Cannabis plants are known as highly aromatic, hardy, and vigorous plants that perform well in a variety of climates and conditions. They are not called “weed” for nothing. They are aggressive, flexible, and less labor-intensive plants. However, just like any other plant, their health and vigor will be affected when placed under a lot of stress. Here are some marijuana stress signs to look out for and how to fix them.
Moisture stress is perhaps one of the most common stressors in growing weed. Unfortunately, they are not as easy to distinguish and any gardener knows that it is important to know the root of the problem before any treatment is to be given. Here are some marijuana stress signs of moisture problems:
Overwatering. Wet soil, yellow drooping leaves, and stunted growth are symptoms of overwatering, which is one of the most common novice gardening mistakes. It is so easy to give our plants excess water but we must remember that too much water on the soil will take up the space for oxygen that the roots also need to grow. Excess moisture also drowns the roots and turns them mushy, leading to lowered plant resistance and growth of mold, algae, and fungus gnats. In many cases, plants will never recover from severe overwatering.
Solution: When you notice marijuana stress signs of overwatering on your plants, adding nutrients will not help the problem. The best thing to do is to assess the damage, stop watering, use light to help facilitate draining, and only wait and hope that your plant will recover. To avoid overwatering your cannabis plants, use airy soil, fabric pots, and compost to make sure each plant has adequate drainage. Contrary to popular belief, it is best not to rely on a watering schedule as various environmental factors can affect the moisture in the soil. Instead, check the top inch part of the soil to see if it’s time to water again. If this section of the soil is already dry, then it is safe to water your plants again.
Underwatering. Underwatering is also another concern that can lead to stress among cannabis plants. Cracked, crispy soil and wilting, brittle leaves are all symptoms of underwatering. As we all know, without adequate water, plants will dry up and yields will be greatly affected.
Solution: Just like overwatering, the best solution to avoid underwatering is to check the top inch of the soil. Water the plant when this portion of the soil has dried out. When you’ve noticed symptoms of underwatering on your plants, however, It is important not to fall into the mistake of giving it too much water immediately. Instead, add water in increments. Another aspect that may lead to underwatering, which many growers tend to overlook, is the size of the pot being used. For instance, a small seedling with a small root system should not be placed in a large pot as this greatly reduces the plant’s chances of absorbing enough water before it drains away.
Cannabis Light Stress and Light Burn
It is a well-known fact that light plays an important role in the growth of any plant. When grown outside, marijuana plants will do just fine in natural light. However, when grown indoors, these plants will require specific watts of HPS or MH light per square foot. They also require a specific light schedule to get your plants to start flowering. Unfortunately, another common problem that cannabis growers face is light stress and light burn.
Light Stress. Cannabis plants are very sensitive to light stress, which is technically an interruption in their dark cycles if you have shifted their light schedule to 12/12. Any light leaks, changes in the schedule, and intensity of light exposure will have a radical effect on the growth of the plant.
Solution: For many marijuana growers, cannabis light stress can become very stressful. However, with the right precautions and the right amount of planning, even first-time gardeners can easily bounce back from light stress. If there is a need to visit your garden during the light switching-off cycle, make sure to use a low-power green LED light to avoid light stress.
Light Burn. Light burn is the extreme case of light stress. Unlike light stress, plants will not recover from the symptoms of a light burn. Indications that your plant is suffering from light burn include browning or bleaching of the leaves, taco-ing of the leaves (upward curl), and stunted growth. The leaves closest to the source of light or the most exposed ones will be the first ones to show the symptoms. It is important to note that, unlike in the cases of nitrogen deficiency, leaves that are affected by a light burn will not fall off easily. Still the same, all these can lead to a loss in the quality and depth of the plant’s terpene profile as well as a significant reduction in the final harvest.
Solution: When spotted early on, the fix is pretty simple – bring your source of light further from the top of your plants to reduce the intensity of the light. If you have run out of height and can no longer move your source of light to a healthy distance, then make sure to reduce the intensity of the light by switching to a lower-intensity bulb. You can also opt to use rotating fans to spread the heat from the light. Lastly, you can always use low-stress training (LST) to manage your plant’s growth. LST is a popular growing technique used by many experienced cannabis growers who work within small spaces.
We all want to make sure that our cannabis plants are well-fed to ensure a healthy harvest. Thus, along with giving excess water (overwatering), feeding too many nutrients or fertilizer is also another common beginner cannabis growing mistakes. Also called the “Nute Burn,” this problem often shows itself on the tips of the leaves. The yellow or brown tips are caused by too-high levels of nutrients and minerals at the roots. Just like with moisture problems, it is always best to end up giving your plants less fertilizer than excess fertilizer. Any burn appearance on the leaves will not go away.
Solution: A good way to avoid this newbie mistake is to only give half of the prescribed dosage and monitor the plant’s reaction. Also, make sure that you are feeding the right nutrients for the right stage of growth, otherwise, giving the nutrients at the wrong time will be an easy way to suffer a nutrient burn. If you notice the first signs of nutrient burn on your plants, make sure to flush them out of the system using plain water with the right pH.
Growing cannabis is pretty straightforward with the right amount of planning and research. These plants are robust and can grow in several conditions. Yet, just like any other plant, they require certain factors to be met to produce high-quality buds. Above are some of the marijuana stress signs every grower should watch out for before it becomes too late to save his crop.