Powdery Mildew and Bamboo Stakes
Could cannabis growers be introducing powdery mildew (PM) to their gardens with bamboo stakes? While I don't have a definitive answer, there is a body of anecdotal evidence that suggests it is possible to infect plants with PM transferred by bamboo.
My PM curiosity was triggered by a grower I met at CannaGrowExpo in Denver last month. While chatting about various methods to support plants he asked; Do you ever see PM or mold develop on bamboo just above the surface of the soil?
"Mildew and molds are fungi - simple microscopic organisms that thrive anywhere there is a moist environment. Mildew (mold in early stage) and molds grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpets, drywall, fabric, plants, foods, insulation, decaying leaves and other organic materials." (FEMA.gov)
Bamboo is known for disease resistance, but it is not exempt from carrying mold and mildew spores. Mold/mildew spores lie dormant in bamboo culms until growth is triggered by moisture and bamboo stakes in soil are constantly exposed to moisture.
"I noticed that a couple of the bags (bamboo) had stakes that were covered in what looked like PM and I tossed them." THCfarmer.com
Most bamboo is shipped in containers from Asia. Containers experience what is known as "cargo sweat" where a tropical damp climate is created in a closed container, setting up ideal conditions to trigger spores. Quite often bamboo stakes arrive at your local store with active mildew growth from the cargo sweat.
Whether the bamboo you use was shipped in a container or was grown in your backyard, it has a high propensity to be a carrier of mildew spores that might transfer to your precious garden. Any grower who has lost their crop to PM would tell you, there is no bamboo cheap enough to risk your garden over.
Virtually all bamboo in any form can carry mold/mildew spores. A grower should weigh the risks of bamboo against other non porous alternatives that might be slightly more expensive, however not prone to fungus infections.
- Gary Memelstein