If you know anything about growing marijuana plants, then you should know that dense, heavy, sticky buds are the ultimate goal. Unfortunately airy and loose buds will affect some growers, find out how to avoid it. buds that are light and airy are hard to miss — they look significantly different from dense, heavy buds. They won’t appear as firm as healthy buds, and they won’t have as much THC (although this is less obvious from simply looking at the buds). It’s most likely caused by improper care during the flowering phase of your plant’s life, and especially in marijuana strains that are known for reaching the flowering stage early on in the growing season.
The key to not having airy buds is to keep them from developing to begin with. There are a variety of methods for avoiding the problem, but we have identified several specific ones that you need to pay attention to:
Genetics will go a long way for every aspect of your marijuana plants, and the bud health is no exception. The look, the taste, and the smell of the buds will all be a direct result of the strain you chose to grow. That’s why you should dedicate adequate time and research to picking out the best strain for you.
There is even a large amount of variation within one strain, so you are going to need to verify where exactly the strain is coming from and what those particular plants are known for. Don’t choose a strain or breeder that haven’t been recommended. There are plenty of online resources for identifying such things.
When it comes to lighting, it’s important to consider both aspects that come into play: type and quantity. Creating the perfect setup is especially difficult for new growers, and they will often find their lights to be the wrong type or the wrong amount. Often the lights are too intense, too weak, or simply too far away or close to the plants, causing the environment to be less than ideal. Airy buds are one of the possible effects from botched setups.
When setting up your indoor lights, remember to utilize the tools necessary to focus all the light on your plants. This is done through clever positioning as well as the use of reflective materials. When your plants are flowering this is especially important — buds in the shade are not going to be dense.
The climate includes the temperature of the room, the ventilation involved, and the humidity level. All of these aspects play important roles in the health and success of your plants’ buds. For most marijuana strains, a consistent temperature of between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is optimum for growing healthy buds, but make sure to do your research on the strain first to be absolutely sure.
If the temperature is too warm, use a micro-sprayer to cool things off. Ventilation will also help with this, as well as with preventing any rotting of the buds. Buds that don’t receive enough ventilation are going to turn out airy — sometimes growers will go so far as to remove leaves that are in the way of their buds, therefore blocking the airflow. Proceed with caution.
The flowering stage of marijuana plants requires a humidity of right around 45%. This, coupled with good ventilation, will prevent mold and will create a better overall product in terms of smell and potency.
Buds need proper nutrients to fatten up and grow, and they also need a balance pH level to adequately absorb these nutrients. The three primary nutrients are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus (N-P-K), and they are required in different quantities than what was ideal during your marijuana plants’ vegetation phase of life. It is generally best to avoid overfeeding your plant nitrogen, as it will need more phosphorus and potassium to thrive during the flowering period.
Remember, the nutrient mix should be switched once the flowering phase rolls around. When you do this, you need to be prepared to treat your plants slightly differently than before, but not with any less care and concern. Plants during their flowering phase love Dyna-Gro “Bloom” and products like it.
As far as supplements go, they should be included sparingly. Sometimes supplements designed specifically for increasing a plant’s yield can be useful. These supplements generally contain sugar and amino acid, as well as other substances. Otherwise, blackstrap molasses might help with your plants’ bud growth.
The harvest itself is critical to your bud’s health — or, more precisely, the timing of the harvest is. If you harvest your crop too early, you have forfeited more growing time for your buds and, therefore, a bigger, denser product. The quality of your harvest is entirely dependent upon the bud development, and without time, they simply cannot develop completely.
Drying and curing
One aspect of achieving high-quality buds is often forgotten: drying and curing the buds. This can actually increase the bud density, not to mention the smell and taste. It is crucial that you know what you are doing during this process. If you mess up here, there isn’t anything else you can do about it, and you will have wasted an entire growing season.
It’s important to note that buds can sometimes get to be too dense. After a certain point, higher density only means lower quality. You need to decide whether quality or quantity is more important to you. Also, drying and curing extremely dense buds is trickier without them molding or starting to rot, so new growers especially might struggle with buds that are so big and heavy.
[Updated, originally published 20.10. 2017]