To successfully cultivate medical marijuana, growers must tightly control a range of environmental variables. Many growers rely on fans to circulate air and decrease the heat given off by grow lights. This makes limiting exposure to fungi of utmost importance. These fans have the unintended consequence of spreading mold spores throughout an indoor cannabis growing environment. Understanding the effects of mold exposure on cannabis production can help growers take steps to limit the spread of mold spores.
Mold Exposure Limits Cannabis Seedling Growth
One of the most discouraging effects of mold exposure on cannabis production occurs during the early phase of growing. Seedlings are susceptible to a process called damping off, which can destroy a large percentage of a crop before it even has a chance to get off the ground. Exposure to gray mold spores causes damping off.
When a seedling is affected by damping off, it fails to grow a strong, sturdy stem. Fungi attack the roots and stem, prevent nutrients from moving upward throughout the plant. Signs of damping off include a soft, mushy stem and seedlings that droop over. In the beginning stages, it may look like overwatering, but lesions soon begin to form on the plant stem. Unfortunately, there is little that can save seedlings at this point, so growers will have to start over and hope that airborne fungi have not permeated the new soil.
Effects of Mold Exposure on Mature Plants
In mature plants, the effects of mold exposure may include disease of the stems, leaves, roots, and buds of a plant. Each type of fungus causes a slightly different problem. In general, however, growers should look for any lesions or spots on plants. Lesions on plant stems and leaf spots may be indicators of mold exposure. Affected plants often give off a musty or stale odor when exposed to mold spores.
Mold Exposure Curtails Cannabis Yield
Unfortunately, one of the primary effects of mold exposure is that it is lethal for cannabis plants. This is particularly true for gray mold, which may destroy your entire crop in a matter of days. Even when plants do not die, however, yield may be severely curtailed. Furthermore, the effects of mold exposure are not limited to your grow room. Mold also can spread throughout a drying room, spoiling an entire harvest.
Prevention is the Best Protection
For the best protection against mold, invest in an air purification system such as AiroClean420. This system can be installed in any indoor environment, protecting your grow room and drying rooms from the potentially lethal effects of mold exposure. Contact us for a facility proposal and more information on how you can protect your crops from mold – from day one to harvest.