March 13, 2017

How to Identify Marijuana Leaf Issues and Their Common Causes

March 13, 2017
marijuana leaf issues

Growing marijuana can be a difficult task that takes patience, practice, and consistency, but, needless to say, the results are well worth it. When your pot plants start to take a turn for the worse, the easiest and most obvious way to notice changes in the leaves. Several indicators in your weed leaves can clue you in that something is going amiss. But fear not—this can be remedied.  A few simple solutions can help guarantee that your Lemon Kush or Green Crack will grow up to be healthy, fruitful, and dank.

There are several easily identifiable problems that can occur in marijuana leaves that you should be on the lookout for. After much research, we’ve compiled resources from cannabis cultivation experts. Whether it’s recreational or medical weed you’re growing, we hope these tips will promote your activism and enthusiasm for growing! 

Common Problems in Marijuana Leaves — Why Are My Leaves Turning Brown or Yellow?

The leaves are the plant part furthest away from the vital root system needed for keeping your plant alive, so when your plant goes into survival mode they’re the first to go. The first big telltale sign of trouble is discoloration of the leaves. This can range from yellow to orange color and even brown or gray color instead of the expected green hues. The discoloration is a tell-tale sign there is an issue with your plant’s nutrient system or the soil.

Another common problem that can manifest in the leaves is evident when your leaves start to curl. This is almost always accompanied by discoloration as well. The leaves can curl either under themselves or over themselves; either way, it’s a bad sign. Unfortunately, there’s no way to save the leaves once they’ve started to die. It may help to think of them as pawns in a game of chess between your plant and whatever’s hurting it. Those pieces may have been lost in battle, but your weed plant can still come out on top!

Common Solutions to Pot Plant problems  — How do You Heal Sick Plants?

Barring something outlandish, there are three main possibilities of what’s ailing your plant, and it helps to learn what those could be. The first is a pH imbalance. This has to do with improper levels of acid in your soil. We’ll talk about pH a little more later, however, maintaining a balance here is essential in keeping your cannabis growth steady and healthy.

The second most likely issue with your plants is improper watering methods. It’s fairly well-known that underwatering your plants can cause them to die of thirst, but overwatering your plants can drown them just as quickly. It’s important to make sure your plants are getting as much water as they need, no more, no less. 

The last common issue is a nutrient deficiency in your plants, meaning that they’re not getting all the essential minerals that they need from the water and soil that they’re receiving. This can be caused by several factors we’ll address.

These three issues make up a majority of the difficulties most fledgling growers will face when dealing with their marijuana plants. Luckily most of them can be solved if you act quickly!

How Does pH Balance Affect My Plant’s Leaves?

Before understanding what pH imbalance can do to your plants, it’s best to know what exactly it is in the first place. pH is a measurement of either alkaline or acidic nature of your soil. The term ‘alkaline’ is often referred to as ‘basic,’ and you may be more familiar with hearing it that way. Either way, pH is a scale that goes from 0 to 14 that measures how acidic or basic your soil is, 0 being extremely acidic and 14 being extremely basic. 

A pH of around 6 or 7 is considered neutral and generally a good place to keep your plants for ideal growing conditions (with the exception of hydroponically grown plants, which prefer a 5.5-6.5, slightly more acidic). 

That being said, your pH level does not always need to be a perfect seven; in fact, a little bit of fluctuation can actually make your plants sturdier. Think of it like exercising your plants, a pH fluctuation can make your plants adapt to absorbing nutrients in different kinds of soil, making it easier for them to do so in unideal conditions in the long run. 

It should also be noted that certain types of cannabis stain like to grow in other types of pH levels, so it’s crucial you check the seed packet for optimum pH levels. 

The real issue when it comes to pH balance is keeping it within a reasonable range so that your plant is able to absorb all of the nutrients it’s receiving in the first place. A pH too high or too low can bar the plant from absorbing what it needs from the soil and can lead to some of those leaf issues that we discussed earlier. Knowing this, you should measure the pH of your soil often to ensure that it is within proper levels. 

If your soil’s pH is just not where it should be, there are a few key steps you can take to make adjustments. Firstly, you should be measuring the pH of the mixture of water and nutrients you give to your plant. If it is too acidic, you can whisk the water to work oxygen into the mixture, which will raise your water’s pH. If it is too alkaline, or basic, then adding a little splash of vinegar can help get it where it needs to be. If you’re having trouble with either of these methods, you can also use a pH up/down kit to control the pH of your water. 

To test your soil’s pH levels, it’s best to flush the soil with water and measure the pH of the water that comes out of the bottom of your plant. This will give the best indication of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil at the roots where it’s most important to strike a balance. 

To flush your soil make sure that your water is pH balanced and then water your plant with 3 times as much water as you would usually give it. Check the pH of the water that comes out of the bottom of your plant, if it’s neutral, then you’re good to go! Some pot plant growers flush their plants regularly to ensure the quality of their soil. 

Overwatering and Underwatering Cannabis Plants

The second most common cause of cannabis plant problems is either overwatering or underwatering your plants. This is a good thing to check for if you are certain that a pH problem is not the issue, as it is the most common difficulty in raising cannabis plants. Also, take this time to consider what you’re growing your plants in. Certain mediums such as coco coir can cause drainage problems and make it more difficult for water to be expelled from the root system. 

A good start for watering your plants is to see ⅕ of the water you used to feed your plant come out of the bottom of your planter. This ensures that your plants are able to drain water properly and that water getting caught in your soil is not a problem. Once ⅕ of the water has drained make sure the top inch of soil is dry before attempting to water again. If you’re getting these conditions when watering your plants you should be in the clear. 

Dry soil and poor leaf health is a good way to know that your plants are being underwatered, but overwatering is a little different. Overwatering often leads to root rot, thanks to stagnant water sitting in your plant’s soil. If all else is well with your watering procedure your troubles may be caused by root rot, in this case, use Aquashield, Great White, or Subculture B as plant medicine to help your cannabis plant fight back. 

It is worth noting that hydroponically grown plants do not have the same issues, here. The most common watering issue in hydroponic plants is a lack of oxygen in the water, which is essentially drowning your plant the same way that overwatering would. In this case, an air stone added to your setup will most likely solve any problems. 

How do You Identify Nutrient Deficiency in Plants?

If you’ve ruled out pH imbalance and a watering issue as the cause of the problems with your cannabis plant, you may be facing a nutrient deficiency or toxicity problem. These are not quite so easy to address. Each individual nutrient your plant receives has its own associated problems and difficulties and it becomes a matter of doing research into not only the nutrients that you are intentionally giving your plant but also what’s in the soil and even the water you’re giving it. 

Nutrient problems take a fair amount of research and trial to solve, but once you find what your problem is, fixing it should be a snap. 

Final Thoughts on Common Cannabis Leaf Problems and Deficiencies

Although raising cannabis plants can present challenges, they’re no reason to give up. In this article we’ve provided you some simple tools to keep you growing to the best of your ability, we hope they serve you well!

Additional Reading on Cannabis Cultivation

The Weed Blog: from reviews of certain top strains of cannabis to the latest online news regarding the legalization of marijuana. We are committed to relaying valuable information to you and recommend you consider these other top tier articles regarding cannabis in Missouri!

What Beginners Should Consider When Starting A Marijuana Grow

What Is The Best PH Level For Marijuana Plants?

Growing Your Own Marijuana Is Very Rewarding, Which Is Why More And More People Are Doing It


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