Pythium is a bully. It is a parasitic root fungus that attacks seeds and seedlings. They multiply at a rapid rate and release infecting microscopic spores, a viable threat to any growing situation. Pythium attack the weak, preferring plants which have already been affected by stress, disease, damage and nutrient deficiencies. Bullies always prey on the weak no matter where they appear on the food chain!
Hydroponic, container and soil based marijuana gardens are susceptible to Pythium attack. This particular fungus is omnipresent but is selective in its hosts. As is characteristic of most fungi, they spread and thrive in moist soil, high humidity and temperatures above 70 degrees. Pythium begins its warpath underground at the root level. It follows a water trail to the root system, germinating during its journey. Once it reaches the roots, it spreads through the tissue and produces resting spores. They, in turn germinate and the cycle of destruction begins.
Pythium damage begins at the roots of the cannabis and moves up through the entire plant. By the time you recognize its signature, the damage has already begun. The outward signs appear much as other fungal damage: yellowed foliage with brown leaf edges and a wilted appearance. An examination of the roots will give you a good idea as to the existence of Pythium. Download my free marijuana grow bible for more marijuana growing tips!
If Pythium has invaded your cannabis, the roots will be discolored, soft and watery. Eventually, the outer layer of the roots will fall off, exposing a stringy inner core. This, of course, will be more readily visible in hydroponic gardens. To check for root damage in soil based gardens or containers, dig under the soil and examine the roots for damage.
Ok, now you've seen the damage. What can be done to combat Pythium? Again, we return to prevention. Prevention is the key to avoiding all plant blight, just as it is the key in preventing illnesses to humans and pets. Plants are living beings. They need TLC in order to stay healthy.
Conscientiously maintaining a healthy growing environment will aid in deterring the appearance of this cannabis chomping fungus. By planting in well drained, nutrient rich soil, Pythium will not have a suitable medium in which to thrive. Don't over water or over fertilize your marijuana garden. By controlling fungus carrying pests, such as the fungus gnat, you're doing your garden a huge favor. Properly aged compost incorporated into the growing area gives all your plants a strong, healthy foundation. The good bacteria and other nutrients thriving in the amended soil will prevent the invasion of pests and many diseases. Allowing the top inch or so of soil to dry completely between waterings will keep the fungus gnat away. He got his name for good reason, so keeping him away from your marijuana crop will reduce the chances of Pythium sneaking in.
If you are using a hydroponic growing system, it is imperative you keep the environment and all equipment clean. Once Pythium infects a hydroponic operation, it spreads quickly through the water and cannot be stopped. It is recommended to add beneficial bacteria to your nutrient solution as a preventative method, rather than using peroxide to clean the system. Peroxide will rob your plants of the beneficial bacteria necessary for fighting infection.
If you chose to try commercial controls, read the label to ensure the product is effective on Pythium specifically. Root rot has many origins and causes. Not all root rot controls will kill Pythium so be sure the product you are considering is specific to this menace. Copper treatments; oil sprays containing clove, coriander and sesame oil are effective, as is Trichoderma, a beneficial fungus. For a great root rot preventer, check out the products at this link here
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