How to Use Crop Scouting to Identify Issues in a Cannabis Grow

How to use crop scouting to identify issues in a cannabis grow

Whether growing a small scale or a large commercial farm, the quality and consistency of your crops will depend on your ability to identify issues in a timely manner. That’s why crop scouting is an essential tool for any grower.

Scouting is a systematic monitoring system that is key to an effective integrated pest management plan. It can save cultivation facilities substantial cost and labor by detecting problems before they cause damage to crops.

Visual Symptoms

Crop scouting is an important tool for identifying issues that may be threatening the health and growth of your cannabis crop. These problems can be caused by a number of factors, including pests and disease. In addition, a scout can detect any signs of nutrient deficiencies or soil moisture issues that could result in plant injury and damage.

To use scouting effectively, it is important to have the proper equipment and a strong understanding of what you are looking for. You should also know the scouting rules, such as where to start and what to do after examining a sample.

First, scout the entire field, high tunnel or greenhouse to make a big picture assessment of what is happening there. Scouting should be done early and often – weekly is a good rule of thumb, but consult with production manuals or local experts for more specific advice.

Next, make a map of the area and inspect individual plants following a zig-zag, W or X pattern at predetermined locations throughout the area. Doing so will ensure that you are examining every single plant in your crop.

Once the overall evaluation is complete, you should select a sample of plants at random to examine more closely for any symptoms that may be indicative of pests or disease. If possible, take a closer look at the undersides of the leaves and stems, and try to find any insect or fungal symptom on the plants.

If you have a hand lens with you, you can look for fungus gnat and thrips larvae, immature whiteflies, and spider mites that might be hiding on the undersides of the leaves or in the stems. If you are scouting for disease, you can also look for lesions on the leaves or in the stems and roots of affected plants.

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For example, botrytis can attack all parts of a cannabis plant. It causes the leaves to become necrotic and dry out quickly. This is often followed by a change in the texture and color of the plant.

The mold can also affect the buds, turning them pale-grey and soft inside the cola or central flower cluster. This is a sign of grey mold, and it can be easily identified by cutting the bud open and examining it carefully.

Another way to identify grey mold is by smelling the buds. Some mold spores emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can smell like urine, sweat or other things.

Alternatively, you can use a low-powered microscope to inspect the bud under black light and see what the mold is doing. Some molds have filaments that resemble cobwebs around the buds, which can be difficult to spot under normal conditions.

Sense of Touch

The human touch sense is a complex collection of sensations that we experience through different types of receptors in the skin. It includes pressure, temperature, light touch, vibration and pain, and is a very important part of our lives.

Our touch sense is also very important in helping us regulate our bodies and emotions. Mothers use their hands to comfort babies and adults can often use hugs to relax after a long day at work.

It can help us recognize the difference between a cold and hot surface, or feel the texture of food we are eating. It can also make us aware of whether an object is smooth or rough, dull or sharp and if it’s wet or dry.

Some people are very sensitive to their touch, and it can make it difficult for them to do everyday tasks such as getting dressed or going to the hairdresser. It may also make them feel uncomfortable or even pained when they are touched, which can lead to a fight, flight, freeze response.

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A common way that cannabis growers use their sense of touch is to conduct crop scouting. Scouting is a great way for growers to identify pests and disease early so they can take action with precise countermeasures to keep their plants healthy and strong.

Before implementing a crop scouting program, it is important to understand what common pests and diseases are likely to be present in your grow. For example, aphids, caterpillars, fungus gnats, thrips and mites are some of the most common plant pests that can cause crop damage.

The best way to detect these issues is through scouting, which is where a trained staff can observe your crop and look for signs of pest or disease activity. A good scout will spend a predetermined amount of time in each area, evaluating each crop for color, height, uniformity and any other visual cues that can indicate trouble.

If you have a dedicated crew that takes the time to scout, this can be one of the most effective ways for you to reduce your growing costs and protect your plants from costly disease or pest problems. In addition to identifying any immediate problem areas, scouts can provide you with accurate information about potential future threats so that you can adjust your BCA and chemical control plans accordingly.

Abiotic Symptoms

Abiotic disorders in plants are the effects of environmental or cultural factors that impact plant health. These problems include soil, moisture, temperature, air pollutants, chemical toxicity, physical injuries and other noninfectious causes. They can also result from nutrient deficiencies, genetic traits and improper planting or maintenance practices.

Often abiotic diseases appear as generalized symptoms that are spread over the whole plant. Some common abiotic symptoms of poor plant health include reduced vigor, yellowing, leaf drop, and rapid death. They can mimic biotic disease symptoms and may be mistaken for the presence of an infectious agent.

Some abiotic disorders occur because of extreme differences in temperature, light and water/humidity. These conditions can scald the leaves of thin-barked trees or those newly transplanted, and result in death of the cambium, the growing cell layer just under the bark. They can cause uneven thawing of the water in the root system and can damage the plant’s immune response to stress.

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Other abiotic problems can develop in response to the presence of other harmful organisms, such as fungal or bacterial pathogens. Identifying which organisms are the main cause of the problem requires carefully studying the site, taking samples and sending them to a specialized plant disease clinic.

In addition to identifying the main culprits of abiotic diseases, crop scouting crews should look for hints that the plant is responding to environmental stresses. For example, if a plant’s roots are not getting the water they need, they will begin to die or suffer from stunted growth and development.

Scouting crews should keep records of the areas they visit and the pests they see, if there are any. These data points help growers understand how their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy is working and determine what additional products to use next season, McKenzie said.

Another important scouting task is to monitor natural predator populations. These populations help growers understand if their plant management practices are effective, as well as to track the success of biological control agents such as fungicides and insecticides.

The scouting crew should also note sightings of occasional pests that generally don’t cause significant damage versus key pests, if only so “you don’t worry yourself to death” concerned about a pest that ultimately won’t be a problem, McKenzie said.

In order to be successful, scouts must be motivated, meticulous and pay attention to detail. They must be knowledgeable about the crops they scout, the pests and diseases that are commonly found in those environments, and have an understanding of how to organize their records. If a scout or scouting team doesn’t have these qualities, they will likely struggle to achieve the desired results and may end up wasting valuable time and money.

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