Top tips to design a clone room

Many growers start their cultivation with clones rather than seeds. On the one hand, clones ensure a better stability and consistent results, while seeds can be a bit finicky. However, on the other hand, clones are exceptionally susceptible to even the slightest change in the growing environment. So, setting up a clone room in your cultivation facility is definitely the opposite of a walk in the park. “It’s not easy,” says George Dickinson, equipment and cultivation specialist at GrowHaus. GrowHaus was previously known as CannaPro, and George has personally worked on designing hundreds of cannabis cultivation facilities. “When we are talking about genetics and tissue culture, it’s important to be prepared for something that is not easy. A lot of growers grow a mother plant, take a cutting, and put it under a dome, and you’d see these trays everywhere. That’s a relatively easy thing to do, but genetics is probably the most important aspect, as the final yield is also based on that.”

Just like a detective novel 
George continues to explain that when he designs cannabis facilities, he works backwards, from the end to the start. “For instance, if you have 10 flower rooms, with 500 plants in each room. You need to make sure that the veg room can support that number of plants each cycle. Bluntly put, is there enough space in each area of the grow? Are you able to produce enough clones each week for veg and then flower? So, you go back to the clone room and have to make sure that you have enough space for your clones. At the same time, there needs to be an easy connection between the mother plants and the clone room, thus, you have to go back to spacing. Mother plants are typically quite big, so you need to allocate enough room for mothers. Typically a grow facility will need to dedicate approximately 25% of their space to Mother/Veg/Clone operations. That’s a lot, and not necessarily revenue generating areas of a facility but rather cost generating areas. We are now seeing clients walk away completely from housing their own genetics and purchasing tissue cultured clones from specialized producers.”

The complexity of clone rooms
Holistic thinking is then necessary to nail down a properly functioning clone room, especially because the environmental conditions in there can be very different from the other rooms’. “The climate in the clone room is very different from the climate in the veg or flower room,” George points out. “Growers need to be able to precisely control the clone room, possibly even more than the other rooms. That’s why, for instance, you should definitely install LEDs. Not only because you’d be able to control the spectrum and the light intensity, but also and especially because it produces much less heat and light when compared to HPS lamps, thus facilitating better climate control.” Yet, there’s another aspect that is as important as mastering the environment. “Sanitation and hygiene should be at the top of the list,” George says. “The cloning room should be hospital grade clean all the time. The room must be designed in such a way that makes it easy to keep it clean and sanitize it. On top of this, you also need to consider the GMP or Health Canada specifications, and the cleaning you do should comply with that.”

Hygiene and sanitation
For that, GrowHaus has developed a unique sanitation solution and products to specifically address the needs mentioned above of commercial cannabis growers. “When it comes to cleaning, nobody I have met actually likes to clean,” George chuckles. “So, we have developed a faster, safer, and more effective solution specifically tailored for cannabis facilities. Little plantlets are very susceptible to pest and disease pressure, and if they get infected, your yield will be affected as well. On top of that, there’s the additional problem of having your product tested, and labs look for microbial loads, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. Our one-step cleaning and disinfectant product SHYIELD uses AHP technology (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide) and uses the same technology used in 95% of hospitals and is even used on the International Space Station. So you know it is safe - and it works.”

Thus, it all comes down to starting clean, staying clean, and controlling the environment in the cloning room to the tightest parameter. Growers have to fend many enemies off their cannabis plants, with some pathogens being particularly dangerous for a grower’s bottom line. “Research in the US has shown that 50% of the tested cultivation sites had the Hop Latent Viroid. This viroid is estimated to drive an annual $4 billion loss in the US cannabis industry. This is because there isn’t yet an effective way to get rid of it: if you don’t catch it on time, all your plants need to be trashed, and the site needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Prevention and clean genetics are the only way to go, and if you keep everything clean, follow the proper sanitation protocols, and provide your clones with what they need, chances of getting HLVd are extremely reduced. I can’t stress enough how important it is to rely on strong and clean genetics. This is why Growhaus has teamed up with 12 breeders and now offers virus tested and clean starter material to our clients.”

For more information:
GrowHaus Supply
GrowHuas Projects

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