Bud Rot Prevention in the North East
Possibly the biggest challenge that cannabis growers in the Northeast face is bud rot. A perfectly healthy plant can turn into a botrytis (bud rot) ridden mess in less than a week. While nothing can prevent it completely all the time there are many things that can be done to limit it's damage. Before we get into that lets talk about the conditions that bud rot thrives in. Quite simply cool and wet conditions is where bud rot thrives. If your plants are staying wet and cool for more than a day then you should be inspecting your plants everyday for signs of infection. As a rule from mid sept until mid Oct I inspect all plants everyday.
Let's look at all of our organic and safe options for control.
-First thing we need to do is ensure we have the right genetics. If you live in Maine or the Northeast then you should only be growing strains that have proven resistance to bud rot and strains that finish early enough to be harvested before the effects of bud destroy the entire plant. Any strain that does not finish by the middle of Oct should not be considered unless the grower has a Greenhouse.
-Having a greenhouse is an expensive yet effective way to guard against bud rod. You can keep the plants from getting rained on and you can run fans in order to keep the plants dry and ventilate the space. While this is maybe the most effective method it can be costly and Greenhouse growing can pose it's own problems. If your GH is not automated and you forget to open it on a sunny day you risk frying your plants and killing them or stunting their growth. Pest such as aphids and mites tend to be more of a problem in GH environments as well.
-Thinning/training your plants is another effective method of control. Starting in July all the way into early Sept I make sure to thin out all leaves that are bunched up on the bottom half of the plants. This promotes airflow and allows the plants to dry out faster. You will read much information that tells you not to remove any leaves from cannabis plants as they are what enable the plant to grow. This is true to an extent. Much of this information is correct in the dry climate of California but here in Maine you are going to want to remove foliage. When training your plants try for a screen of green approach to keep your main stems space out nicely.
-Planting your cannabis plants in a spot that will receive the earliest sunlight possible is a good way to ensure they dry out quickly. Remember that the sun will be lower when buds are finishing than in summer so try and anticipate that when you pick your location.
Over all good health of the plant will go a long way to preventing bud rot. Healthy organic soil that holds even moisture and contains all necessary nutrients is second to none in preventing not only bud rot but most any problem your cannabis plants will encounter.
-Drying out your plants in the morning with a leaf blower can be effective. Just be careful not to damage the plants.
-Be diligent, inspect plants when the conditions for bud rot exist and immediately remove any infected buds so that they do not spread.