A variety of tiny creatures can infest even the most meticulously groomed cannabis garden. From fungus gnats (which damage the roots) to spider mites (which coat plants in a fine web), experienced pot cultivators strive to exclude such pests from their gardens.
One of the most troublesome infestations that can strike a cannabis garden is nematodes. These small roundworms (also called “eel worms”) can cause considerable damage to plants, including severe stunting and wilting—both of which can significantly reduce yields.
Six Species of Nematodes
Of the six species of nematodes that are known to infest cannabis plants, five attack the root system. One variety, the root knot nematode, embeds itself in roots and forms giant cells that further expand into galls, which are basically areas of abnormal swelling.
The stem nematode is the one species that lives above the dirt surface and does not infest roots. It does, however, cause swelling—only in the stems, branches, and leaves of the plant. Stem nematodes also cause plants to be chlorotic, meaning that healthy green plant tissue becomes yellow or white due to a lack of chlorophyll.
A troublesome cannabis garden infestation, nematodes that can cause considerable damage to plants, including severe stunting and wilting—both of which reduce yields.
If not dealt with in a timely manner, this type of nematode can cause stems to twist and distort because of how it shortens the internodes between branches. The bad news for commercial growers: This results in stunted growth and reduced yields.
A recent press release from Steep Hill Labs frightened cannabis cultivators and consumers alike. The nation’s leading pot testing company announced that it found 84 percent of medical cannabis in the San Francisco Bay Area to contain unsafe levels of a residual pesticide that’s commonly used to treat infestations like nematodes and diseases like gray mold.
The chemical discovered, myclobutanil, is better known as the brand Eagle 20. While approved by many government bodies for human ingestion (eating), inhalation of this fungicide is a very different story. This is because, when heated sufficiently (such as when smoked), myclobutanil breaks down into a very dangerous and infamous poison: Hydrogen cyanide.
Cannabis gardeners wishing to not only avoid pests like nematodes, but also to prevent poisoning patients with cyanide, obviously must seek alternatives to conventional fungicides that, when smoked, are blatantly toxic. One new alternative is PathogenZERO from California’s CaliCropDoc.
PathogenZERO is a broad-spectrum fungicide/pesticide solution that is formulated from natural ingredients and certified organic. This product can protect a cannabis garden against more than 150 different pathogens, including pests such as fungus gnats and nematodes and common diseases like powdery mildew and gray mold (bud rot).
Because it is organic and fully biodegradable, the application of PathogenZERO involves no masks or hazmat suits. It is safe for the environment and all parties in the cannabis supply chain. Gardeners can ethically use it with reckless abandon to achieve the goal of optimized yields and potency.