When growing cannabis, there are numerous signs and symptoms to look out for in order to maintain the health and vitality of your crop. If you want to end up with yields of maximum quality and quantity, one symptom to be particularly mindful of are dry and crispy leaves.

The sight of luscious plants with full and strong leaves is a wonderful sight, and is a visual sign of the potent and healthy harvest to come. Dry and crispy leaves, however, are not a sight for sore eyes. There are numerous underlying causes to this condition, so identifying the correct one is key to preventing any further damage to your crop.

Crispy Leaves Cannabis Plants

NUTRIENT ISSUES

Cannabis plants require a certain balance of nutrients within the growing medium to maintain their health and reach their maximum potential. Too much or too little of certain nutrients can be detrimental to plant health and result in dry and crispy leaves occurring.

Nitrogen is an important nutrient for your crop, and plays a vital role in chlorophyll formation and therefore, photosynthesis. Nitrogen also plays an important part in the formation of amino acids, which form proteins within the plant.

Important as nitrogen is, if growers accidentally get a bit too keen when feeding their plants, they may end up inducing nitrogen toxicity. When too much nitrogen is present within a crop, leaves can start to display very dark green shades, and will eventually develop dry and crispy characteristics.

Two other nutrients to consider when experiencing leaf dryness are iron and magnesium. Magnesium also plays a key role within photosynthesis, whereas iron contributes greatly to chlorophyll formation and enzymatic activities.

Deficiencies involving either of these nutrients can lead to a decline in leaf health. However, there are actions that can be taken to restore balance. For outdoor growers, this usually starts with flushing out  the medium with pH-balanced water.

Flush Cannabis Plant

OVERWATERING

Overwatering is a common mistake when growing cannabis, though it ultimately comes from a good place. Of course, we want to make sure our plants are receiving an adequate water supply, but giving them an excess can turn out to be too much of a good thing.

Water is critical to plant health, but saturating your plant’s growing medium with water can lead to crispy leaves that may even begin to turn brown.

Water makes its way through your plants via osmosis. The cells work to pass on water to the next one. However, when too much water is travelling through a plant and it reaches the cells at the end of a line, they become too full and the cells rupture. This phenomenon can cause crusting at the tips of leaves, accompanied by a brown discolouration.

PESTS AND FUNGI

Invasions in the form of insect pests and fungi can cause high amounts of environmental stress to inflict plants. In some cases, they cause leaves to dry-out and become crispy. In order to avoid such a crisis, it’s worth educating yourself on how to defend against such threats.

Fungus gnats are an example of pests that can lay siege to your crop, resulting in leaf health deterioration. These critters often present themselves due to overwatering, as this environment is ideal for their multiplication.

Various pests can be deterred by erecting a fine netting around the perimeter of your crop. Beneficial predatory insects can also be introduced into the environment to rid your plants of pests.

In cases of mould and fungi formation, be sure to keep close watch over the humidity of your growing environment. Mould thrives in conditions of high humidity and limited air flow. Use a combination of dehumidifiers and fans within the grow space if you think mould might be at the root of your dry and crispy leaf problem.

Humidity Temperature Cannabis Plants

TOO MUCH HEAT

Cannabis plants need a lot of light in order to boom to their full size in a short period of time. This need is usually met thanks to large and extensive lighting setups. As well as providing impressive amounts of light, some setups also generate a lot of heat. Even if plants are within a safe distance from a light source, they still run the risk of undergoing heat stress and burns.

Heat stress can, over time, start to dry-out leaves and make them crispy in the process. Heat stress will most likely start to occur when your crop is exposed to temperatures exceeding 30°C.

To address heat stress, begin by slightly increasing the distance between your plants and their light source. If this is effective, then chances are your plants were suffering from light burn as opposed to heat stress.

If this isn’t quite enough, you can also put some intake and exhaust fans in place to cool the environment down. Silica supplementation can also help buffer your plants against environmental stressors like heat.

OLD LEAVES ARE JUST OLD

Sometimes, leaves turning brown, dry, and crispy is not a cause for alarm. As part of the natural aging process, early leaves will start to wither when they have fulfilled their biological purpose. There is no underlying sickness to these bottom-dwelling leaves.

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