When it comes to installing carbon air filters for cannabis grow rooms, there can be a lot of misconceptions about performance. Not all filters are equal. And not all filters can stop powdery mildew.
What Is Powdery Mildew?
Known as one of the biggest banes of a grower’s existence, powdery mildew ruins many a crop. In fact, it’s not even a problem limited to marijuana. Many crops, including hops and squash, are all susceptible.
It’s grown and spread from several different types of fungal spores, mainly from the order Erysiphales. Due to the airborne and highly transmissible nature of the problem, it is challenging to eradicate.
Another reason for the difficulty is the growing conditions in which marijuana thrives: moderate temperatures and humid environments. These climate conditions happen to be perfect for the breeding and spread of fungi. And when coupled with close plant placement, you end up with the recipe for a rampant disaster.
As the disease spreads, plants’ photosynthesis abilities become more and more compromised. This slowdown in photosynthesis is what leads to a weak and stunted harvest, costing the growing industry millions in lost revenue every year.
How to Spot It
In this case, the name provides quite an accurate description. Powdery mildew shows up as white or silver growths with a dusty appearance. Small bumps usually begin to form on the leaves and stems.
As the disease progresses, the bumps begin to cluster more densely together, and the number of spores released increases exponentially. Wilting and drooping are also common, as well as a mottled appearance pattern.
Controlling Powdery Mildew
The best way to control powdery mildew is to prevent it from contacting your plants in the first place. However, this is harder than it sounds. Spores are incredibly difficult to detect and can get into your growing environment through a variety of ways: new plants, pets, contaminated clothing, and so forth.
However, if you’re unlucky enough to experience a fungi outbreak first hand, there are some steps you can take:
- Keep humidity low (less than 60%)
- Ensure your plants are properly spaced, not touching or overlapping
- Treat affected plants as early as possible
- A combination organic fungicide spray, combined with physical removal is ideal
- Dispose of infected plants and leaves as necessary, ensuring the disposal site is well away from the grow area
- Use efficient air purification to remove spores from circulating air
All these elements are critical, but to prevent a massive spread or recurrence, air purification is the most important.
Air Filters and Purification: Why Carbon Doesn’t Cut It
Carbon filters are one of the most common filter types used by growers today. They use carbon (treated with oxygen -aka- “activated carbon”) to filter out volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), chemicals, and unsavory smells commonly associated with growing operations.
To treat a large space, you need a lot of carbon. The volume required means these filters are large and bulky. Plus, they require frequent changing and replacement.
To make matters worse, carbon filters don’t protect against the spread of small particles like pollen, microbes, or fungal spores.
In short: carbon filters are worthless against powdery mildew!
Other Air Purification Options to Achieve No Emissions
When it comes to keeping your operation running clean, ozone-free photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology is the gold standard. Originally developed by NASA for use in space, it’s a chemical-free, filter-free air purification technology.
These air cleaners are capable of removing more than 99.999% percent of organic contaminants. And there are no emissions such as ozone or any type of toxic chemical/gas. They kill not only mold spores, but also botrytis, blight, bacteria, viruses, and allergens.
Plus, they cost very little to operate. As opposed to giant fans or costly air filters, each unit uses less energy than two 100-watt light bulbs. There are no expensive filters to replace; just simple annual maintenance, which mostly consists of replacing the proprietary PCO lamps.
But the best part? They fit right into most existing operations. No costly overhaul or expensive retrofitting required.
Eradicate Powdery Mold and Other Undesirables
Are you interested in protecting your harvest? How about improving your yield? And all without lifting a finger?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you need to add the AiroClean420 to your grow room operation. Regardless of your business size, you’ll rest easier every night knowing you are protecting your harvest with the best science (and NASA!) has to offer.
What else have you got to lose? Check us out online, or call 844-247-3913 to chat with one of our filtration pros about the limitations of carbon air filters for cannabis grow rooms.