Foxtailing in cannabis refers to the appearance of thin, elongated calyxes that stack on top of each other, resembling a fox’s tail. While some breeders have intentionally stabilized this trait for aesthetic purposes, it is generally considered a sign of decreased yield potential in other weed strains.
To maximize yield, outdoor growers, both amateur, and commercial, aim for large, dense blooms with high levels of THC. Understanding the causes of foxtailing, as well as how to detect, prevent, and manage it, is important for achieving this goal.
What Is Foxtailing In Cannabis Plants?
Foxtailing in cannabis plants is an undesired and unusual growth pattern that results in buds resembling a fox’s tail. It occurs when a small number of calyxs stacked on top of each other, forming thin and long structures amid the typical chunky buds.
This often happens during the flowering period when plants experience fluctuations in temperatures or humidity levels. Because foxtailing limits bud development and yields, it can have devastating effects on the production of quality cannabis flowers.
Therefore, growers should work hard to prevent foxtailing from occurring while their crops are growing. They should make sure to provide optimal conditions – such as a consistent temperature and stable humidity levels – so that their foxtail cannabis buds can develop properly.
Furthermore, they should also look out for warning signs like unusually long stems or unusually spaced nodes along branches which may be indicative of impending foxtail formation. Taking these steps will ensure that growers get quality results at the end of their cultivation journey.
What Does Foxtail Weed Look Like?
Foxtail weed is an uncommon but eye-catching variety of marijuana that often takes on a strange shape reminiscent of its namesake. It is usually found in heirloom sativa strains that were once prevalent but are rarely seen nowadays.
These buds often have unusually high resinous quality as well as surprising potency, making them ideal for recreational or medical use. Many cannabis seed companies search for and archive these unique genetics in order to accommodate the needs of devoted users.
Is Foxtailing In Cannabis Plants Bad?
Foxtailing in cannabis plants is a phenomenon that occurs when the cannabis blooms have an irregular, fox-tail shape. The buds will be quite tall and thin, almost resembling a pointy tail. This can be caused by many factors including genetics, incorrect light cycles during flowering, high room temperature or most commonly over fertilization with nitrogen-based nutrients.
Bad foxtailing can be a disappointing sight for growers who have worked hard to cultivate their plants only to end up with oddly shaped ‘buds’.
In some cases, foxtailing may not actually be damaging to your plant or harvest. The potency of these ‘buds’ may still be normal and they may even yield just as much as normal buds do although they look different.
Furthermore, this strange appearance could make your crop stand out from other harvests and could even attract attention at farmers markets or among friends. Ultimately though, foxtailing should generally be avoided if possible in order to produce uniform and aesthetically pleasing buds.
What Causes Cannabis Buds To Foxtail?
Foxtailing in cannabis is sometimes referred to as a second internode bloom and may occur as the plant approaches harvest and produces a few additional buds. If the weed foxtails form on already substantial blooms in the late flowering phase, the impact on yield may be minimal. In this case, it is important to ensure that the grow room conditions are optimal and to allow the plants to reach maturity.
However, if the grow space environment deviates from optimal conditions, it can cause stress in the plants, leading to foxtailing. In such cases, prompt intervention can help mitigate yield losses and restore normal growth.
Foxtailing is a highly sought-after trait among some cannabis growers, as it adds complexity and variation to the end result of their harvest. Foxtailing occurs naturally in some strains, meaning that they were not artificially bred or modified and instead were genetically predetermined to produce weed foxtails.
The presence of cannabis foxtails on these plants should be taken as a sign that your marijuana plant is in good genetic health, these are simply inherited traits due to the strain’s genetics and nothing to worry about when it happens.
With proper environmental conditions and regular pruning, the growth of secondary branches during vegetative stage can be minimized which will help reduce any unwanted foxtails in the flowering stage. Nevertheless, if any occur during harvest time do not be discouraged – many growers actually look for this trait in their strains. Enjoy the beauty of natural variations!
Heat stress is a major downfall that can occur when growing cannabis, particularly when temperatures exceed that which the marijuana plant is comfortable with. When the lights-on temperatures reach and surpass 22-25ºC (around 72ºF – 77ºF), cannabis fox tailing may appear on the plants.
The result of this is an increased number of fox tails and shorter internodal distances in the buds of affected plants, leading to a less aesthetically pleasing bud structure than unafflicted flowerings.
Under such high temperatures, the affected flowering sites will not grow any more shoots or floral structures as they are already at their peak growth rate. Therefore, growers should ensure that their environment remains at a moderate temperature as consistently as possible in order to minimize any potential damage and maximize productivity.
Cannabis fox tails can be a sign of light stress. When growers push their plants further than the optimal amount of light for best results in bloom, this can create an overload and induce the formation of fox tails. As with many types of stress problems, experienced or novice growers alike may not realize when their lighting output is too high until it is too late and signs like yellowing leaves begin to appear.
If a particular strain happens to be predisposed to light stress and is pushed past its optical sweet spot in regards to intensity, cannabis foxtailing may result. To help monitor light intensity, growers can use light meters to determine light hanging heights and map out the perfect bulbs needed for ultimate production.
This is especially true when utilizing powerful LED grow lights due to their intense output levels. By measuring light source intensities in a grow room, growers are better equipped to combat any issues that might arise from overloading their crops with too much energy- particularly that which could lead to overly stressed plants.
How To Fix Foxtailing Cannabis Buds
Growing cannabis can be a tricky endeavor, and one of the most common issues is when buds become foxtailed. Foxtailing occurs when the tips of your buds grow outwards, in an oddly shaped form resembling a fox’s tail. Although there are some cannabis strains that have always been known for this trait, often times it is a sign that something has gone wrong with the growing conditions.
Fortunately, there is a way to fix foxtailing and get back on track toward big buds. The first step is to immediately return the growing conditions back to their optimal state. This includes reducing excessive heat if it has been too high, increasing ventilation and extraction rates to ensure air quality as well as decreasing light intensity.
Many LED lights have dials that you can adjust so that you don’t have to move around your lighting rig- simply reduce the intensity this way instead and keep your buds healthy! Alternatively raising the lights slightly can also increase the distance between lights and crop and this too reduces light stress level on the plants.
How To Prevent Foxtailing Buds
When it comes to preventing foxtailing buds in cannabis crops, ensuring the plants are grown in ideal conditions is paramount. For those that can afford it, adding air-con to the grow room will allow for absolute temperature control regardless of environmental conditions or seasons, and will also improve yield and potency.
On the other hand, simply avoiding growing at the peak of hot seasons may be all it takes to prevent foxtailing.
Light stress is another factor that can lead to foxtail buds. You should double check with your light manufacturer to see what recommended coverage area and PPFD levels they suggest for different sized grow rooms according to their charts.
This information will help you establish an adequate lighting environment so that your plants aren’t exposed to too much or too little light intensity – both situations can have a negative impact on your crop’s overall health, leading potentially leading them towards a fox tailing productivity setback.
When To Harvest Foxtailing Cannabis Buds?
For the best results when harvesting cannabis buds foxtail, most growers will suggest that you wait until the majority of trichomes have turned cloudy or have an opaque appearance. At this point, it is usually safe to assume that the plant has reached its maximum potency and can be harvested for consumption. This can be done by using a magnifying glass or loupe to observe your cannabis plants trichomes up close.
However, depending on the effect desired by the grower, they may decide to harvest earlier when some trichomes are still clear and just beginning to cloud up. This may create a more energetic and stimulating high as opposed to waiting until all of the trichomes turn milky which could provide a heavier ‘stonier’ effect.
Ultimately, it is up to the grower’s preference; whether they wait for completely mature buds with mostly cloudy trichomes or prefer an earlier harvest with a combination of clear and milky ones.