow area has good air ventilation.
Indoors, vent out hot air using a fan and/or an exhaust system. Make sure any heated air being vented outside grow room/house gets filtered to remove the scent of cannabis. For example, you could get a fan with a built-in carbon scrubber to blow out the hot air.
An oscillating fan will circulate air in the room as well as provide a gentle breeze for your plants, and a small one will cost less than $20.
Outdoors, it can often take a few weeks for plant to recover after a heat wave. Just baby heat-stressed plants as best you can, and offer shade if you can during the hottest days.
2.) Cannabis likes especially bright light.... but not too much light
You see, light is like "food" for your marijuana plants. When plants are growing very slowly, but aren't showing signs of other problems, the cause is often that they aren't getting enough light.
The amount of light you give your plants is strongly correlated with how much buds your plants will produce during the flowering stage.
Unfortunately, more light is not always better. Marijuana plants can be fickle. You want to give them very bright light... but not too much light.
When marijuana plants are young, they are weak and cannot tolerate much light at all. Yet as they get older, and especially in the flowering stage, marijuana plants want almost all the light they can get.
The problem of too much light often occurs indoors, when your grow lights are too close to the plants. This essentially gives them their own version of sunburn.
Young plants, seedlings and new clones are especially prone to suffering from too much light.
When growing outside... It's uncommon for mature marijuana plants to get too much light when they're growing outside, though young seedlings can still get light stress if they're transplanted into direct sunlight.
The intensity of a grow light that is too close will dry up a plant, and turn the edges of its leaves brown and crispy, almost like nutrient burn.
High Pressure Sodium(HPS) lights have the meanest reputation for 'light-stressing' plants, but many of the newer, more powerful LEDs(Light Emitting Diodes) and even CFLs(Compact Fluorescent Lights) do it, too!
How can you tell if there's too much light?
The main way you know your plants are suffering from light burn is if only the leaves closest to the lights are affected.
What to Do: Most importantly, pay attention to your plant and watch out for signs of light stress, which will only affect the parts of the plant closest to your grow lights.
For HPS, Metal Halide and CFL grow lights, use the 'back of your hand' test.
Back of Your Hand Test - For MH, HPS, CFLs and T5 grow lights
- Set up your grow lights and turn them on (make sure they've had time to warm up)
- Gently place your hand - palm down - right above the tallest part of your plant
- Wait 10-30 seconds
- If the heat coming from the light feels too warm for your hand, then it's going to be too much light for your cannabis.
LEDs generate very little heat, but can still light-stress plants, so it's best to keep high powered LEDs (above 90 watts) at least 10 inches away from your plants. When the individual bulbs are bigger than 1W (for example if it has 3W or 5W bulbs), you'll want to keep the lights even further away, up to 2-3 feet for some of the newer, extremely powerful LED grow lights.
It's hard to make exact rules about how far LED grow lights should be from your plants, as each model is so different, so start with trusted lights that are proven for growing marijuana, and just be aware of the possibility of light stress. Start LED grow lights further from your plants than you think you should, and slowly move lights closer each day until you've found the "sweet spot."
To determine if your plant is getting light stressed from LED grow lights, you use the appearance of your plant's leaves to determine if the lights can be moved closer.
If leaves closest to the lights start showing signs of stress (leaves turning brown/crispy or buds being bleached white), move the lights further away.
Use extreme caution when attempting to move your grow lights closer, and avoid moving them more than an inch closer in a day, so you can watch the plant's reaction.
3.) Bugs / Mold
At GrowWeedEasy.com, we believe that growing marijuana hydroponically is often simpler for beginners, because this automatically eliminates many of the bug problems growers run into when growing in soil.
So many growers struggle with bugs, and just by growing cannabis with a soil-less medium like coco coir, you dramatically reduce the chances of bug infestations.
However, even when growing hydroponically, the right conditions can make your cannabis plants themselves, not the soil, a breeding ground for bugs such as whiteflies, caterpillars, spidermites, and gnats.
When growing in soil, bugs are a common pest to marijuana gardens.
Mold can be just as annoying as bugs, and can be contagious between plants in the same room, and even the same house!
As with bugs, your soil-less growing medium is relatively safe from mold when growing with hydroponics, so only the plant and its environment need the treatment.
What to Do: If you notice any signs of bugs or mold, don't wait, act quickly!
For most bugs, pests, and molds, SM-90 is miracle cure with a uniquely delicious citrus scent. It's perfectly safe for humans and animals, so you can use it even when you're just a few weeks away from harvest.
Mix 1 part SM-90 to 5 parts water, and mist the leaves of your plant (I use a mister ) when the lights are off.
This will stop mold and shield the treated parts from further mold infestation. SM-90 also deters many types of bugs including caterpillars, gnats, spidermites, aphids, and other creepy crawlies.
SM-90 kills most bugs/mold instantly on contact, and will protect your plant from being attacked again.
Gently wipe off the mold and dead bugs after your first treatment, then mist the plant once more for an armor plated plant.
Also consider adding an oscillating fan to your grow room to get air moving over the leaves.
Good air circulation and a slight breeze is not only good for the plant by itself, but will also disturb bugs AND prevent excess moisture on the leaves which acts as a major deterrent for mold.
4.) Watch Your Humidity - High Humidity Helps Young Plants, While Low Humidity Is Crucial To Prevent Mold During Flowering/Budding
Humidity is a term used to describe the amount of water vapor present in the air at any given place.
It is common for new growers to not pay attention to humidity at all, and this causes many otherwise unexpected and unexplainable problems.
Young cannabis plants enjoy having the humidity in the 40-70% range.
In fact, it's common for young cannabis plants to show false signs of nutrient deficiencies when the humidity of the grow area drops below the optimal range, especially when things get really dry.
In the flowering stage, humidity should be kept below 45% to prevent mold.
When humidity gets too high in a grow room, the plant pulls excess water in through the leaves which increases your chances for mold.
Younger plants are more resilient, but high humidity is especially dangerous in the flowering stage when the insides of the buds can grow mold and look fine from the outside.
What to do: Get a humidity monitor, and start paying attention to the humidity of your grow room.
A humidifier adds moisture to the air while a dehumidifier takes moisture out.
Controlling your grow room humidity is one of the tricks that separates the expert growers from the beginners.
You can get some pretty fancy humidity gauges for under $10 to place in your grow room, and (de)humidifiers to change the humidity are commonly found at department stores, hardware stores, or most stores that sell home appliances.
- Ideally, your grow room will have a humidity of 60% during the vegetative stage, and should be lowered to around 45% at the beginning of the flowering stage.
- As your buds fatten up, it is beneficial to continue to drop the humidity of the grow area, if you can.
- During the last 2-3 weeks before harvest, I use a dehumidifier to dramatically drop the humidity of my grow area as low as I can, which prevents bud rot during the last few weeks.
- As an added bonus, dropping the humidity this way during the last few weeks of your plant's life increases trichome production, so you harvest sparkly, crystal-covered extra-POTENT buds.
With the right tools, the task of maintaining humidity can be close to automated, and you will see huge benefits compared to the amount of time and money you invest.
5.) Maintain Healthy Roots
In a metaphorical sense, the roots are the heart of your cannabis plants.
When roots become sick, the health of the entire plant quickly falls apart.
Many times, cannabis plants with sick roots show no signs that there are any problems until things become grim.
Luckily, it's easy to check for issues and even easier to solve them with one of a few options.
To check for root problems, smell the root area of your plants. Go on, no one's looking!
If you can, smell the bottom of the pot where the excess water comes out. The water that runs out the bottom should generally have a neutral smell; a 'stinky' smell is an indicator that your plant may be suffering from 'root rot' or other problems.
What to do:
If you think you may have root problems, there are two easy ways to deal with this.
1.) You can purchase Hydrogen Peroxide in 3% - 35% strength.
Mix 1 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide with a gallon of water. For 35% strength Hydrogen Peroxide, mix one tablespoon to a gallon of water.
Water your plants with the mixture to kill any bacteria living in your root area. Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide also kills good bacteria, which can protect your plant from future infections.
2.) (My prefered method) Conversely, you can start adding Aquashield to your nutrient-water when you feed.
This will build up colonies of good bacteria that out-compete the bad bacteria and actually promote plant growth.
In addition, the beneficial bacteria will offer protection for those times when the temperature of the grow area rises at a time when you can't control it. When I first got started with bubbleponics, I had a few tough bouts with root rot.
Over the last few years, I've tried many "good bacteria" products including the ($$$) Great White and Subculture B additives, but no product has ever worked 1/4 as good at maintaining healthy roots as super cheap, readily available Aquashield.
6.) Still Not Sure? Here Are Your Exact Next Steps
Going through the previous steps will solve quite a few different problems you could be running into, but what if it's none of the ones mentioned so far?
If you've gone through all the above steps, and you're still having an unexplained growing problem, there's a good chance that your plants might be suffering from a nutrient deficiency.
But fret not! If you're doing this step as the last step in troubleshooting, you've covered all the bases and your plant will be back to making fat buds in no time.
What to Do: The goal is to give your plant exactly the kind of nutrients she needs to thrive, and at the right pH so that she can properly absorb the needed nutrients.
Note: Marijuana plants cannot absorb nutrients properly if the pH at their roots is too high or too low. So even if the nutrients are there, if you don't maintain the right pH, you'll still get what look like nutrient deficiencies.
First, check your plant's food to make sure that they have all the necessary nutrients and minerals for proper growth. If you're not sure what they need, General Hydroponics Flora Trio will definitely do the job for hydroponics, and Fox Farms Trio for Soil works great for soil grows.
Learn everything you need to know about marijuana nutrients here: http://growweedeasy.com/what-marijuana-nutrients
Once you're positive you're providing the nutrients your cannabis needs, and you've adjusted the water pH to the proper levels (how to check and adjust the pH of your water when growing weed: http://growweedeasy.com/how-do-i-check-the-pH-of-my-water), add some Hydrogen Peroxide OR Aquashield to your plant feeder for good measure and give it another feeding to 'flush your system'.
This will replace missing nutrients in addition to getting rid of excess salts that build up over time.
Because you've just flushed your plant, provided the exact nutrients she needs, and adjust the pH to the proper level, you will clear up any possible causes of nutrient deficiencies.
By now, you've obtained the knowledge to give your plants a crucial and important check-up to ensure that they can live to make you some great cannabis. You've gone through the time and effort to raise your cannabis from seeds or clones, and now they have health insurance!
Take care of your cannabis now, and your cannabis will take care of you later!
Here's that nutrient deficiency guide for you one last time...
About Sirius Fourside
Sirus co-founded GrowWeedEasy.com in 2008 with fellow grower Nebula Haze.
A huge proponent of hydroponic growing, especially bubbleponics, Sirus is dedicated to getting information out there so other growers see how easy it can be to grow pounds of marijuana out of your closet.
Read his full bubbleponics marijuana tutorial here: http://growweedeasy.com/high-yield-bubbleponics-technique