The cannabis plant is a plant that is often subjected to harsh conditions (weather and climate conditions) which in turn have an effect on the quality of yield. One such harsh condition that can affect the cannabis plant is heat stress. Cannabis as a very resilient plant grown in different regions is also capable to withstand heat. However, there is a degree to the amount of heat it is comfortable with.
Heat stress occurs when a cannabis plant is exposed to extreme light conditions when planted indoors as well as extremely hot weather conditions when planted outdoors. Following heat stress, cannabis plants are prone to discoloration, deformation of leaves, and so on.
Signs of Heat Stress
In order to detect if a plant is being affected by heat stress, there are different signs to look out for in the growing cannabis plant. Heat stress manifests in different ways at different stages of the plant’s growth cycle and as such must be monitored for closely both in the vegetative phase and the flowering phase.
In the vegetative phase, when the tips of the fan leaves are seen to curl upward or downward coupled with a dry and withered look, one likely cause of such scenes in growing plants is heat stress. Provided the growing plants are not starved of needed minerals and nutrients necessary for growth and development and all other conditions necessary for survival are optimum, expression of such signs point to heat stress. The presence of brown spots or blotches with different shapes on the edges of the fan leaves as well as yellow patches are also signs of heat stress.
In the flowering phase of development of a growing cannabis plant, the presence of a pillar of small buds as an outgrowth from older ones which is an adaptative mechanism known as foxtail is a sign of heat stress. Also, the deformation of important leaves is an expression of heat stress in the flowering phase which eventually reduces the quality and quantity of yield produced.
How to deal with Heat Stress
Once detected, it is important that the signs of heat stress are quickly attended to, and also the plant is properly taken care of and excluded from the source of the heat stress. The source of heat stress differs for plants grown indoor as well as for cannabis plants grown outdoor. For indoor cannabis plants, heat stress is caused by the plant being too close to the light source while severe weather conditions such as heatwave and hot dry climate are the cause of heat stress outdoors.
When heat stress has been identified in indoor plants, different steps can be taken to relieve the plant of the stress caused by the heat. Some of the needed steps that can be used to treat heat stress include
Use of fans: Fans are a very viable option when it comes to dealing with heat stress indoors. Fans help in expelling hot air present in the surroundings in order to make the goring environment cooler.
Air Conditioning: One advantage of growing indoors is the ability to be able to control the temperature of the environment. With the right equipment, the cool temperature of the surrounding can save the plant completely from heat stress. Though this is a very expensive option.
Type and position of light source: The proximity of the indoor plant to the light source is a determinant of whether an indoor plant will be heat-stressed or not. The type of light used in the lamp is also important as it determines the quantity of heat produced. LED lights are best due to the limited heat produced despite being expensive. HID lights are also a cheaper alternative.
Use of exhaust system: An exhaust system helps in heat stress because it sucks out the stale hot air present in the plant environment and when used with fans, they help to replace the hot air with fresh cooler air.
Much like the indoors, when heat stress is observed in the outdoor plants there are different steps that can be taken to alleviate the effects. They include
Time of watering: Watering cycles of plants can be used to take care of the symptoms of heat stress. It is important to keep the roots cool and a watering cycle of morning and evening will help the plant grow efficiently.
Use of portable pots: When growing outdoors, it is safer to plant in movable pots than directly to the ground. This is because pots can easily be relocated and moved in times of extreme conditions.
Use of temporary shelter: Use of cloth and tarpaulin as a shade over a growing area is also important to ensure that the plant is protected from excess sunlight and heatwave.
Use of supplements: Supplements are used to treat the symptoms of damaged plants and they provide minerals and nutrients for resistance. Seaweed and kelp extracts can be used to treat the effects of damaged plants.
These steps are sure to protect your plant from heat stress and will in turn ensure that you enjoy maximum yield from your grow operation.