What are popcorn buds and why would you want to avoid them?

Popcorn buds are one of the biggest nightmares of any cannabis grower, especially large-scale growers. The popcorn bud problem is a common problem for all cannabis growers, affecting both experienced and inexperienced growers. The good news is that there are a few ways you can prevent popcorn buds and get a big harvest. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about popcorn buds, what causes them, and how to avoid them.

What are popcorn buds?

Popcorn buds refer to airy, fluffy, and undeveloped buds found in a crop. As the name suggests, popcorn buds are the size of popped kernels. Popcorn buds are usually found in the bottom of a cannabis plant. Their location plays a big role in determining their size as the larger plants prevent light and other nutrients from reaching them. Popcorn buds are caused by a number of factors, the main one being stress. What is stress in growing cannabis? We’ll discuss that shortly.

The causes of popcorn buds

Cannabis growing stress refers to factors that prevent cannabis plants from growing properly. These factors vary from improper maintenance to poor watering and nutritional deficiencies. All of these factors have a negative effect on the cannabis plant and thereby inhibit its growth.

Listed below are common stressors that can cause popcorn buds.

Bad watering and feeding: Like any other plant, your cannabis plant will need adequate feeding and watering to flower properly. If you forget to water your cannabis plants regularly, the only risk is that you will encounter popcorn buds when you harvest them. Interestingly, some people believe that underwater is the only form of poor watering. This is wrong because overhydration can remove nutrients from your cannabis plant and slow its growth.

Overcrowding: Overcrowding is a major cause of popcorn buds as it blocks out light, which is one of the most important nutrients for your plants. Overcrowding occurs in a number of forms, including bushy vegetative growth and close spacing between plants. Overfilling can also prevent water from getting into certain parts of the plant. This results in small and airy buds.

Humidity: Moisture and heat can damage your cannabis plants and cause popcorn buds. The buds respond to heat by developing airy buds to keep mold out. This action leaves the buds airy and underdeveloped when harvested.

Epidemics and pests: Plagues and pests can stunt the growth of your cannabis plants, especially if they attack in the late vegetative state. This affects the plant’s ability to grow and leaves it underdeveloped.

How do I avoid popcorn buds?

From the list of causes discussed above, it can be seen that a crop filled with popcorn buds is very avoidable. Here are some ways to avoid popcorn buds.

lollipop: One method of pruning, lollipop is one of the best techniques to avoid popcorn buds. When using this method, you’ll be pruning the bottom of your cannabis plants and removing any buds and leaves. This action is usually done in the late vegetative stage or in the early flowering stage of plant growth. If you cut off the bud points from below, you will get cannabis plants that are shaped like lollipops and have bushy cola on top and clean stems on the bottom. This formation enables even growth of all plants and equal access to sunlight, water and other nutrients.

Mainlining: Mainlining is another popcorn bud prevention technique that works perfectly. It involves the use of a diverse method to split the main stems of the plants to form a Y-shape. This will give the stems two main colas that you can use for stress-free training to achieve an even level of canopy for your plants. With mainlining, you can train any trunk to grow exactly how you want it to. What is more? Mainlining and lollipopping can be combined for the best results. Using both methods together, you can be sure that your cannabis plants will have large bushy colas whose cut bottoms do not contain popcorn buds.

Screen of green: Popularly known as ScrOG, Screen of Green is a comprehensive popcorn bud prevention method. Screen of Green involves defoliation, pruning, stress-free training, and mainlining to grow cannabis plants through a sieve. With this technique, you will teach the cannabis plants to create an even canopy, removing any buds on the ground. ScrOG effectively prevents overcrowding and maximizes your cannabis plants’ access to sunlight.

The best ways to use your popcorn buds

If you have a crop that contains popcorn buds, keep in mind that you can still make good use of them. Although underdeveloped and airy, popcorn buds have the same taste, smell, and even potency as the rest of the crop. The only area they are missing is density. This means that with the right amount, you can enjoy your popcorn buds just as much as regular buds. Below are the best ways to use your popcorn buds.

Roll a joint: Yes, you can smoke your popcorn buds and it doesn’t require any special technique. Just make sure you dry and cure them properly and you can be sure that you will get a good high.

Edibles: Because of their size and density, most people prefer using popcorn buds to make food rather than smoking it. Using your popcorn buds to make edible is a great choice.

You can also make concentrates with popcorn buds.

Bottom line

While popcorn buds have their uses, they are not the high quality harvest that every cultivator desires. You can avoid dealing with popcorn buds using the techniques listed above. Take the time to check your cannabis plants regularly. That way, you can spot nutrient-deficient plants early enough. Also, be sure to feed and water your plants evenly. However, if after all this you still have popcorn buds, follow the procedures listed above to make good use of them.

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