Botrytis, or grey mould, is one of the most common fungal infections in cannabis plants.
It’s highly dangerous because it attacks buds during the flowering and drying stages once you’ve harvested your plants.
Keep reading if you want to find out about this dangerous pathogen that can ruin your plants.
What is Botrytis?
Botrytis is an illness known as grey mould or Sclerotinia Fuckeliana, highly common in many species of plants including cannabis. It’s produced by a fungus called Botrytis Cinérea.
Botrytis can easily destroy your cannabis plants. If your plants end up infected, after a few days the buds will end up rotting. Cannabis contaminated with botrytis is highly damaging for your health, which is why it’s highly important to never ever consume it.
Botrytis can get into your grow via a broken branch, which when it begins to flower, dries up and becomes infected. This can happen when budworms excrete inside the buds and cause extra humidity, or even if you spray your buds too hard.
How to Detect Botrytis in Cannabis Plants
Botrytis appears as buds or parts of buds brown in colour and covered in a sort of grey, white or brown dust. If touched, these buds can easily break and crumble.
In order to detect this dangerous fungal infection as soon as possible, make sure to periodically check on your plant; buds that look healthy may be sick on the inside. Make sure to double check dense buds, especially if you’ve already had budworms or it’s excessively humid.
Pay special attention to the colouring of your buds before and after harvesting
If you find any flowers that have been infected, remove them and throw them away. Make sure to cut a few centimetres away from the rot, which means cutting off healthy bud, in order to make sure that you’re getting rid of all of the infected part. After getting rid of all of the infected buds that you see, keep them in a bag and make sure to throw them out – do NOT leave them in your grow room or with leftover trimmings.
Check your buds before and after harvesting; botrytis also affects dead plant material, meaning that it can continue to affect your plants even when drying your buds.
How to Prevent Botrytis
There are many different ways to prevent botrytis infestations; keep in mind that the infected flowers can’t be cured, so all you can do is make it as hard as possible for it to spread so you don't have to throw any flowers away.
- Botrytis is worse in strains that grow thick, dense buds. If you grow in an area prone to botrytis, we recommend growing strains genetically designed to produce airy buds, less prone to fungal infestations, such as Critical, High Level or Jamaican Dream, which are all botrytis resistant.
- Keep your growing area clean. Keep in mind that spores also grow on dead plant material, so get rid of any dead leaves.
- Do not go into your grow without changing your clothes first. Use gloves or wash your hands thoroughly before touching your plants.
- Outdoors, give them enough space for air circulation. Indoors, avoid stagnant air pockets by having a decent ventilation and extraction system.
- Clean your flowerpots properly using water and soap, and then with bleach.
- Some strains may benefit from strategies such as FIM pruning or apex pruning during the growth stage. These techniques allow you to grow many more buds along the plant rather than one central bud, spreading the yield around. This can help stop fungal infestations from appearing in thick, central buds.
- You can use Copperprot, a fungicide that contains copper and is used to treat botrytis, alternaria, rust, and more. Copperprot is both a preventive and combative product. We recommend using it once every two weeks to keep your plants protected. This product should never be used with amino acids.
How to Get Rid of Botrytis
If botrytis appears on your plants…
- One of the best things that you can do to get rid of it is to use Botrypot, a nutrient based fungicide designed to increase microbial life. It comes from specific micro-organic extracts that can be used up to 15 days before harvesting. Botryprot stimulates your plants’ healing processes and stops botrytis from growing properly.
- Continue to use the methods mentioned in the previous point.
- Make sure to use gloves when separating infested flowers; don’t touch other buds after touching an infested bud so that you don’t accidentally spread the illness to healthy buds. Clean your scissors using alcohol after using them to cut off infected parts.
Before handling pesticides…
- Carefully read the instructions and labels on all products.
- Respect the safety periods and product elimination protocol.
- If you have any questions, at La Huerta Grow Shop you have a team of technicians at the ready to help.
At La Huerta Grow Shop we always recommend using organic, environmentally friendly products.