Lesson 1, Topic 1
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6.1 Identifying Common Pests and Diseases

Cartier April 11, 2023

Cannabis plants, like any other crop, are susceptible to pests and diseases that can significantly impact their growth, yield, and overall health. Early identification and intervention are crucial to minimize damage and maintain a healthy grow operation. In this article, we will explore some of the most common pests and diseases that affect cannabis plants and provide guidance on identifying and managing these threats.

  1. Common Cannabis Pests

a. Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that feed on plant sap, causing small yellow or white speckles on leaves. In severe infestations, leaves may become yellow or bronze and fall off, and a fine webbing may cover the plant. Use natural predators like ladybugs to control spider mites, release predatory mites, or apply insecticidal soap or neem oil.

b. Aphids

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck plant sap, causing leaves to curl and stunt plant growth. They can also transmit viruses between plants. If you spot aphids, release natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, or parasitic wasps, or use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control the infestation.

c. Whiteflies

Whiteflies are tiny, white, moth-like insects that feed on plant sap, causing leaves to turn yellow and weaken the plant. They can also transmit plant viruses. To manage whiteflies, introduce natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings, or use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or sticky traps to control their population.

d. Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small, dark-colored flies laying eggs in the soil. Their larvae feed on plant roots, resulting in stunted growth and reduced nutrient uptake. Use yellow sticky traps to catch adult gnats, allow the top layer of the soil to dry out between watering, or use products containing Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti) to control the larvae.

  1. Common Cannabis Diseases

a. Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as white, powdery spots on leaves, stems, and flowers. If left untreated, it can spread rapidly and cause leaves to turn yellow and die. To prevent and treat powdery mildew, ensure proper air circulation, maintain moderate humidity levels, and apply fungicides like potassium bicarbonate or sulfur-based products.

b. Botrytis (Gray Mold)

Botrytis, also known as gray mold, is a fungus that causes soft, gray, and fuzzy mold on buds, leaves and stems. It thrives in high humidity and can cause severe crop loss if not addressed. To prevent botrytis, maintain proper air circulation and humidity levels, remove infected plant material, and use biological or chemical fungicides when necessary.

c. Root Rot

Root rot is caused by various fungi and water molds that attack the roots, causing them to become slimy, brown, and mushy. Affected plants may show wilting, yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. To prevent and treat root rot, ensure proper drainage, avoid overwatering, and use products containing beneficial microbes like Trichoderma or Bacillus species.

d. Leaf Septoria (Yellow Leaf Spot)

Leaf septoria, also known as yellow leaf spot, is a fungal disease that causes small, yellow or brown spots on leaves, often surrounded by a yellow halo. Over time, the spots may merge and cause the leaves to die. To manage leaf septoria, remove infected leaves, improve air circulation, and apply copper-based fungicides or other appropriate treatments.

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