Cannabis is a strong plant capable of surviving extreme conditions. However, this doesn’t mean large, dense yields are guaranteed without the constant care of the cultivator. Ensuring the correct conditions for optimal growth are maintained should be the main priority for any grower, especially if they want dense bud. Producing dense, resin covered buds is every cannabis grower’s dream. The most common reason buds don’t develop as densely as they could is the plant didn’t get enough light in the flowering stage. Although cannabis can survive in relatively low light levels, it won’t produce much bud.
Most Common Reasons for Airy Marijuana Buds
The main causes of an underwhelming crop are bad lighting, poor nutrition, or extreme temperatures. Letting just one of these factors get out of control – especially towards the end of a plant’s life cycle – can drastically impact the quality of the bud. We are going to take a look at each in turn, and see how they can be controlled to produce the best yields possible. Some strains will only produce airy buds no matter what you do. For example Sativa plants often grow buds that are less dense, while Indica buds tend to grow more compact.
How to Grow Dense Cannabis Buds
Start with the right strain to grow buds the way you want. Some strains won’t grow tight, dense buds no matter what you do. Indica-leaning strains tend to have more dense buds, but it’s a good idea to always research a strain before growing it.
- Light Intensity
Maintaining an optimal light intensity is crucial. The more light buds get, the bigger they grow. Never let lights be too close or too far from the top of your plants – to close and plants risk being burnt by the heat, to far away and the light will not be strong enough. Ideally, lights need to be positioned so the whole canopy of the crop receives light, but close enough that they can benefit from increased intensity without burning. A good test is to place your hand at the top of your plants. If the heat produced by the lights are uncomfortable for you, they are uncomfortable for your plants.
- Light colour
Cannabis is able to use certain light frequencies more effectively than others at certain stages of its life. Check out your flowering bulbs colour emission; most manufacturers put the details on the box of the bulb. During the flowering stage, cannabis utilises the red frequencies of the light spectrum most efficiently, so using a bulb with a high output (660nm is ideal) during flowering will help boost the amount and density of bud. However, it is important to note that cannabis uses the entire spectrum to some degree, so bulbs should be full spectrum with the red enhanced, not simply red. We have written an article outlining all you need to know about the light spectrum and cannabis, should you wish to find out more.
- The Correct Temperature For Cannabis
It is important that temperature stays within the right range. Average and peak temperatures should never be too low at night and, most of all, never go above 30°C during the hours of light. Ideal is between 18°C and 26°C. Temperatures that are too hot stunt flowering and can seriously damage buds. In outdoor cultivation, high temperatures can be an issue if flowering has been forced early in the season. Screening and water spraying the plants helps them bearing July and August high temperatures.
Closely tied in with temperature, it is important that humidity also remains within acceptable bounds. Never surpass 60% in the flowering phase and try progressively reducing it down do 45% in the last 2-3 weeks before harvest. The plant will go into overdrive as it seeks to protect its flowers, responding by producing denser buds and more resin on them. Lower humidity will also help avoid mould formation.
- Feeding Cannabis
Each strain has different feed requirements, so getting to know just how much feed a plant needs, and when to change amounts, comes with time and experience. However, generally, cannabis requires higher levels of nitrogen during the vegetative stage to push growth to the max, followed by higher levels of potassium during the flowering phase to fuel bud production. It is always a good idea to keep an eye on the pH of your growing medium, as it can affect nutrient uptake.
Roots need oxygen as well as water. Excessive watering fills all the small air pockets in the soil, eliminating any trace of oxygen for hours or maybe days. This tragically damages your plants. They will start showing droopy and curling leaves, and buds quality will be compromised if the problem is not solved. Be careful when watering and be sure your pots perfectly drain out excess water. Always choose a light soil mix and add some extra perlite. Underwatering damages plants too, but that’s a less common, and much easier to fix, mistake.
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- If growing in a container, its size will influence root expansion and, as a natural consequence, a plant’s growth and bud development – ensure cannabis always has as much room as it needs to spread out its root base.
- Organic supplements like the bloom boosters can increase bud weigh by pumping sugars, amino acids, trace minerals, phosphorous and potassium in the plant. This can be a nice aid to already healthy growth.
- Cannabis genetics can influence bud density, and sativa-dominant strains naturally have less dense than indicas. Regardless of the strain, a proper, slow drying and curing is mandatory for good product’s quality. The last common mistake we are here reviewing is the early harvest. During the last weeks and days, plants produce a lot of trichomes and resin – so be sure to let them finish their job.
- Harvesting too early will prevent your buds from finishing up. They gain a lot of weight and density during the last few weeks before harvest, and you’re hindering all your hard work by not waiting just a little longer.
[Updated, originally published 14.4. 2017]