Man, oh, man was the end of summer rough for everyone up here.
For those who don't know, we are based in wine country in McMinnville, Oregon. We had some small fires that were almost local to us, and were about 15 miles away from us.
The big fires, the Riverside, Lionshead, and Beachie Creek fires, were thankfully a ways away from here. However, the smoke was quite tremendous. On many days here, there were severe health advisory warnings with the particle content of the air. We couldn't see more than a few dozen feet ahead of us on some of the more severe days.
We people are not the only ones who are affected by the smoke and lack of sunlight. Cannabis plants are quite affected by these side effects of fire season.
The plants thrive on sunlight, and the reduction in light stunts their growth. Around the end of summer, usually near the beginning of August, the plants begin their flowering phase. To have stunted growth during this critical time can wreak havoc on the volume of the harvest of their crops.
On top of that, the falling ash can become embedded within the growing flowers when the sun does return.
On social media, I saw a lot of people attempting to mitigate the ash through various methods.
An alarming trend I saw was the use of water to wash ash off of the plants and flowers. The issue I saw with that is that wood ash contains variable amounts of potassium hydroxide and potassium carbonate. This mix produces lye, a strong alkali that can produce superficial burns. This is also an issue with young toddlers, as they tend to be a little slobbery, or even play with water in an ad hoc fashion.
Same happens to the plants. Inadvertently creating lye and having that sit on the flower sites can burn the flowers, further reducing the volume of viable flower at harvest.
I did see some folks using leaf blowers to blow the ash off, and this, I believe, should the method used to mitigate ash damage.
Stay safe out there!
(Bloomberg) -- October usually heralds the harvest of outdoor cannabis plants, affectionately known as “Croptober.” But this fall, something more serious is in the air: smoke from the wildfires that are ravaging California and Oregon. Fires are clustered in Northern California’s “Emerald Triangle” and a pair of Oregon counties, areas that are among the nation’s most important for cannabis production. Even if crops aren’t destroyed in the more than 5 million acres of wildfires, massive amounts of smoke and ash will take a toll. Darkened skies can stunt the plants’ growth, said Jill Ellsworth, chief executive officer of Denver-based Willow Industries , which cleans marijuana flower for mold in California and other states. “We’re hearing that some cultivators are starting to harvest early, because it’s prematurely flowering, and they don’t want that,” Ellsworth said. In a normal year, around 2% to 5% of California’s marijuana crops would fail mold [...]