Co Dud Collective

Howdy Fellow Farmers,
This is a thread for farmers in the Rocky Mountain Region that have been struggling with 'dud syndrome'. The description and pics hijacked below best describe what I and many others have been suffering greatly from. Pics, Test Results, Ideas, Solutions, Resistant Strains, Infected Strains, Methods of Culling, Transmission, Etc. are all welcomed. This is intended to be a place where those of us who have been struggling with the 'dud' can share knowledge and solutions.

is a syndrome with at least 4 different confirmed initial causes, all which negatively affect a plant's immune system. It is characterized by the following:

in veg:
  • Lack of apical dominance. Plant looks like it’s been topped but it hasn’t been. Wider than tall.
  • No large fan leaves. Leaves are small and blades tend to point forward.
  • A tendency towards excessive branchiness at the branch ends; sometimes referred to as ‘witchbrooming’.
  • A large space between internodes, and a lack of branching except at the branch tips.
  • Brittle stems. Branches are thin, fleshy and easily break off and flop around.
  • Lack of vigor. Lack of water uptake. Minor wilting.

in flower:
  • Lack of development. Plant looks weeks behind those around it.
  • Slow metabolism. Lack of water uptake.
  • Chlorosis/yellowing. Tends to look nitrogen or sulfur-deficient.
  • Lack of resin development. Lack of oil production and smell.
  • Flowers never mature. Pistils often stay white/green.

Symptoms can sometimes occur on one branch only. In these cases stem nematodes may be the cause. The theory is that the plant has a systemic response to the nematode infection in the branch and via SAR protects the other branches from further infection. Further lab tests are needed to confirm this.

This syndrome definitely seems to be the result of at least one of 4 main causes and probably more, sometimes overlapping:

1. Broad mites, cyclamen mites, eriophyid mites
2. Stem nematodes - Ditylenchus dipsaci; possibly root nematodes
3. Fusarium and/or verticillium; possibly pythium
4. Aster Yellows - phytoplasmas - possibly Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris
5. ?

In the case of mites, a toxin is suspected in the bug’s saliva that somehow negatively affects the plant’s immune system, which eventually results in dud syndrome. Stem nematodes have also been documented in plants that have it. Fusarium, verticillium and other fungal/bacterial diseases seem to be the direct result of these pests, likely due to immune system weaknesses in the host plant. I personally think these play a heavy role in what actually causes the syndrome. The plant is attacked by a pest; the plant's metabolism and liquid uptake slows for some reason in response; and then root pathogens take over due to excess moisture around the roots. This doesn't explain duds in hydro, however.

Asters Yellows has also been documented in some cases, but this seems more rare.

Further lab tests are needed to confirm/verify pretty much all of these causes, too, since most of the people studying this never actually got lab tests and positively ID'd the pest involved, and instead went with anecdotal evidence and premature conclusions.

There are some strains that have a genetic predisposition to this syndrome. Gorilla Glue #4, SourDubb and relatives, WiFi and OG Kushes all seem to be particularly susceptible. It seems to sometimes be passed along to cuttings taken from an affected plant; GG#4 at the cannabis cup being a noteworthy case. At the same time it can happen in plants right amidst many others that never succumb to it.

I think everyone needs to start breaking this down in terms of what is causing their dudding, rather than thinking that dudding is caused by one thing. Hence the 'syndrome' tag. This is very much like cannabis HIV. There are different things that all can lead to dudding. By narrowing down which thing initially caused your dud syndrome you can hopefully work to prevent it from happening again.

Last week at the Emerald one of the discussion panels was devoted to plant genetics. This is an area of continuous fascination for many of us.
I also applaud growers whom are going back to Landrace genetics when available, and when humanly possible access some of the worlds most dangerous regions for seed.
While TMV has been around longer than all of us, its still an ongoing issue with many growers, including new grows, as time, experience and exposure to perfect ones craft teaches us how to avoid/manage this problem.
When I look at opportunist virus's and bacteria we need to think past the obvious as many times answers are where you least expect to find them.
Many plant genera are disposed to a wide range of Host Specific targets.
Plant genetics plays a role in why some species are more susceptible to opportunist pathogens. In one of my studies years ago I researched and funded a study on rusts, these too have the potential to destroy crops or decrease yield.
I found that within a single genus, 95% were naturally resistant, the other 5 would show symptoms when conditions were right as soon as temperatures and humidity were ideal for transmission. Oddly though to prove to agencies regulating plant shipments, in our control we grew host specific plants in the same pots as non hosts to learn/prove that the airborne spores even when touching did not infect the other no-hosts.
I say this to all fellow growers, again look past the obvious, and see what are other methods of transmission. With TMV there are many, and depending on the experts you talk to or web page you read, many times you have more questions after learning of its perceived methods of transmission.
I always look at the basics, plant genetics always has a role in disease. Any seed collector will tell you when they make a new discovery, they do more than just write down a location of its source. GPS makes it easier today, but many of the old books written back at the turn of the century indicate everything from soil types, humidity, elevation, temperatures, and surrounding types of plants and any diversity in insect or foraging animals. All this plays into the natural resistance a plant has to the environment.
So when we remove this plant from its thriving state and reintroduce it elsewhere it has no natural resistance to the new environmental pressure and a new series of insects or opportunist diseases.
This is why we hybridize plants or in Big-Ag genetically alter.
Plant genetics plays a big role in TMV, as does many of the above scenario's.
Cultivators in the quest for a trophy plant have created weakness within
strains that after continuously crossing plants of the same generational parents, and have created high terpene frankensteins that are week. Cloning adds to this, as there is no substitute for fresh DNA only found in strong seed.

I believe we need to reintroduce many of these host plants with DNA of resistant seed to breed back into the strain what has lost over multiple generations of inter-family-hybridizing. my 2 cents.

The one thing that experienced growers large and small will tell you to limit your risk of contamination, first limit your exposure of your crop by others. This mean very strict protocols and no exceptions.

No friends, no tours, no exceptions. If you bring in a person to help trim,
did they shower first, put on clean clothes and drive straight to you, or did they trim their plants, or another grows before arriving at 2 in the afternoon, what spores, and pathogens are on them or their tools.
The reason some people use alcohol mats is because you walk though contaminated areas all day long, and then introduce your livelihood to them. Production protocols are keys to prevention, never trim infected plants, destroy them. Selective clone harvesting with your new tools is a great way to infect the entire grow. After pruning any plant or row, disinfect your tools before moving about the grow, but never go to another room with tools from another area without disinfecting and changing your gloves. Best practice is to have different tools and equipment for each area, including brooms and dustpans everything is a mode of transmission including you. Get in the habit of this, make sanitation your obsession, run everything like a virtual space lab.
TMV remains active where root tissue contacts the soil, so do not attempt to recycle or amend the contaminated compost or soils, dump them as in completely remove this vector from your grow. If your grow is completely contaminated with any bacteria or virus, it is a hard discipline when time and money is a factor, but destroy it. You need to take the pill and shut that area or room down and fully sanitize it, walls floors and all surface areas. Then start with new pots that you wash with a sanitizer and soils you send out to be tested before you assume that they are safe unless you know the small producer. Many cheap mixes contain composts of unknown origin, and your crop may be on that 5% list of susceptible hosts.
Feed organically when you can, avoid synthetic pesticides, as all these weaken the plants natural resistance. Don't crowd your grow, that extra row will not add weight per light, just pest pressure.
The best growers I spoke to from Humboldt all create there own soil mixes, and some use mushroom composts, and all use organics in their best management practices, creating natural resistance to attack.
What experience teaches you is many of these pathogens or insect transmitted virus's can be avoided by changing your habits and limiting exposure. There are no sensible treatments of infected plants, and trying to save a grow or an infected prized plant is fools money, as at the end of the day you will realize is there is no better way of controlling TMV today than there was long ago. Select superior genetics, practice exceptional sanitation practices, and don't recycle contaminated disposables. And keep your grows limited to outside exposure. Simple and sensible protocols produces higher yields with less pressure, if you feel the need to show off your grow, take a picture. Like the human race, what takes us out will be something only a microscope can see.