What Is Bud Rot and What Can I Do About It?

is bud rot something to worry about

Botrytis, or in layperson’s terms bud rot, is something you’re likely to encounter at one point as a cannabis cultivator. It’s a prevalent fungus, so if and when you encounter it, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it as it does not mean you “failed” as a cannabis grower. It does tend to happen more when you’re first gaining experience as a cultivator and learning how to maintain and control humidity and airflow in your growing space, but even the most experienced cultivator can encounter bud rot.

Bud Rot — What is it and How do I Spot it?

Basically, bud rot, which is a type of mold, attacks and kills your cannabis buds. If your plant gets bud rot it immediately renders the infected buds or plants no longer usable or safe for consumption. This type of fungus usually begins during the flowering stage inside the bud and spreads out, which makes bud rot hard to spot in the beginning. The stem of your plant will start to look grey, mushy, and slimy, and then the surrounding leaves that are growing from the base of the stem will seemingly “suddenly” turn yellow, wilted, and burnt-looking in the course of 24-48 hours. Sometimes when plants have bud rot they will have fine, dusty-like spores, which can be especially problematic as these spores can spread quickly throughout your grow space via wind, water, pollinators, and your clothing. While there is not much you can do once your plant or buds have bud rot except discard them, there are several things you can do to prevent it and stop it from spreading.

What Do I Do If My Plants Have Bud Rot?

Unfortunately, if your plant or buds have bud rot, you cannot do anything to salvage them. Depending on how widespread the bud rot is will determine exactly how much of your plant you have to discard. If the bud rot is contained just to one or two areas, you can cut these areas out and hopefully be able to let the plant continue to grow. However, it is extremely important that if you discover this unwelcome guest in a bud or on the leaves, then you will need to carefully inspect the entire plant to make sure it has not spread. 

If the bud rot has contaminated too much of your plant then you will, unfortunately, have to cut it down completely and get rid of it in order to protect the surrounding plants. If your plant has greyish-white spores, one important thing for you and anyone you grow cannabis with is to change into new clothes immediately after you have discarded of the infected plants. Also, you’ll need to be extremely careful with your discarding your plant as you don’t want the spores to transfer to your healthy plants. In short, you need to contain it as much as possible and be aware that the spores can easily get on your clothing and “fall” onto other plants. Again, if your plant has any bud rot, then the infected areas are no longer safe for distribution or use.

How Do I Prevent Bud Rot?

While there isn’t anything you can do once bud rot has set in, there are several steps you can take to prevent it from happening. Like all mold, bud rot develops in warm, humid, and damp settings. As such the way to prevent bud rot is to make sure that your grow space is none of these things. Here are some basic steps for preventing bud rot.

  1. Dehumidify and cool: Humidity is one of the biggest reasons why plants develop bud rot. As such, the way to combat this is to invest in a dehumidifier (or several, depending on the size of your grow space). Also, if your space is too hot, you may need to consider installing an A/C unit of some kind. Note that indicas, which tend to produce very dense buds and originate from dry mountainous regions, are more susceptible to bud rot if they’re in a humid environment.
  2. Airflow: Making sure that clean air is circulating throughout your space is important for preventing bud rot and other diseases. You can easily and inexpensively improve your air circulation via the use of floor fans etc. If you’re growing sativas, having good air flow can really work wonders in bringing out their ability to resist all kinds of mold, including bud rot.
  3. Spacing: Another way to ensure good airflow is to have enough space between and around all of your plants so that air can move freely between them. You don’t want any plants to be touching one another. As such, you’ll want to know ahead of time if the strain you’re growing is more of an outward or upward grower so that you can plant your seedlings accordingly.
  4. Pruning and training: Pruning your plants will also help encourage airflow and will reduce the chances of moisture from collecting. Another way to do this is to use the Screen of Green method, which ensures that your upper and lower branches are all spread and spaced out enough.
  5. Nutrition: Like all living things, having a healthy immune system makes it possible for your plants to be able to fight off disease, infections, and mold. This can easily be achieved by making sure that your plants are getting the nutrients and minerals that they need.
  6. Pay attention: Check your plants every single day. Remove random plant debris, and any standing water, and inspect them for signs of mold and disease
  7. Proper watering: As is the case for all kinds of gardening, watering your plants in the morning or after sunset (or when you turn off your grow lights) is an important factor in preventing humidity. And it goes without saying that it’s important not to overwater your plants.

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