When it comes to growing your favorite strain, it is essential to understand that there are useful tips and tricks for each specific type of weed. For instance, AK-47 is a sativa-dominant (65%) hybrid, which means it is likely to grow short and stout rather than tall and thin. As a result, it is an excellent option for an indoor grow, although its pungent aroma means nosy neighbors could get a whiff!
AK-47 is a cross of an Afghani Indica mixed with a Thai, South American, and Mexican Sativa. It was created by Serious Seeds way back in 1992 and has won an array of awards. In 1999, it narrowly missed out on the prestigious High Times Cannabis Cup award for best sativa. However, over a decade later, AK-47 scooped first prize at a Toronto expo. To date, AK-47 has won 16 awards, making it one of the most successful marijuana strains of all time.
One of the great mysteries behind this strain is the reason why it was named after a Russian assault rifle. Given the name, you would expect AK-47 to be a hard-hitting strain capable of knocking you out. However, it is actually known for causing a euphoric feeling. One of its most obvious effects is the clear-headedness it provides almost immediately. Within a few minutes, you’ll be sitting down with a big stupid grin on your face, and have no idea why!
It is a popular medicinal strain because of its rapid impact. But with a THC content of up to 20%, it is not a marijuana strain to be trifled with. It is often used to treat depression and insomnia, but is also excellent for helping people relax. Now that you know more about the origins and effects of AK-47, let’s show you some effective tips in this essential growing guide.
1 – Be Wary of Neighbors
For the record, Marijuana Break NEVER endorses or approves of the illegal cultivation of marijuana, whether readers do it accidentally or otherwise. If you are thinking about growing AK-47 at home, make sure you check your local laws and adhere to them rigidly. Otherwise, you could be arrested, pay a hefty fine, and even spend time in prison depending on the severity of the offense.
Of course, we’re aware that there are probably tens of thousands of Americans who are currently engaged in an illegal grow. Whether you’re trying to avoid arrest or else you simply don’t want anyone to know you’re cultivating weed (despite doing it legally), we advise taking precautions with AK-47.
It is an extremely pungent strain that can easily be smelled by neighbors or even passers-by if you don’t have an adequate filtration system. Once you have good air circulation in place, growing indoors isn’t that difficult. AK-47 has a lightning fast flowering time of just 7 weeks, and will produce 14 ounces of cannabis per square meter planted.
If you grow AK-47 outdoors, you must also take great care to ensure the smell isn’t picked up for miles around. It is ready for harvest towards the end of October, and you should receive around 14 ounces of bud per plant.
2 – Humidity Considerations
Ideally, you will grow your AK-47 indoors because it makes it easier to regulate humidity. Apart from the seedling and early vegetative stages, AK-47 is a plant that does well at lower than average humidity levels. If you allow the air to become filled with moisture, there is a significant danger of your plants becoming afflicted with bud rot. This makes AK-47 a little unusual because sativa-dominant hybrids normally don’t mind humidity.
After allowing humidity levels to remain at 65-70% for the first couple of weeks during the vegetative stage, we recommend lowering the rate by up to 5% a week. Once you force your crop into the early flowering stage, make sure the humidity level is at 40-45%. When there is only a couple of weeks to go before harvest, your plants will thrive even at a humidity level of 30-35%, as long as the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so.
For the record, AK-47 prefers a mild and dry climate. Try and keep temperatures in the high seventies during the vegetative stage. You can drop them to as low as 68 degrees during flowering. Make sure the difference between day and night temperature (lights on or off) is no more than 10 degrees.
3 – Fighting Bud Rot
Unfortunately, AK-47 is highly susceptible to bud rot, an infection capable of destroying the buds of a flowering crop. It isn’t easy to spot because the obvious visual signs only appear once it is in the midst of an attack. One of the earliest signs of bud rot is yellow leaves. Once the rot develops, the fungus takes on a white and hairy appearance, similar to what you see on spoiled food.
When it is allowed to develop, bud rot takes on a black or dark purple color. Eventually, the buds are dark and mushy. After you break open an infected bud, you’ll see the fungus located deep within the flower. The infection is caused by Botrytis cinereal, a fungus that attacks the inside of the buds and works inside out. It normally gets spread through strong winds and rain which help spread the spores. It infects plants through a wound (could be caused by plant training) and thrives in humid conditions.
If you spot bud rot, you have no option but to remove the infected buds entirely. Check your plants regularly from this point on and ruthlessly dispose of any infections. You may need to remove and destroy entire plants. You can reduce the risk of bud rot by keeping the temperature in your grow room warm while reducing humidity. Pruning plants is another great way to decrease the likelihood of bud rot devastating your crop.
4 – Keep Phosphorus Levels High
When growing cannabis, you’ll need to ensure that your plants get plenty of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. There is also a myriad of secondary nutrients and micronutrients such as Magnesium, Calcium, Sulfur, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Chlorine, and Cobalt, among others.
While much of the attention surrounds Nitrogen, don’t forget the pivotal role played by Phosphorus, which is especially important in the growth of AK-47 marijuana. It is particularly crucial for stem strength, early stage root development, nutrient uptake, resistance to disease, flower formation, and yield. In other words, every aspect of your plant’s growth and development are dependent on the availability of Phosphorus.
If your AK-47 plant has a Phosphorus deficiency, you need to treat it immediately. Symptoms include slow growth, purple stems, yellow or brown lower leaves, or leaves that have turned an unusual blue-green color. While your weed tends only to need large amounts of Nitrogen during the vegetative stage, it needs Phosphorus throughout its life cycle.
You increase the risk of deficiency if you overwater the plant, keep the temperature below 55 degrees or allow the pH of the soil to go outside the 6.0-6.8 range. If your crop has a Phosphorus deficiency, flush the plants immediately, and use a P booster. If you want to add organic fertilizers to your soil, consider bat guano and bone meal, as both are high in Phosphorus.
5 – How to Ensure Excellent Air Circulation in Your Grow Room
During the day, your weed takes in carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, water from the roots, and the sun’s energy to create their source of energy – sugar – which is stored and consumed in a process known as photosynthesis. If a plant doesn’t have enough access to light, it needs to consume its stored sugar to survive. This means consuming oxygen which is needed to break the sugar into usable energy.
Plants take in oxygen when they synthesize, but they also consume it from the environment in a process known as respiration. Therefore, your AK-47 plants need constant access to oxygen-rich air. Typically, fresh air has between 300 and 500 parts per million (ppm) of CO2. Your plants thrive in air with a CO2 level of between 1,000 and 1,400 ppm.
Without proper air circulation, you cannot hope to provide the oxygen-rich air your plants need when growing indoors. Air circulation guarantees enough oxygen for your plants and prevents respiration, a process which leads to moisture build-up on leaves and stems, thus increasing the risk of mold. Good air circulation also helps keep pests at bay and enables your plants to develop strong stems.
Fans are a cheap and easy way to generate good air circulation. Oscillating fans help produce an even breeze throughout your grow room. Exhaust systems are expensive and complicated but do an excellent job of removing stagnant air. An increasing number of grow lights come with exhaust extensions which helps you install the pipe beside your lights.
6 – Make Clones from Your Marijuana Plants
In the world of weed, cloning is the process of using a piece of a plant to help you grow future crops. When you do it correctly, you can create plants genetically identical to the ‘mother’ plant (the plant you got the sample from).
Most growers clone because they find it hard to purchase seeds. Also, growing a clone is a much faster process than growing from seeds. To clone, you need the following:
- A healthy female plant, approximately eight weeks into the vegetative stage.
- A rooting hormone and a rooting system such as Coco Noir or Rockwool.
- A sharp razor. Scissors may not allow you to make the clean cut you need.
- A clipper or leaf trimmer.
- Grow lights.
- High proof alcohol such as Everclear.
Make sure you don’t fertilize the mother plant in the days before taking the sample because you need the Nitrogen to work its way out of the plant. Next, make the cut in a sterile environment. Take the cutting(s) from healthy lower branches. A cutting of 8 inches is sufficient. Cut at a 45-degree angle from the branch. Finally, place the cutting in fresh water ASAP to stop air bubbles from forming in the stem. Bubbles can kill a clone.
Once you have the cutting, clip the fan leaves halfway down the stem using a clipper. We also recommend removing unnecessary leaves. Dip your cutting into the rooting hormone and transfer to the root medium of your choice. Pre-soak the medium for up to 24 hours before use. Ideally, you’ll use distilled water with a pH of between 4.5 and 5.0.
Once you have planted the cutting, make sure it doesn’t get light for a couple of days. Then, expose it to at least 18 hours of light a day and keep clones in a warm and humid environment. Clones don’t have roots which is why they need humid, warm conditions. As clones are not always successful, it is wise to take more than one cutting.
7 – Flush Your AK-47 Crop Before Harvest
The term ‘flushing’ refers to the practice of depriving your plants of nutrients and providing them with nothing but water for a specified period. Typically, you can flush your plants when transitioning between feeding and growth cycles, just before harvest, or if your plants are suffering from nutrient lockout.
To flush, excessively water your crop with water that has a pH level of between 6.0 and 6.8 if soil is the growing medium, or between 5.5 and 6.5 if you are using a hydroponics system. Saturate the pots completely and repeat the process within 15 minutes. Hopefully, the flushing process will remove any blockage and make room for a new feeding schedule, or else it will remove the last traces of nutrients before harvest.
You will need a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) reader to determine if the flush was a success. Ideally, the final reading of the water draining out of the pot will be very close to that of the water you’re using to flush. This is a clear sign that nutrients have been flushed out of the soil.
If you’re flushing before a harvest, make sure your plants are ready. When using soil, flush two weeks before harvest. When using an inert growing medium, flush one week before harvest. But remember that even when you perform a successful flush, there is still the small matter of drying and curing the weed.
8 – Consider Water Curing
The process of water curing is still relatively unused, but an increasing number of growers are switching from the classic glass jar method. Water curing is faster and purer and involves dissolving built-up sugars and salts rather than waiting for the plant to break them down. The unwanted solids will dissolve in water, but THC and resin glands remain safe because they are insoluble.
While you can use tap water, water from a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system is better. All you need is your freshly harvested buds, RO water, and containers. It is a good idea to at least trim away the larger fan leaves before submerging your buds in water at a temperature of between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you keep the containers closed at all times and change the water at least once a day.
As your buds stay submerged, the process of osmosis is ongoing as the water is becoming saturated with the plants’ sugars and salts. Experts now believe that changing the water several times a day provides the best results. After 3-7 days, the water should be clear which means there are practically no solids left to extract.
At this stage, hang your buds upside down to dry in the usual manner. If you’re in a hurry, you can quick-dry the buds without having to worry about the normal side effects, which may include headaches and a harsh smoke. If you’re not happy with your current curing method, why not give water curing a try?