Mold is a real and potentially catastrophic danger to your cannabis. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you can lose a lot of money. Mold has the potential to ruin entire harvests and cause you to lose a big investment.
Cannabis mold can have disastrous consequences for your business. Protecting your plants from mold should be a top priority. Knowing the signs of a mold outbreak and being informed can help you prevent or minimize the damage.
Here’s a quick summary of the types of cannabis mold and their causes. Armed with that knowledge and our tips on how to prevent mold, you can shield your business from the danger of cannabis mold.
The Most Common Types of Cannabis Mold
White Powdery Mildew is a fungus that looks almost like flour. To the novice grower, this type of mold can easily be mistaken for young trichomes. However, WPM appears rapidly, almost overnight, and can be differentiated by looking at it with a magnifying glass.
Thankfully, WPM is an issue that can easily be fixed – but only if you catch it early on. This type of mold is caused by a combination of high humidity and poor ventilation. Humidity on its own does not encourage this type of mold to appear – but if your operation has a low airflow, issues can arise.
Grey Mold or Bud Rot is a dangerous mold that is easy to spot. When an outbreak appears, certain areas of the plant will become darkened or discolored. Bud rot is unique in that it destroys buds from within.
If you suspect that your plants may be suffering from bud rot, you may have to break open some of your buds to check.
If you see yellow, dry, or dying leaves, make sure to check your plants for this type of mold. You should discard all parts of the plant which are affected. Bud rot thrives in conditions which are warm, humid, and have little airflow. This type of mold can rapidly destroy entire harvests – knowing how to spot it can save you a lot of trouble.
Fuzzy White Mold or regular mold is a family of closely related common molds. Spotting a regular mold outbreak is easy to do – the wispy and fuzzy greyish-white mold stands out against cannabis.
Regular mold has a musty, stale, and almost sweet odor. It’s caused by the same factors that cause WPM and bud rot. If you find this type of mold in your plants, remove the contaminated parts and dispose of them. Make sure to check all your plants after that to prevent a wide outbreak.
Why Does Mold Appear?
All of these types of molds are fungi. They spread and reproduce via spores. Preventing spores from appearing is near impossible. But the presence of spores does not mean that a mold outbreak will happen.
Mold can only grow in specific circumstances. Mold thrives in humid conditions, just like cannabis. But a combination of humidity, low airflow, and unhealthy plants is what allows mold to appear. Some types of mold only appear when spores physically enter the plant – so be careful when trimming and cutting your plants.
When Is Mold Most Likely to Appear?
During the Drying and Curing Process
Most growers are aware of the dangers associated with molds. But a lot of growers often make a very dangerous mistake – they let their guard down as soon as the harvest is over. But even after your plants have been harvested, the threat of mold is still very real.
The process of drying and curing your buds is done in conditions where it’s easy to unwittingly create perfect conditions for a mold outbreak. Pay a lot of attention to temperature and humidity when drying and curing. It would be a shame to lose any amount of product when it is so close to completion.
Big and Leafy Plants
The stage of growing cannabis when your plants become big, bushy, and leafy is very risky in terms of mold appearing. This is due to a couple of factors. Big, leafy plants reduce airflow and release a lot of humidity.
To make matters worse, when plants enter this stage of growth, they are usually placed close together. If even a single plant suffers from a mold outbreak, the entire harvest may easily be at risk. Pay extra attention to your plants at this stage.
Near the End of the Flowering Stage
As your plants start reaching the end of the flowering stage, their buds will become much larger, heavier, and denser. This poses a unique risk. Moisture gets trapped within the buds, making it easier for spores to germinate.
Big, heavy buds are much more susceptible to bud rot in particular. Near the end of the flowering stage, a bud can become completely ruined very rapidly. Be extra vigilant during this stage of growth – pay close attention to any symptoms of bud rot.
How to Prevent Mold and Limit Exposure
There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the risk of mold appearing. Certain strains are naturally more resistant to mold – factor this into your decision when picking a strain for your next harvest. All plants, regardless of strain, are less likely to get mold if they are watered and fed appropriately.
Invest in a good ventilation system. Place your fans in such a way that they circulate air both over and under your plants. Trim and defoliate your plants – but don’t overdo it.
Set up a temperature and humidity monitor and check it regularly. If you see an issue developing, consider investing in a dehumidifier. Discard all moldy plant parts as soon as you spot them.
Another factor is the occupational hazard that cannabis mold presents for you and your employees. Exposure to mold can cause or exacerbate health issues. Taking the steps mentioned above to prevent mold from appearing in the first place is a great first step.
However, you and your employees should be protected even if the worst comes to pass. Consider providing gloves and respiratory protection for your workers.