Powdery mildew vs trichomes – Mold is easily identifiable in food but when it comes to cannabis products, recognizing powdery mildew can be a tricky business. This is particularly dangerous as consuming moldy weed can be lethal. People tend to confuse the two primarily because powdery mildew manifests as greyish-white spots on the foliage, which look like trichomes.
Weed can be used both recreationally or medicinally. Upcoming research highlights the positive effects it may have on treating anxiety, chronic pain, and other neurological ailments.
However, the weed that is infected with mold can cause severe harm. Most weed growers and consumers are unaware of the magnitude of health concerns that arise from consuming weed infected with this fungus. You can develop chronic lung infections from the same. Fret not for through the course of this article, you will learn how to tell the difference between mold and cannabinoid-rich trichomes.
- 1 What is Powdery Mildew?
- 2 How Can You Tell The Difference Between Powdery Mildew and Trichomes?
- 3 How To Treat Cannabis Plants Affected With Powdery Mildew
- 4 Final Thoughts on Powdery Mildew Vs Trichomes
What is Powdery Mildew?
If you are not a seasoned consumer, you might be unable to spot this mold initially. Although your marijuana plants are susceptible to ninety species of fungi, powdery mildew is particularly irritating to deal with. The fungal spores can lie dormant for years and are extremely difficult to eradicate.
This is why a lot of care has to be taken when growing weed. Powdery mildew will start growing as a dull greyish powder on the leaves, buds, or stems on even the slightest let-up. It is seen thriving in areas with humidity and improper air filtration. Use bio fungicides and avoid severe temperature fluctuations to eliminate this problem.
What are Trichomes and What Do They Do?
Trichomes are nothing but epidermal outgrowths seen on the surface of a plant. They pose several secretory or protective functions. For marijuana plants, it is the presence of these trichomes that help distinguish between premium-grade weed and the standard lot. The vast majority of trichomes are found on the buds of the cannabis plant. Sometimes, they might even be spotted on the leaves, roots, and stems.
However, it is important to note that the trichomes can vary greatly depending on the strain of cannabis you are growing. They can be divided into subtypes consisting of the capitate-stalked trichome, the capitate-sessile trichome, and the bulbous trichome. Out of these, the capitate-stalked one is the most common type that produces fat-soluble cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. The bulbous trichome and the capitate-sessile trichome produce terpenes, responsible for imparting weed with its characteristic aroma.
How Can You Tell The Difference Between Powdery Mildew and Trichomes?
Perform A Visual Examination
Before purchasing marijuana from a dispensary or consuming it, always check for any unseemly fungal markers. Trichomes will stand tall, looking sparkling white under the light. In contrast to this, powdery mildew will form a dirty white coating on the leaves, resembling cobwebs around the buds. Under a magnifying glass, you will be able to spot the tiny, mushroom-like heads of the trichomes quite clearly. This will be a direct indicator that your weed is not infected and is safe for consumption.
On the other hand, mold might turn brown, green, gray, or black over time and give a dusty appearance to your cannabis. This is because of the development of filamentous structures known as hyphae, which aid in the vegetative growth of the fungi.
Do A Smell Check
Another sure way of figuring out if powdery mildew has tainted your crop is by checking for musty scents. Terpenes are chemicals that impart weed with its unmistakable odor. Marijuana contains high concentrations of this chemical with over 150 different varieties seen in a single plant. Depending on the strain of weed you opt for, the leaves can have a fruity, woodsy, or citrusy fragrance. If your plant starts to reek of an unpleasant or damp odor, it has most likely already been infected by powdery mildew. Almost all mold spores release such volatile organic compounds, which is why you should always look out for any unbecoming smells from your marijuana.
Try Pulling The Leaves Apart
Powdery mildew and other types of mold only affect those cannabis plants that were not dried or cured properly. They might have been exposed to fluctuating temperature and humidity conditions, leading to the increased moisture content in the leaves. Leaves that are not infused with this mold will make a crisp snapping sound when you pull them apart. Premium-grade weed will also feel different to the touch. The leaves will be resilient and will not crumble in your hand.
However, this is not a foolproof method for beginners. Unless you have significant experience, it can be difficult to understand what good-quality weed is supposed to feel like. Always resort to using the sight and smell tests first to find conclusive proof of powdery mildew.
How To Treat Cannabis Plants Affected With Powdery Mildew
Grow Crops In a Hygienic Environment
Most indoor cultivators do not abide by the standard norms for growing weed. To eradicate any fungal spores in your growing area, you need to install high-quality air filters alongside closed-loop ventilation systems. Greenhouses are breeding grounds for fungi seen in weed crops.
The high humidity and the warm temperature allow spores to germinate and hyphae to begin infecting plants. Once powdery mildew sets in, even decarboxylation does not help. Mycotoxins can pose a serious threat which is why this problem needs to be nipped in the bud. HVAC and dehumidification systems can also help in decreasing temperature fluctuations, which minimizes the chances of mold formation.
Store Weed Properly
Even if you have succeeded in growing a fungus-free batch of weed, powdery mildew can contaminate the plant during the storage process. Never store your cannabis in any place that is exposed to direct sunlight or moisture to avoid untoward disasters. Store marijuana at optimal temperatures under 25 degrees Celsius in air-tight containers. You can use glass mason jars at home or buy such containers from a dispensary.
Keep your stash in a dark place devoid of any dampness. Avoid refrigerating your weed at all costs as the low temperature can lead to a build-up of moisture.
Use Bio Fungicides and Other Chemicals
If you want to resort to using more effective ways of ridding your plant of mildew, buy a pack of bio fungicides containing the active ingredient Reynoutria sachalinensis. This will eliminate any powdery mildew on the leaves of your crop.
However, air filters must be installed to ensure no air-borne spores can mar the foliage further. You can also try altering the leaf pH to kill mildew. Apply potassium bicarbonate to make the leaf surface more alkaline and sulfur to make it more acidic.
Final Thoughts on Powdery Mildew Vs Trichomes
Temperature control and dehumidification are the best tools to help you fight powdery mildew. If your cannabis is infected, you will be able to tell the difference after a quick inspection. Moldy weed will either look, smell or feel peculiar. Immunocompromised people should be more cautious than others before consuming weed.
Powdery mildew can aggravate their pre-existing health ailments and also lead to fungal infections or asthma in some severe cases. Toss any greens that do not seem right. Always remembers that trichomes will have a distinct appearance under the microscope, unlike mold, which will look webbed and dirty.