How to avoid fluffy weed and grow dense buds every time

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You have almost finished your grow and you are well into the flowering stage, only the buds just don’t look and feel right. Anyone that has grown lots of weed will at some point have produced a harvest full of fluffy, loose and airy buds. But what exactly causes this to happen and more importantly what can you do to make sure your bud is nice and dense in the future?

What do we mean by fluffy, loose and airy bud?

Fluffy buds are generally soft, loose and light. They are the opposite of what you picture when you think of your ideal bud, which should be dense and tightly packed. Some strains do produce lighter fluffier buds than others, so it isn’t always down to grower error. For example, sativas typically produce much lighter looser buds spread more evenly across the plant, as opposed to the huge dense colas you see on some indica varieties. However, there are certain things that every grower should be doing that will help to make your nugs as solid and dense as their genetics will allow. 

What causes fluffy weed?

There are a few causes of fluffy, airy buds, part of it is down to the quality of the seeds and the genetics you are using and part of it will be the way that you have grown them. Follow these key tips to and avoid common mistakes to make sure you produce good quality dense bud with your next grow.

Choosing a strain that produces dense weed

To start with you need to make sure you are growing with the right genetics. We know that sativa strains are more likely to produce lighter, airier buds, so if you want to grow dense nugs consider growing an indica strain. 

Sativa dominant strains such as Thai Stick produce great weed, but the buds are genetically programmed to be less dense. This is so that they grow successfully in hot humid conditions without mold becoming an issue.

But if you want to grow super dense and solid buds then try cultivating a more indica dominant strain such as Skywalker OG. Or if you prefer sativas then try growing a 50/50 hybrid such as Gorilla Glue that offers the best of both worlds.

Indica Buds vs sativa buds

Indica: Indica buds are typically the densest. Indica strains are native to cooler climates and the buds tend to be wider, denser and weightier. 

Sativa: Sativas are native to hot humid regions and therefore have evolved over time to produce longer, looser and more airy buds. This helps air to flow through the plant and prevents bud rot.

Good quality lighting increases bud density

Light is like food for a cannabis plant, it provides the energy that a plant needs to grow and that includes producing those nice solid nugs. While it is possible to grow cannabis using a variety of lights, CFL’s and fluorescent bulbs are normally less powerful than HID and LED lights. 

Although they are more expensive, good quality LED lights are all around the best option. They cover a broader light spectrum meaning that they are great for cannabis plants from seedling right the way through to harvest. They also give off very little heat which reduces the risk of light burn, humidity and temperature related issues. That leads us into the next point….

Dense buds like stable climates

Temperature and humidity both play a huge role in overall plant health. A perfect climate for cannabis plants is for temperature to be between 68 to 80 Fahrenheit with humidity between 55% to 65%. 

Hotter than this and you may begin to notice that the buds dry out and become puffier. Excessively high humidity on the other hand can cause a whole host of other problems, the worst of all being the dreaded bud rot. 

It is also worth noting that the ideal temperature and humidity levels for cannabis strains vary slightly depending on if they are sativa or indica. Indica’s generally prefer slightly cooler temperatures, whereas sativas prefer hot humid climates. 

Use the marijuana temperature and humidity chart we have created below to perfect your grow room climate.

Marijuana temperature and humidity chart

marijuana temperature and humidity chart

Good ventilation means good bud health

Not only do cannabis plants need powerful lights, warmth and humidity but they also require good ventilation. If you want your plants to produce dense weed, then you must make sure you provide them with good airflow. 

Airflow is important for a number of reasons:

Strengthen plants

Having fans blowing through your tent right from the seedling stage replicates real life outdoor conditions and strengthens the branches and stems of a cannabis plant. Having strong branches will allow the plant to pack on plenty of big heavy buds during the flowering stage.

Good for plant health

Having fresh air flow through your cannabis plants keeps them fresh and helps to prevent moisture from settling and becoming stale. Stale air and excessive moisture are what eventually leads to plant diseases such as bud rot.

Train your plants for bigger buds

Getting the environment right and making sure your plant is healthy will help you to avoid puffy, light buds. But if you want to take your cannabis grows to the next level and produce huge dense nugs then you should consider training them.

Using simple but effective methods such as defoliation, LST, ScrOG and topping can in some cases double the yield of a cannabis plant. Defoliation during the latter stages of growth can help to divert energy to the more important parts of the plant resulting in bigger denser flowers. 

low stress training cannabis to avoid fluffy weed

Use the right nutrients for solid buds

If you want your buds to be as dense and solid as possible then you need to be using the right cannabis nutrients. Find a good cannabis nutrient brand such as Fox Farm and use one of their flowering stage nutrients like as Tiger Bloom. 

During the flowering stage you want your nutrients to contain a large dose of phosphorus with a 2-8-4 ratio which will help to support vigorous bud growth. You can also foliar feed your cannabis plants making sure they absorb all of the necessary nutrients. 

Keep an eye out for any signs of stress

Stress can strike at any moment and can cause a cannabis plants growth to halt, resulting in smaller yields and less dense buds. While your plants are growing you should keep an eye out for any obvious signs of stress from your plants and address them as soon as you notice. Key indicators that a cannabis plant may be experiencing stress are:

Leaf discoloration: Leaves may turn yellow, brown, or even white, depending on the type of stress the plant is experiencing.

Leaf curling: Leaves may curl up or down, particularly at the edges.

Wilting: The plant may appear droopy or wilted, even when it has plenty of water.

Stunted growth: The plant may not grow as quickly as expected or may be smaller than other plants of the same age.

Burned tips: The tips of leaves may appear brown or burnt.

Abnormal growth patterns: The plant may grow in strange or unusual patterns, such as twisting or bending.

Reduced yield: The plant may produce fewer buds or smaller buds than expected.

Delayed flowering: The plant may take longer than expected to start flowering.

These signs can be caused by a variety of factors, including overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies or excesses, pests, diseases, and environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. It’s important to identify the cause of the stress and take steps to correct it in order to help the plant recover and thrive.

Big buds like big pots

One of the keys to a plants health and size is the pot that it is growing in. Pots play such an instrumental role in a cannabis plants growth but are often one of the areas people spend least money on. The first point here is that if you want to grow big dense buds you need to make sure your pot size is suitable and offers plenty of room for the roots to grow. If your plant becomes root bound this could halt bud development and cause airy buds. 

The second reason why pots are so instrumental to plant health is drainage. If your pot doesn’t have good drainage, you could end up with your plant being either over or under watered. This is why I love smart pots so much! Smart pots are made from a breathable fabric that allows water to drain out and air to flow in. This keeps your roots fresh and stops you over watering your plants. 

Making silly and easily avoidable mistakes such as overwatering can stress a plant. And as we know once a plant becomes stressed it usually stops growing until it has recovered from whatever is stressing it, this can result in a lack of bud development if it occurs during the flowering stage.

Harvest at the right time for the dense buds

Timing is key when it comes to harvesting, not only will it help you to produce dense buds, it will also help to increase potency. As your plants near maturity there is a two week window when buds are at their most potent. Too early and buds will be underdeveloped, but miss this window and buds will be over ripe. Buds harvested too early are often airier and puffier as they have not had the time needed to mature. They will also contain less THC and therefore lack potency.

To harvest your weed at the perfect time you should use a jewelers loupe to inspect the trichomes close up. When around 50% of the trichomes have turned cloudy in appearance the plant is ready to be harvested.

How to avoid airy buds after drying

The most difficult part is growing your weed, but once that’s out of the way you still need to dry and cure your bud before it is ready to smoke. Drying your weed is essential if you want the final produce to be nice and dense. 

It can be tempting to try and dry your weed faster by leaving your bud in a boiler room or hanging it over a radiator, but this draws the moisture out the bud too fast and it becomes dry, light and airy. Dry and cure your weed slowly and not only will it result in nice, dense buds, but it will keep much more flavor and potency too.

drying weed slowly to avoid puffy weed

Is dense weed better than fluffy weed?

It really is down to a matter of opinion, but the vast majority of growers and smokers prefer dense buds. This is simply because the denser the bud, the more weight it has and therefore the better the yield. They usually burn better too which creates a smoother and tastier smoking experience. Dense weed is also thought to be more potent, although this won’t always be the case. There is also the aesthetic appeal of the look and feel of a nice solid bud.

What are larfy buds?

Larfy buds are something that every grower wants to avoid. They are small buds that have been harvested too early and therefore have not had time to fully mature. Larfy buds will often be loose, airy and fluffy and will lack potency. 

Larfy buds is also often the name given to the smaller wispy buds that are found on the lower stems of cannabis plants. Even if you manage to time your harvest to perfection, you may still have some larf buds lower down on the plant that have not matured at quite the same pace. Don’t worry these can still be smoked, they just won’t have the same level of potency as the rest of the bigger mature buds.

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