As a cultivator in the ever-growing world of cannabis gardening, understanding the nuances of plant health is crucial. One of the common issues that many growers encounter is the peculiar phenomenon known as “tacoing” of cannabis leaves. This occurrence, characterized by the upward curling of the leaves, resembling a taco shell, can be a red flag indicating stress or an underlying problem in your plants. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into what tacoing cannabis leaves are, explore the potential causes, and equip you with effective strategies to prevent and address this issue to ensure a thriving and robust cannabis crop.
Why Are Your Cannabis Leaves Tacoing?
There are several unfavorable climatic conditions that can cause your cannabis leaves to taco or fold inward. Here is a list of some of the main factors that may be causing this issue:
Heat Stress And Humidity
Heat Stress and Humidity issues are major factors in tacoing of cannabis leaves. When temperatures and humidity become too high, people tend to mistake the plants’ stress as thirst and overwater them – which in turn makes matters worse. Overwatering coupled with heat stress causes the cellular structure of the leaves to collapse, eventually leading to a taco-shaped appearance.
The best way to counter this unhealthy situation is to manipulate the growing environmental conditions right away. The first step would be to observe the affected plants for at least one day, so as to establish what exactly is causing their distress.
Whether it be too low air circulation or inadequate light levels, once diagnosed, steps should be taken immediately to correct these issues before any further damage occurs. Keeping an eye on overall humidity levels and temperature fluctuations at two metric distances from the plant can help better estimate these external factors that are more often than not responsible for tacoing of leaves.
When temperatures start to dip, some of the common effects on your cannabis crop include tacoing and discoloration. Tacoing is a phenomenon in which fan leaves begin to curl inwards and look like tacos. This occurs when the temperature drops lower than 10 degrees Celsius.
As day turns into night, cooler temperatures can also cause discoloration of the buds – turning them purple or dark blue. Over time, leaves that are exposed to cold temperatures for too long will eventually die, making it impossible for them to survive till harvest season. The buds also become quite susceptible to rot when exposed to extremely low temperatures for a prolonged period of time.
Therefore, if you’re growing marijuana outdoors during colder months it’s important to take extra precautions and pay closer attention to changes in temperature to ensure your cannabis buds aren’t getting overexposed due to frost or freezing points.
A good rule of thumb is the 3-3-3 rule: If temperatures drop below one-degree Celsius three times within three nights consecutively then your plants are at risk of damage from frostbite and subsequent rot. In order to protect your plants invest in an indoor grow tent plus insulation materials like bubble wrap and thermal blankets so you can carefully control the temperature of your garden.
Under Watering & Over Watering
Overwatering and under-watering plants are two of the most common mistakes novice farmers make. Usually, if you underwater your marijuana plants, you’ll start to see signs including limp, drooping leaves. Plants undergoing a period of underwatering will slow down their growth process significantly as they attempt to conserve energy and resources.
To remedy this issue it is important to water the plants frequently once initial symptoms arise. If the leaves begin dripping with water then just water them quickly; after thirty minutes the plant should recover its original shape.
The opposite of underwatering is overwatering, which results in overly rigid leaves that curl downwards due to too much warm water present within the potting soil. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for beginner farmers to successfully diagnose overwatering as opposed to disease or pest infestation; usually expert advice is needed here.
In order to avoid overwatering in the first place it is best practice to check the soil’s moisture level by sticking a finger into the dirt near the stem base of each plant before performing any watering activities.
Calcium And Magnesium Deficiency
The lack of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium is one of the primary causes of taco leaves in cannabis plants. This can be caused by not providing enough mineral content in your soil, as well as poor pH levels. When the environment is too acidic due to low pH levels, calcium and magnesium can become less available for absorption by the plants. If PH levels are not managed correctly, it can lead to a deficiency in these vital nutrients, causing your marijuana leaves to form into tacos.
To fix this issue you need to first ensure that you provide adequate amounts of minerals including calcium and magnesium from fertilizers and other sources. Secondly, you need to regularly test your soil and adjust the pH if necessary. With proper management of mineral inputs and ensuring optimal pH levels for efficient absorption, you can prevent or correct a lack of calcium and magnesium deficiencies that cause taco-shaped leaves in cannabis plants.
Genetics plays a central role in the development of leaf and plant deformities in cannabis plants. Many cannabis strains have complex genetics that can often lead to peculiar characteristics, such as wrinkly leaves, short stems, small buds, or even entire hermaphrodite mature plants.
The appearance of these features can be detrimental to any outdoor growers plants, especially if they are unaware of their presence or preventative measures beforehand.
In particular, some cannabis Sativa strains and auto-flowering varieties tend to be susceptible to high doses of fertilizer. A lack of knowledge about the ideal procedure for cultivating these species can often lead to extensive losses for beginner growers.
Oftentimes, breeders and cultivators will thin out the affected plants from their cultivations in order to prevent issues further down the line.
Nevertheless, genetics will always play a major role in determining how vigorous and resistant one’s plant is before it is even put under environmental stress factors such as pest infestations and nutrient deficiencies.
Incorrect pH Range
Growing cannabis in the wrong pH range can have disastrous results. This is because the ideal pH range for marijuana growth lies between 6 and 7; any lower or higher than this can result in nutrient lockout and inhibit the plant’s ability to uptake vital nutrients. When a plant is locked out, it cannot absorb minerals, leading to potential stunting and signs of distress such as yellowing leaves, dying marijuana flowers, and weak stems.
It is extremely important to take preventative measures by actively monitoring pH levels with an accurate testing kit. If the excess water used contains too much acidity or alkalinity, it disrupts the entire photosynthesis process, leading to a decrease in the overall health of the plant and stunted growth.
However, correcting the pH level used to water plants can be done easily—the addition of a few drops of water-soluble acids or bases can make sure that your plants will start growing healthy again.
Doing regular checks on pH levels also reduces your risk of experiencing further problems throughout your growth cycle.
Nitrogen Deficiency & Toxicity
Nitrogen is one of the essential elements for a healthy cannabis crop. Nitrogen helps the plant absorb energy from the sun, which in turn helps to increase and maintain its vigor. When there is a deficiency of nitrogen, the marijuana leaves will begin to turn yellow and eventually die.
This is because the plant relies on nitrogen for photosynthesis – when there’s not enough nitrogen, it can’t produce chlorophyll or break down other vital components in order to obtain energy.
If you’re facing a nitrogen deficiency towards the end of a cannabis cultivation cycle, this isn’t necessarily cause for concern. During harvest season, pre-packaged nutrients may no longer be needed as the buds are pulling out the available nitrogen in order to boost growth before harvest.
That being said, it’s always best to go with what your eye tells you – if something looks off, test your water quality and soil levels to see if they’re within normal range. If they aren’t, make adjustments accordingly and ensure that your plants have access to all three essential micronutrients; moisture, nutrition, and light.