Fading is an art to be sure, kind of a skill (for sure a skill if your plants are bottle fed), however, you can just leave it to the plant. When it comes to fading your cannabis, nobody does it better than Mother Nature—so let her handle it baybee!
In the photo above, those plants are at 5 weeks on the nose. If I recall—LoL—the Skyanchor (f1 hybrid) is about 8 or 9 weeks, maybe 65 days. They started fading at about 3.5 weeks into flowering. That’s a tad earlier than I normally see the fade begin. This is due to my underestimation of the high-power of the new LED lights I am running (420h by NextLight), and so, I left them in 3-gallon containers to flower in. No huge biggie, I am not worried. A small hit to yields is all I’ll take; maybe 10-15%. If I were smarter, I would have used 4- or 5-gallon containers due to this new uber-powerful lighting. “D’Oh!”
I’ll simply employ a little bit of Micropond x alfalfa meal, and I will top-dress them with a little bat and chicken guano (see photos above). Very small amounts of each. The correct way to top dress most efficiently is to do so immediately AFTER watering. This allows the stuffs to begin fast-decomp in a highly aerated environment getting plenty of moisture from the wet mulch it sits upon/on-top of. I do it every watering for a couple or a few times watering in a row. Using very small amounts each time.
Fading Your Cannabis Tip #1
Don’t Panic! Here’s my number one tip above all, and I have made this mistake myself many times in the past. I continue to see (or read about) it in other’s gardens fairly often; to this day. Thinking your plants are starting to fade too early, or too quickly, is a common source of growers’ anxiety. Knee jerk reactions come next; and they are rarely good reactions, and often result in very sub-par harvests.
In last week’s article – Letters to Rev – Indoor Cannabis Breeding Questions – here at SKUNK, one question was about genetics and fading. This should be noted, that the tendency to, and speed at which any plant will fade, will be relative to certain abilities (genetically) the plant is more or less efficient at. Also, the amount of “food” the plant has access to in the soil and from the water will be a factor. Environment of course, plays a big roll. Hotter/dryer grows run plants at higher metabolisms. Growth rates are high, but so is nutrient and water consumption.
Quite a few “balls to be juggling” if you’re not a seasoned grower with decades of experience. Here’s the good news: If you are using living soil, and not using bottled organic nutrients, or changing things up on your plants as far as water and environment, the plants will judge their own needs to make it to the end. Notice in the photo above how the core of the flower and the immediate zone around it are kept juicy and fine. As long as your plants are fading slowly, looking like this, you’re all good—no panic needed!
Fading Your Cannabis Tip # 2
PPM! This is a biggie! You can initiate, and control the speed of the fade using PPM levels in your cannabis water. Fading your cannabis has never been easier than this. If everything is consistent, like your water regarding PPM values, and you don’t goose your plants with liquid nutrients, even in teas, you’re golden. Even if you do occasionally goose them this methodology still works fairly well.
As an example, here’s what I do. I run my plants on water that is about 64 PPM, give or take a couple PPM, always. As a rule of thumb, for their last two (or three) weeks—before harvest—I make sure to lower the PPM value of the water they get; to down around 50 PPM. This shifts them into a new “mode” where they start using their stored nutrients faster to make up for the nutrient loss (in PPM value). Boom! Just cut your normal water with distilled water or other low PPM water sources to reach your desired PPM goal for the last two weeks. Or, lower additions to your customized water. If that’s how you roll 😉
Fading Your Cannabis Tip #3
Temperatures/Humidity/Light Distance! All of these in combo, and individually, matter a great deal when it comes to fading your cannabis plants baybee. If you find yourself in a situation like I have with my new powerful lighting, you could top-dress etc. but, a much safer and easier move would be to control the environment. Humidity running above 40% during lights-on, temps 3 or 4 degrees lower on a daily basis, and increasing your light distance 6 inches or so, can all really help to slow the fade down. This should be your 1st knee-jerk reaction to the situation.
It’s usually fine and dandy if the plants are fading and even cannibalizing themselves starting around halfway through flowering. Keep an eye on the speed/progression of the fade. It should hit larger leaves first, usually bottom to middle of the plant. This is actually part of the fade I love to leverage. Having the plant cannabilize herself a little early on opens up pathways for more light, deeper into the canopy. This makes better secondary growth harvests (better yields per plant) I like to see this starting just about 4-weeks before harvest.
In my case I know what my actual issue is, and it’s straight-up they are running out of food a bit early due to the higher metabolism (I’ll say) caused by the new lighting. I have already raised my lights up, brought up my humidity a tad, and increased my air extraction. It helped, but in my case, I need a little more oomph.
Fading Your Cannabis Tip #4
Watering Habits! Drought stress, when your plants go kind-of-limp, from lack of watering, isn’t normally a big deal unless it goes too far—too dry for too long. However, during the second half of flowering you want to really watch this. If you have drought stressed your plants a couple times in the same 10-day period, they can go into a sort of “burst mode” where they begin burning through their stored nutrients rather quickly. They are “panic” stricken, and this can also cause hermaphrodites at this stage. So, stay on your watering skills hard during the last half of flowering. This is pertinent to container growers.
Just like the story of: The 3 Bears. You want to water “just right” and not too little, or too much. Overwatering can cause issues too. However, as long as you have well designed growing containers overwatering problems (potentially) should be minimal.
For the synopsis of fading your cannabis plants, I want to really stress on the don’t panic facet. That’s the one that will bone your harvest most likely, if you try and “fix” your perceived issue. In my case I have an actual small issue with my flowering plants way-outgrowing my projections, and getting a bit too big for their containers. The new 420h LED I’m using causes plants to run at very high metabolism rates—yeah buddy. I am amending a bit from the top and bottom as I said above, and I’m pretty sure (99%) everything will work out fine.
Just remember, if your plants are on a consistent diet of just good water during flowering, they will usually time themselves out when it comes to fading. They have been doing this for millions of years at least. They are well aware of their available and stored resources, and will fade accordingly to make it to their delicious end. Have a little faith baybee… have a little faith. No fear based “fixing” with liquid nutrients, for sure!
Well, my esteemed homeskillets, that’s just about it for today. I hope you liked the read. Make sure and see the (2) updates below. I’ll be back again next Tuesday with another article here at SKUNK. Go pay a visit to Kingdom Organic Seeds – True Living Organically Grown, and get you some killer genes baybee—L8r G8rs.
- REv 😊
TWO IMPORTANT UPDATES
Bottled Spring Water (Arrowhead): I have been bugged by what I learned from Chunky NY recently regarding Arrowhead bottled spring water being around 200 PPM on a TDS meter. Yikes, I always thought it was around 55-65 PPM from TDS meter readings like 15 years ago. But checking my own bottle of Arrowhead it was indeed 210 PPM. WTF?
But wait, there’s more… In the photo above, the Arrowhead bottle on the right tested at 210 PPM. However, the Arrowhead bottle on the left tested at 63 PPM. The pH on both is just about neutral (7.0) but that’s weird, no? So, check your bottled spring water PPM before use. 200 PPM spring water needs to be diluted down with distilled (or R/O) water to around 55-65 PPM before use.
Langbeinite Water Ratios: Okay, if you guys are using this TLO designer water customization here’s the 2021 ratios I would recommend.
- ½ Oz. per 5-gallons of water with good diverse potassium (K) soil amendments.
- 1 Oz. per 5-gallons of water with weaker K soil amendments.
A little bit goes a long way with this stuff. Since I have recycled soil with greensand, plenty of kelp, alfalfa, and other K sources, I use ½ Oz. of Langbeinite water, per 5-gallons of groundwater, before I do anything else regarding my water customization. As with my TLO dolomite lime water, these kinds of additions can be slippery slopes. Overdosing will build up over time in your soil causing problems, this can take 30 days+ to start having bad effects. Just keep a good reign on your additions and you’ll be fine. None is fine with good K input from soil mix.
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.