By September, most outdoor weed is just about ready for harvesting. In many places, late summer and early autumn are periods with heavy rainfall, fog, and possibly even some early frost at night. All of these influences can be threats to your plants. Moisture in particular can promote fungal growth, which can kill of your harvest in no time at all. Obviously, you don’t want to crash in sight of the finish line. Here, you’ll learn how to protect cannabis plants against the major hazards of the harvest season.
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Protecting Cannabis Plants In The Harvest Season
Growing cannabis outdoors is dictated by the rhythm of the seasons. Although some strains are harvestable earlier than others, most growers start feeling that harvest itch as August draws to a close. The last few weeks in the runup to your cannabis harvest are a special time. Every day, you see your buds inching their way towards full maturity, and you can almost taste the flavour of that harvest… Still, even though you’re almost there, be careful not to trip in sight of that finish line! The last weeks of your grow is when your cannabis plants are at their most vulnerable. In the Netherlands in particular, but in fact across the entire Northern Hemisphere, early cold snaps, moisture, fungi, pests, and storms can easily ruin your harvest. That’s why we’re giving you a few pro tips here: learn how to go about protecting cannabis plants until you can finally bring in that harvest!
Protecting Cannabis Plants: The Main Culprits
Autumn can be spectacularly beautiful, but the weather has a tendency to spoil the fun. That goes for people, but it doubly applies to cannabis plants. Strong winds can snap branches, especially when they’re loaded with big, heavy buds. The first touches of frost may arrive early, which can seriously damage roots, branches, and colas alike. Yet the biggest killer is moisture. Of course, moisture can come in the form of rain, but fog and mist can be equally deadly for your crops. De danger is not due to drowning hazards; the risk is in the favourable conditions moisture sets for fungi and rot. Once a fungus like the dreaded botrytis gets a hold of your plant, all your grower’s affections will have been in vain. As you can see, there’s plenty of stuff to watch out for…
The Easiest Tip: Look Ahead, And Look Up!
Our first tip for dealing with autumn weather is simple: stay informed. Keep checking the weather forecasts and be prepared for what lies ahead. A daily update on the weather allows you to assess the risks and act when necessary. Also try to look up every now and then, instead of watching TV or consulting your phone. Not only will you develop some feeling for weather conditions; it also improves your awareness of wind direction and sheltered spots around your garden. That’s going to prove very useful by the time you get your next outdoor grow going!
Protecting Cannabis Plants From The Weather
Are you expecting a week of rainfall? Make sure you have a frame ready to cover your plants with plastic sheets, or have your potted plants ready for evacuation towards a roofed terrace or similar shelter. If a shower has just passed, try giving your stems a gentle shake to lose most of the big raindrops. Is a storm brewing? Protect stems by supporting them with sticks of bamboo. Try to keep your plants out of harm’s way by finding them a sheltered spot. If you can’t move them around, use a windscreen or other plants to shield them. Is there a chance of frost? Try protecting your cannabis plants by covering the base of the stem and the roots with straw or dry leaves.
There’s not much you can do against mist and morning fog, except making sure your plants are well ventilated (see below). Another option is to decide on an early harvest if you have a whole week of foggy weather ahead. If you have a rough idea of what is coming, common sense will go a long way towards protecting cannabis plants from the autumn weather!
Your Daily Routine: Check Those Buds!
If fungi such as grey mold or botrytis strike, they usually hit your plant at the buds themselves. That is why growers often call botrytis bud rot, even though this fungal infection affects many species throughout the plant kingdom. This preference for buds is tricky, because problems usually start at the inner core of the bud. Once you spot the infection, you may be too late to stop it from taking over your whole plant. The solution? Learn to recognise the signs of botrytis and inspect your buds carefully every day. Check the inside of the buds too, by carefully bending the cola and looking in.
Protecting Cannabis Plants From Bud Rot
Sadly, bud rot is all but unstoppable once it takes hold. If you spot an infection early enough, you could try cutting out the affected buds and hope you’ve acted in time. Often, however, your safest bet is to start harvesting the plant straight away, even if the plan was to wait a week or two. If you do this, make sure to only harvest the buds that are completely free of fungus, and keep an extra close eye on them while they dry. If one of your plants catches a fungus and you have several plants around, make sure to create enough physical distance to keep the infection from spreading to other plants. Sometimes, the best solution is to simply remove any fungus-infected plants and dispose of them to protect the remainder of your harvest. Half a harvest is better than nothing!
Keep It Flowing
In addition to moisture and cold, wind can pose a serious threat to flowering cannabis plants. And yet, wind is simply air moving around, and from this perspective, the wind can actually help protect cannabis plants. If the air is stagnant, , bud rot and other threats can develop more easily. Plenty of air flow slows them down. On top of that, air circulation helps dry damp parts of your plant.
All in all, you have plenty of reasons to keep things flowing around your plants. That’s why it helps to know that the larger fan leaves become more or less obsolete by the end of the flowering stage. They often turn yellow or simply fall off spontaneously. Nonetheless, even green fan leaves on a flowering cannabis plant can be removed. Just don’t be too drastic, because that could stress out your plants. Just trim away some of the leaves strategically and see whether a breath of wind makes the remaining leaves on all sides tremble gently, and you’re safe.
The Last Steps Towards Harvest
If you kept paying attention as harvest time approaches, you’re now very close to hitting that sweet spot. Just stay focused a little longer and before you know it, the fruits of your labour will be hanging out to dry. If you want to know what the perfect timing for harvesting is, then check out this article here. Once you know when to harvest, we have a detailed how-to waiting for you. Just keep on protecting cannabis plants for a little while longer, and nothing can keep you from that golden harvest you’ve been waiting for!