The flowering stage of the grow cycle is a critical time when it comes to achieving a crop of superb quality. Special measures are required to avoid running into common problems.
Perhaps the most vital point of growing cannabis crop is the flowering phase. All of your hard work has paid off thus far. You have timed your watering pattern well. You have provided your herbs with a strong amount of healthy light that saw them through the vegetative phase of the grow cycle. You gifted them with the correct ratio of nutrients to help them grow and thrive. As you start to see the trichome laden flowers emerge from your weed, you may be under the impression that your work is done, and that it’s time to take a back seat and let your plants do their thing. However, maintenance throughout the flowering stage is crucial to avoiding possible catastrophes. In order to maximise both the quality and quantity of your yield, you will need to pay close attention throughout the flowering stage.
DON’T MAKE THESE MISTAKES IN THE FLOWERING STAGE
Just as you have been doing through the vegetative phase, you will need to continue to monitor certain parameters such as lighting, nutrients, and pH to ensure that your plants are still experiencing vibrant health. Below are 5 common problems that can occur during flowering and tips on how to avoid these outcomes.
1. WRONG PH AND NUTRIENT LEVELS
The pH level at the rootzone of your plants is an important factor throughout the entire length of the grow cycle, especially during the flowering phase when detrimental situations can really affect the health and quality of your harvest. pH problems can manifest in many different ways and many problems that you experience with your plants during the flowering phase may originate in the realm of pH. pH issues can cause curling and wrinkling in leaves. They can often look like the symptoms of nutritional deficiency.
Spots on leaves and burnt edges can also signify a pH problem. It’s important to identify the root cause of these symptoms before treating plants for nutritional deficiencies. If your plant has adequate nutrients and you decide to give them an extra dose you may really cause some detriment to the yield. Although it might seem like a great idea to pump in some extra nutrients during the flowering stage, too much can cause buds to smell and taste bad and can effectively ruin the quality of a harvest.
pH kits can be used to check the pH of the root zone of your crops. When it comes to hydroponic grows the root zone should ideally have a pH of between 5.5-6.5, and when it comes to plants being grown in soil the root zone pH should be between 6.0-7.0. If the pH is either too high or too low you can employ pH up or down products to return plants to a healthy balance.
If you are only a week or two away from harvest, you are likely flushing your plants, so dealing with pH becomes less of an option – make sure you spot any problems before you get this far!
2. MALE PLANTS POLLINATING FEMALE PLANTS
When growing with the intention of harvesting the fattest, biggest, and smelliest buds achievable, growers want a grow room loaded with female flowers. If any male flowers exist within the grow space and start to pump out pollen they will inevitably pollinate the female flowers. Male plants do not grow buds and have little use for many growers; instead, they form pollen sacs that develop and distribute their genetics. Now, this phenomena isn’t a big issue for growers who are looking to produce seeds. However, this becomes a huge problem for growers who are aiming for quality yields of high potency flowers for both recreational and medicinal use.
When a female flower has been pollinated by a male plant the flower ceases in favour of seeds. Once a female plant has been pollinated they will begin diverting their efforts into forming seeds, a behaviour that they naturally to do in order to continue their genetic lineage. It’s obvious that this is in no way desirable for growers who want their female plants to be putting maximum effort into forming dank flowers all the way to the end of the grow cycle.
To avoid pollination taking place it is crucial to keep a close eye on all of your plants during the beginning of the flowering phase. If you start to see a plant churning out pollen sacs instead of flowers, remove it from the grow area as quickly as possible. Yes, it might be gutting to know how much work went into this specimen, but it’s not worth keeping it around and reducing the output of all of your females.
Also keep an eye out for hermies, or hermaphrodite plants. These plants are females that start to grow male parts. This phenomena can be the direct result of female plants experiencing too much external stress during earlier stages of the grow cycle. It also seems as though the hermaphrodite tendency is a means of genetic self-preservation, without any pollen in sight the plant has no other way to dispense its genetics. Hermaphrodite plants will start to grow male parts within the flowers themselves, a phenomena that can manifest in one of two ways. Either an entire pollen sac will grow within a bud, or just a yellow banana looking structure, which is actually a stamen.
If these biological structures start to produce pollen then these plants will pollinate themselves and potentially all of the other females within the grow space. For this reason, it is advised to remove the male parts as soon as you spot them. Or to be extra safe, remove these plants from the grow space and cultivate them in a separate environment to minimise any risk of pollination.
3. INCORRECT LIGHTING SETUP
Lighting is an absolutely key element to the health, vitality, and yield production of a cannabis crop. But just like nutrients, too much of a good thing can certainly cause detrimental effects. Good strong lights are a must when it comes to achieving the best harvest possible. Plants need light in order to produce energy via the process of photosynthesis, therefore strong levels of light are essential. During the flowering stage, there are certain lighting factors that need to be taken into consideration. One is the light cycle. Unless you are growing an autoflowering strain you will need to alter the light cycle. Another is the distance between the light source and your plants.
Large vertical growth occurs in the flowering stage, especially if the plant in question is a large sativa strain that can reach the height of 2 metres or more. Plants will shoot up towards the light to a point where it can be dangerous. Lights do need to be kept close to a crop to maximize output, but having them too close can cause trouble. If plants are left to freely grow and end up too close to a light source they could become burned and bleached. Most strains have different requirements when it comes to the distance they should be kept away from lights. It might take some experimentation to find this sweet spot, or you can avoid this trial and error process by researching your strain of choice.
4. BE MINDFUL OF THE SMELL
This factor is definitely one that applies more to those growing herbs within a region of the world that does not tolerate such an act. It’s no secret that cannabis plants unleash a pleasant and salivating aroma, one that sets them apart from almost all other plants. During the vegetative phase, most strains will refrain from a full force smell. It’s during the flowering stage that plants start to exhibit all of their skunky glory and really start to stink. If you live within a densely populated area there is a chance that the smell will be easily detected, especially within apartment buildings. It would be a shame if plants were confiscated at this stage. Plus, a jail sentence for growing a few herbs really isn’t worth it. It is therefore extremely important to put measures in place to mask and remove skunky aromas.
Carbon filters can be fitted on the air exhausts of grow tents and employed to intercept the obvious smell of a flourishing cannabis crop. Carbon scrubbers can also be used along with fans that either push or pull air through the device. These options are highly effective, easy to maintain, and last a long time.
5. MOLD ON BUDS
Mold growth is a real risk when it comes to the flowering stage of the grow cycle. Mold thrives in humid and dark conditions with little air circulation. Dehumidifiers and fans are great tools in the battle against mold. You certainly don’t want to be smoking buds laden with mold, so it’s a massive disappointment to discover it on plants.
One way to avoid mold formation is to select a strain that is genetically heavily resistant to mold. If you happen to live in certain regions where mold growth is likely then it would be a good option to use these genetics. Examples include Blue Widow, Swiss Cheese, Hollands Hope, Frisian Dew, Passion #1, White Widow and A.M.S.
Mold is also a cause for concern during the harvest. It is entirely understandable that some growers want their stash ready for action as soon as possible, but patience almost always pays off. You will need to correctly dry and cure your bud to avoid running into mold issues and to extend the storage life of your stash.
When drying your weed, a dark room is favoured due to the degrading effect that light might have on your flowers. Hang plants and branches upside down from strings or washing line and aim to maintain a room temperature of around 20 degrees celsius for the first 3 days, followed by a temperature of 17-18 degrees celsius there after. This process will take around 10-20 days. A humidity level of 50 percent will stop flowers from drying out too fast. When the stems of the branches break very easily then the drying process is complete.
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