Tips to increase yield and shorten the time to harvest are plentiful, but what about advice for producing flawless cannabis buds? Growers who focus their energy on cultivating denser, more potent buds will be the growers who survive the inevitable shakeout in a crowded market. Nutrition, temperature and humidity, lighting, and ventilation all play a role in a successful harvest, but paying special attention to nutrition can set cultivators apart.
Cannabis cannot set good buds without proper nutrients during the vegetative stage and first few weeks of flowering. Vegetative plants need a large amount of growth-fostering nitrogen and potassium paired with a lesser amount of phosphorus.
During the flowering stage, use nutrients that are specifically formulated for budding. Lower nitrogen levels and increase potassium and phosphorus to foster bud development. Focus on cannabis-specific nutrients and avoid timed-release products, as they tend to deliver excessive nitrogen during the crucial flowering stage.
Growth of new stems and leaves slows significantly in the final six weeks of flowering, so less nutrition is needed. It’s especially important to scale back, again, the amount of nitrogen plants receive until harvest. Not only can excess nitrogen prevent buds from reaching full growth potential but, at this stage, nitrogen also can give buds an unpleasant chemical flavor and aroma.
Providing exact nutrients is easier with an automated fertigation system. Growers can optimize yields by automating nutrient ratios at different stages of growth from clone to late flower, eliminating the tediousness of hand-measuring and minimizing risk of disease.
Regardless the administration method, using strain-specific nutrients and maintaining clean irrigation and feeding systems promotes healthy plants that produce buds of which you—and your bottom line—can be proud.
This story first appeared in mg’s Soil & Nutrients special supplement.
Will Kacheris is a cannabis specialist for GrowSpan Greenhouse Structures, a division of Growers Supply. The company provides products and consultation to help cultivators at all experience levels improve their crops and their bottom lines.