Marijuana cultivation is not easy. The grower needs to have basic information at least about biology, a little bit of horticulture or agriculture, and a little bit of engineering in maintaining your growing space. Problems could arise anytime and we know things that could go wrong will go wrong and so you have to be ready and you have to act fast.
Knowledge is more important than anything else in cannabis cultivation. Whenever something shows up in your crops, you need to investigate what is going on and act accordingly. Google is not always helpful and friends may not be always available to call. Some problems should be solved as soon as they show up such as plant diseases when a moment of hesitation could naturally mean disaster to your crops.
One such situation is foxtailing but before we answer whether it is good or bad for auto-flowering or regular cannabis, we have to understand basic things first.
WHAT ARE FOXTAILS
A little plant anatomy first. The precious bud that we all know about and love is the one that is being harvested. This bud comes from unfertilized flowers. Buds are made up calyces and each calyx has the potential to become a seed once pollinated. Oftentimes, they are stacked close to one another but eventually grow evenly but sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes they just stack up on top of the other forming spires and are often symmetrical in shape and looking like foxtails, hence the name. Foxtailing happens as a result of the genetics of the plant or being subjected to stress brought about by light or heat.
ARE FOXTAILS GOOD OR BAD?
Genetic foxtailing happens to cannabis varieties that are prone to forming foxtails and there is nothing wrong with it. The fact that it’s genetic means that there is nothing we could do with it and the plant is naturally doing it without any adverse effect to it.
Genetic foxtailing, fortunately, does not affect the potency of your buds. One such strain that exhibits genetic foxtailing is called, Dr. Grinspoon which is naturally high in THC. This is a good type of foxtailing.
Environmental foxtailing, on the other hand, is brought about by the plant undergoing stress and it is reacting by foxtailing. High powered LED lights are too bright and too hot when put in close proximity to a marijuana plant for too long that it causes foxtailing. These buds that are foxtailing may look bleached compared to the others. Leaves may even be affected too.
Environmental foxtailing is bad whether you are using auto-flower seeds of regular seeds. It is bad because the bleaching of the buds or burning in the leaves is a sign of heat stress which negatively affects potency. Fortunately, this is often the result of local stress or a kind of stress that affects a particular plant only, the one that is nearest to the light except when the light is too strong that it affects the nearby plants too.
Since bad foxtailing is environmental, there are ways to avoid it or mitigate its effect once it happens. Avoidance is done by simply keeping enough distance between the lights and the plants and often taking heat measurements. Mitigation is done simply by taking the light farther away from your plants. You do not need to remove the foxtailing buds and you don’t need to fear that it may transfer to the other plants as this is not a disease and is therefore non-contagious. So, bad foxtailing is not really as bad as mold, plant diseases, and pests.
GOOD SIDE OF BAD FOXTAILING
This is a bit weird to hear but environmental or bad foxtailing may not be too bad at all. We have mentioned that this is not a disease and is not contagious and will not kill your plant. This is a natural reaction of a healthy marijuana plant to excessive heat and light that is put too near for far too long.
So what makes bad foxtailing good? Some marijuana growers claim that foxtailing may even increase your yields. How? Because due to foxtailing, you are having more buds per square inch of space in the nodes of your plant since foxtails are growing upwards instead of sideways.
THE BAD SIDE OF FOXTAILING
We have mentioned the bad side and the good side of environmental foxtailing and that genetic foxtailing is generally good. However, both foxtailing, when gotten out of hand may get too long and too big that they affect light distribution by blocking some of it into reaching some parts of the plants. This will affect the overall growth of your plants and their ability to mature, thus affecting your yield negatively.
It is important to have proper industry know-how in marijuana cultivation in order to decide properly and promptly when issues happen. Such is the case of foxtailing in marijuana plants where there are two kinds of it and you have to react to it differently depending on the type of foxtailing.
Genetic foxtailing causes the buds to stack up naturally and you have nothing to do when you see it if you know that the marijuana plant in question is genetically prone to foxtailing.
Environmental foxtailing, on the other hand, once identified requires immediate action on your part to mitigate damage.