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Autumn Color Effect

Autumn Color Effect

Growing marijuana indoors offers growers the opportunity to manipulate their plants to increase yield and quality, using Autumn Color Effect. However it can be easy to forget that nature actually knows what she is doing most of the time.

By removing nitrogen from plants during mid to late flowering it is possible to mimic the fall changes that would occur in wild cannabis growing outdoors. Called the Autumn Color Effect or A.C.E, this technique forces the plant to use its own stored nutrients to finish flowering, as it would in nature, and decreases chlorophyll levels. The end result is higher quality buds. If done properly, yields will not suffer in the least.

Beautiful Fall Marijuana Colors

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Marijuana is an annual plant. This means it goes through its entire lifecycle, from seed to death within one growing season. As with any annual, it is natural for the plant to begin dying as it produces its seeds. Of course, your buds hopefully will not have seeds because you will have removed any male plants early on, but the principle is the same: from mid to late flowering a cannabis plant’s leaves should turn yellow, red or purple. Think of wheat, also an annual, which is completely brown and brittle when the seeds are finally ripe to harvest.

Purpling Leaves on a Kush Plant

By feeding nitrogen all the way through flowering, many growers keep their plants in an artificial state of “health” through the flowering cycle. Their grow rooms are filled with bright green plants on the day of harvest. This is a common practice and it works- yields are good, the bud is good and it gets you high. Whether or not to alter this system is a question of quality: are the buds great? Could they be better?

When nitrogen is removed during the end of the flowering stage the plant produces very little chlorophyll. It is the decrease in chlorophyll that improves the smell and taste of the bud and helps it to burn more easily.

Is Using A.C.E any Different than Flushing ?

There are two big differences:

1. Timing.

Flushing is typically performed beginning one day to one week before harvest to remove any surplus nutrients in the plant. This does create smoother smoking buds, especially if you have been using non-organic nutrients.

2. Type of nutrients withheld

During flushing you feed only water, while the Autumn Color Effect requires only the removal of nitrogen. You can still feed phosphorus and potassium right up until the time you would normally start to flush.

Yellowing Marijuana Leaves with Huge Buds

Timing, timing, timing

Timing is the key to using A.C.E effectively. If you start too early the plant will not have enough nutrients to finish flowering properly and your yields will suffer. Perfectly timed, the early flushing of ACE should result in smoother, tastier and faster burning buds with no reduction in yield.

It is easiest if you know your plants well- this means they are clones you have grown before. You should know these two things about your particular plants:

  • Exact Time to Finish Flowering: more precise than the seed banks stats;
  • Tolerance of Nutrient Changes: how stressed were your plants when you flushed between veg and flower?

Ease into ACE cautiously. It is better to start too late than too early, as you do not want your yields to suffer. Try removing nitrogen from your feeding routine 2 weeks before flower, then fully flushing for the last five to seven days.

Purple, Yellow and Orange Marijuana Leaves

The color of the leaves at harvest will tell you had you did:

  • Yellow/Red/Purple: Your timing is right on
  • Light Green: You started too late
  • Brown or Crispy: You started too early

Light Green Marijuana Leaves near Harvest

To Sum up ACE: Time and Experience

The Autumn Color Effect is a useful technique that can greatly improve the quality of your buds. But it is not easy to get just right, and you should not expect to master it unless you are consistently growing the same clones repeatedly to gain an intimate understanding of their grow cycle.

Trial and error are the only ways to perfect this technique. Put in the effort and time to discover the perfect feeding schedule for your plants. The first time you get ACE just right and are rewarded with a big yield of beautifully smooth, flavorful bud that burn as easily as tobacco, you will be glad you did.

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