Bud decay, which thrives in wet conditions, is a common fungal disease
Bud rot is a common fungal disease, also known as gray mold or botrytis. In the context of cannabis cultivation, it is known as bud rot, as it most commonly affects the buds and causes them to rot, but it can develop on any part of the plant.
Like other molds, bud rot thrives in moist conditions. The most effective way to prevent bud rot is therefore to use dehumidifiers to maintain low humidity.
Why is bud rot a problem for cannabis growers?
When bud rot infects a plant, it stunts its growth and development. In many cases, it can go so far as to cause the plant to wilt and die.
When an infection starts in an enclosed grow space, it can quickly spread throughout the facility. Bud rot is therefore difficult to treat when it occurs. It is therefore much more effective to prevent it than to treat it afterwards.
However, cannabis regulations make things even more complicated. Selling or distributing buds containing mold is illegal, including for further processing, such as making edibles, extracts, topicals, etc.
The regulations for cannabis production not only prevent the presence of mold, but also the use of fungicides. Sprays commonly used to prevent gray mold are toxic. Growers therefore cannot legally use them on their cannabis crops. Without being able to rely on sprays, prevention becomes the only viable course of action.
It is important to note that bud rot can develop at any stage of the production process, including post-harvest and even inside the final packaging. It is therefore imperative to ensure the conditions that prevent bud rot at every stage of production.
How does bud rot develop?
Cannabis plants constantly transpire water through their leaves. Thus, in a culture room or a closed greenhouse, the humidity level is constantly pushed up. When relative humidity reaches 100%, water condenses on surfaces, often on the plants themselves.
Cannabis buds are incredibly dense. The moisture they give off can therefore be trapped inside the bud, making it one of the first places where water condenses. This condensation explains why cannabis is particularly susceptible to bud rot and why growers aim for very low humidity levels, much lower than most crops.
How to prevent bud rot?
The use of common fungicides is also prohibited in most cases. Growers therefore have only one option: to prevent bud rot before it develops by using a dehumidifier.
Prevention of bud rot with dehumidifiers :
The only way to completely prevent bud rot while adhering to regulations is to control the climate. Specifically, by controlling humidity and maintaining low levels of relative humidity.
The easiest, most effective and efficient way to control humidity is to use dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers such as the DryGair DG-X are explicitly designed for growing cannabis, making them extremely effective and efficient in their task of preventing bud rot.
Create climate uniformity
Uniformity is another key factor in preventing bud rot. Climate uniformity is all about maintaining the same conditions, such as temperature and humidity, throughout the grow space. Local pockets of humidity, called microclimates, are extremely common in crowded cannabis grow operations. It is therefore crucial to prevent the formation of microclimates to prevent mold.
Bud rot does not need a long time to develop and spread. All it takes is for a plant to be subjected to high humidity for this fungal disease to take hold, create spores and infect other plants. It is therefore not always enough to maintain a low level of humidity. Growers must ensure that humidity is low everywhere and at all times. This is where uniformity comes in.
Some dehumidifiers are equipped with a unique and patented air circulation system that solves this problem. The device's fans blow dry air in all directions at once, with enough force to cover the entire space. This creates air circulation that ensures similar conditions all around the space, dispersing local microclimates and contributing to even conditions, as well as buds.
Dehumidification vs. Steam Vaporizer (CVC)
Many growers choose not to use dehumidifiers and instead opt for HVAC systems. The reasoning behind this choice is understandable. HVAC systems, or other forms of air conditioning, are necessary for growing cannabis anyway. Growers therefore save money by using them to control humidity and temperature.
HVAC systems actually remove some moisture from the air as a side effect of their operation. But they are not designed for this task and are not as effective as a dedicated dehumidifier. In order to control humidity at all times, HVAC systems must operate continuously, often alternating between heating and cooling, to continue removing humidity, even when temperatures are already high.