wind burn weed

Protecting Cannabis From Wind Damage

Thinking ahead to protect your cannabis from wind damage avoids the heartbreak of destroyed plants after heavy storms. Protecting your plants is easy. With a bit of forethought and minimum expenditure, you can be guaranteed nuggets in the jar—no matter the weather.


Wind is your frenemy. Moving air provides numerous benefits for cannabis. It helps with continuous gas exchange at the leaf stomata. Furthermore, a stiff breeze causing the plant to sway and bend causes beneficial micro-injuries in the stem and stalks. The plant responds with more vigorous growth and becomes stronger as extra tissues form as reinforcement.

However, when getting thrashed by strong winds, gales, and storms, cannabis can become badly damaged. Plants can be uprooted or fall over completely. Branches can be broken or stalks snapped clean through. Leaves can be shredded and swollen central colas that are in heavy flower can break irreparably.

Protecting and reinforcing plants against such heartbreaking happenings is easy and inexpensive. It is better to plan for the worst and hope for the best when maintaining your delicious cannabis plants. Following these few simple tips will make sure your weed is windproof in all but the fiercest cyclonic conditions.


  • It is generally inadvisable to rigidly secure cannabis in any way. Some flexibility allows the plant some natural motion. This will prevent, for example, stakes being pulled out or cages being blown away with your weed.
  • Plant cannabis close to fences or dense border plants that can act as a windbreak. Rows of trees and hedges are nature’s own defences. Avoid a too-packed weed garden as root competition can hinder plant growth in the fight for nutrients.
  • Make your own windbreak. Shade cloth, bamboo matting, or store-bought lattice fixed to pickets driven into the ground are all viable solutions. Tarpaulins tend to act as sails and may do more damage when they come free from their moorings.
  • Avoid staking plants with a single stake then tying them tightly. In high winds, they can snap at the tie point. Drive in two or three stakes around the plant, then run something forgiving from stake to stake. Avoid wire or string, as this can be an edge on which plants may still break. Thick rope or an old bike tire tube are ideal. This allows for movement of the plant to reap the benefits of wind.
  • Top and trim plants. Bushier plants are less likely to sway and bend.
  • Make a cage from large mesh wire (not chicken wire—the mesh size is too small). Stake the cage into the ground or fix at the bottom only with tent pegs. Top the plants and feed the branches through the openings in the mesh wire as they grow. Only a very fierce wind could wreck this arrangement. Undershuck branches to enhance the canopy at the cage edges.
  • If you are using companion planting, clover and alfalfa under plants provide a dense mat that will prevent roots from being torn out. Two rows of corn acts as a great windbreak and provides nutritious meals at harvest. If you like DMT, Phalaris grasses grow tall enough to act as a windbreak for shorter species of cannabis and do not have an invasive root system.

Protecting your cannabis from wind damage is an easy and inexpensive exercise that will ensure you get the most buds possible come harvest .

Wind Burn

Most indoor cannabis growers use fans to blow air around within the grow area. This creates a nice breezy environment that cannabis plants love. But sometimes there can be too much breeze!

Be Careful! Too Much Wind Causes Clawed Leaves and Sometimes Spots

When there’s too much breeze, the affected marijuana leaves will start getting “wind-burned.”

Wind-burned leaves are often curved under and form “claws.” They can look like they’re droopy from overwatering, underwatering, or possible a nitrogen toxicity, but you know you’ve got wind-burn when the leaves in front of the fan are clawing, and leaves further away from the fan look fine.

Just for reference, here’s what too much wind/fan looks like!

Too Much Fan!

Sometimes too high levels of wind can cause other unusual problems on the affected leaves, such as brown or bronze spots that almost look like burn marks. These are the result of the leaf not being able to fulfill all its normal processes.

A closeup of those wind burn leaf spots – not bugs, not a nutrient deficiency!

Placing Fans

Ideally you’d like a nice breeze surrounding the main canopy, which means you want air blowing above and under the plants.

All the leaves should be gently rustling in the best-case scenario, but should never be waving around.

Don’t point a strong fan directly at a plant, because too much wind can start to damage the leaves and stems. Sometimes if you have a small space it’s better to point the fan at the wall than directly at the plants.

After placing fans, check around the grow area to make sure that all parts get a slight breeze. If you feel stagnant air or a lack or breeze, you may want to adjust your fans.

Small oscillating fans are great for the grow space since they’re cheap and can be used to provide a nice gentle breeze to a relatively wide area without blowing on any one part too long.

If you cannot get rid of the clawing symptoms from marijuana wind burn, please consult our 7-Step Remedy to 99% of Cannabis Growing Problems for more help!

Plant Symptoms

  • Bronze or brown patches
  • Brown or slimy roots
  • Brown or yellow leaf tips/edges
  • Buds dying
  • Buds look odd
  • Bugs are visible
  • Curling or clawing leaves
  • Dark leaves
  • Drooping plant
  • Holes in leaves
  • Mold or powder
  • Pink or purple on leaves
  • Red stems
  • Shiny or smooth leaves
  • Spots or markings
  • Twisted growth
  • Webbing
  • Wilting leaves
  • Yellow between leaf veins
  • Yellow leaves

This page is part of our Plant Doctor series. You can use our tool to filter by symptom and help diagnose your plant.

Exposure to too much breeze from the fan can affect the cannabis leaves to start to curl and "claw." Learn about wind burn and how to prevent it.