As more states move to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, dispensaries are becoming more and more prevalent to meet demand. As the business of growing marijuana for medical use grows, serious consideration must be given to methods of improving crop yield, automation, and decreasing the cost of growing. One of the most preventable causes of lost profit in a hydroponic dispensary is a type of fungus known as powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a very common fungus, and is well known to many farmers and gardeners. It poses a particular problem to growers of marijuana, however.
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The fungus thrives in an environment marked by high humidity and mid range temperatures. Unfortunately, this makes marijuana plants extremely susceptible to powdery mildew, as these are also the conditions under which cannabis grows best. Plants that are infected with powdery mildew will begin to display white patches that will eventually spread to cover the plant if not treated. As the fungus continues to reproduce, the mildew will eventually cover the plant, killing it in the process.
Needless to say, a fungus of this variety can cause a great deal of damage in terms of the crop yield and profitability of a medical dispensary. Certain types of commercial fungicide exist that can kill of the mildew before it progresses too far. Unfortunately, these chemicals may only be applied during certain stages of the life cycle of marijuana plants without negatively affecting their health. In the conducive environment that a hydroponic dispensary provides, one plant that becomes infected with powdery mildew will quickly allow it to spread to others, increasing the overall business expense of making use of these fungicides. In either event, the bottom line profit is cut into by the presence of this fungus.
One option for medical marijuana dispensaries that wish to avoid problems with mildew is the installation of commercial grade air purification systems. Large capacity air purifiers that employ one of more carbon filters can remove mold and mildew spores from the air before they have a chance to grow on plants, reducing the likelihood of an infection spreading to the crop. This also creates a more healthful work environment for dispensary employees, who might otherwise be exposed to the mold spores. Many commercial air purifiers are also equipped with ultraviolet lights, which can neutralize mold spores in the air and further prevent mildew infestations.
As in all branches of agriculture, the marijuana growing business will likely move toward greater sophistication and productivity as time goes on. In many other crop plants, selective hybridization and special preventative chemicals have largely been able to eliminate crop losses due to mildew. However, hydroponic dispensaries face their own unique set of problems, as they create ideal growing conditions for powdery mildew. Until further advances allow plants to be developed that are more resistant to this fungus, profit loss due to mildew in medical marijuana dispensaries will be a reality of the business, and one that producers need to be mindful of.