The moral of this story is you cannot leave your crop unattended during the flowering and drying periods
For all of the outdoor growers out there harvest time can bring the best of times after all that hard work of the past 8 months, the rewards can be fantastic. All the flowers are harvested ready for drying and the fruits of everyone’s labors are ready to be sampled to see the final results.
The growers out there amongst you will all know far too well how much of a nightmare Botrytis can be, it can ruin a crop completely within a matter of a few days if left unchecked. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is a mold that develops on leaves and buds, which spreads extremely rapidly, in the right conditions.
Here is an example of the damage that can be done by it if left unchecked, a good friend of mine in Humboldt county California had finished and harvested his crop and hung everything up to dry in the drying sheds, he left one of his employees to look after the drying crop over a weekend as he had other commitments. The employee in question took it upon himself to leave the property and visit his girlfriend thinking his employer wouldn’t know he was away for a few hours, unfortunately for them both there was a landslide closing the road which meant he couldn’t get back up the mountain for 2 days, when he did get back the entire drying crop had succumbed to Botrytis and $250,000 of high end Kush was now only good for compost.
The moral of this story is you cannot leave your crop unattended during the flowering and drying periods because it can end in disaster if left unchecked.
There are several things you can do to keep this unwanted mold at bay, the first is to ensure that there is a constant air flow around your plants as Botrytis finds it difficult to get hold in constant moving air, indoors and in polytunnel/greenhouses rotating fans are ideal for this purpose giving plenty of air flow. Outdoors it’s not so easy as you cannot use fans, if possible make sure that when you plant your crop you do it in an area that has a constant breeze blowing through the growing area, this will make it more difficult for Botrytis to get a grip. When the plants are fully mature in the growing cycle thin out the internal leaf structure to enable airflow through the plant, if you have pockets of stale air surrounded by dense leaves this will be an ideal environment for the mold to start. Make sure that no other plants growing in the area are close to your crop as this is an easy way for Botrytis to spread, touching leaves, flowers fruit etc can contaminate your crop.
Botrytis can be managed if it develops within your crop, remove any infected leaves and cut out any infected buds, removing just a part of an infected bud isn’t really the way to go, we all want to keep as much flower as possible but if you only cut out a part of a bud there is a very good chance you will miss some of the infection and it will just spread. Make sure if using your hands to remove leaves and tools to cut out infected buds that they are cleaned thoroughly before being used elsewhere on the same plant or others because if they are not cleaned you will only be spreading the mold to healthy plants.
We have used a product called Healthy Leaf & Bud manufactured by HydroGarden Wholesale as a prophylactic against Botrytis as it does work; it contains a preparation of naturally occurring bacteria and nutrients and can be used in hydro and soil.
If you do get Botrytis and you haven’t been using a prophylactic to prevent it then this product will also stop the rot, it does exactly what it says on the bottle.
Good luck with your harvest everyone and be vigilant against this nasty mold.
Emerald Triangle Seeds
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 137