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7 Ways to Keep Pests off Your Plants

Mar 10, 2020
Animal and Insect Pests

7 Ways to Keep Pests off Your Plants 

Keeping pests away from plants is something that all gardeners will deal with. Birds, insects, and mammals are the typical culprits for destroying plants. If left unchecked, these pests can ruin an entire crop of plants. The struggle for gardeners is repelling the pests without damaging the crop. Many chemical treatments are harmful and can cause damage to other plants or animals in the area. Using chemicals can also have long term harmful effects on the person distributing them, or those smoking buds that have not been properly flushed. There are some safe and effective natural alternatives to chemicals in the war on pests, so let’s take a look at them one by one.

Soil and Fertilizer

Normal potting soil can harbor the eggs or larvae of some common marijuana plant pests. You may not realize that you have a problem with your potting soil and there isn’t a great way to detect potential problems. The safest solution is to sterilize your soil. The sterilization process can be done at home with a few simple steps. You need to bake the soil until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. At this temperature, any eggs, larvae or bacteria will be killed. The baking time will vary depending on the amount of soil, but the process should take about 45 minutes. You need to monitor the temperature during the process to make sure it doesn’t go over 190 degrees. At that point, the soil will become unusable.

To maintain the proper soil composition, add a 3 percent solution of peroxide to each gallon of soil. You only need this when baking very large amounts of soil. When you finish cooking your soil, remember to add some fertilizer to it before planting. Steer clear of fertilizers that are time-release or slow-release formulas. These fertilizers might work for regular plants, but they will not be effective with marijuana. Look for products that contain a mixture of cottonseed meal, phosphate, wood ash, limestone and kelp meal, which are all naturally derived.

Natural Repellent Buddy Plants 

Having a buddy around to keep pests away is always a good strategy. Within your marijuana garden, it is helpful to put in some natural repellent plants. The THC within marijuana provides some natural repellent but, in the early stages of growth, it is not abundant enough to be very effective. Geraniums and marigolds are plants that can keep insects away from your weed plants. When you plant a few of these flowers, you will also give your garden a better look. Basil is another plant that will help repel insects. Informal observations from plant growers have also made a note that basil seems to produce more oil and more flavor within the marijuana plants. You can also use basil in many recipes once it is ready for harvesting, such as pesto or stir-fry’s.

Nitrogen is a key ingredient for marijuana plants to grow healthy and strong. Gardeners can plant beans to help bring more nitrogen into the soil. Bean plants take in nitrogen from the air and turn that into nitrates they release into the soil. This will make the soil richer and help plants avoid dying because of a lack of nitrogen.

Garlic has a good deal of health benefits, so it is a great food to add to a regular diet. Putting garlic plants in a garden will also provide a natural pest repellent and mold inhibitor. There are a variety of diseases that garlic will help to prevent. If you don’t have room in the garden for the garlic plants, you can also get garlic extract that you can spray on the plants.

Mint is another plant that has proven itself to be a natural pest repellent. It has been used to keep insects and rodents away from cannabis for many years. The aroma of mint is what will help keep a cannabis garden pest-free. As a garden becomes more mature, the smell of the mint can also help mask the smell of mature marijuana plants. Mint is an aggressive plant, so you need to watch it once you plant it. Keeping it in a pot will prevent it from spreading throughout the garden and choking out space for other plants. Mint is a good compliment for many meals so you will find many uses in your kitchen as the plant matures.

If you live in an area where you have large amounts of rainfall, planting chili pepper plants is a good idea. These plants have a root system that helps drain water through the soil, and the roots give off a chemical that will protect marijuana plants. The chili pepper plants will also help keep away the more destructive animals like deer, mice, and rabbits. Like mint and basil, the pepper plants will make a good addition to an ingredient list and help you create some new recipes in the kitchen.

Introduce Predators 

If you are growing marijuana plants outdoors, you will encounter more pests that want to eat plants compared to indoor growing environments. Besides putting in some buddy plants, you can introduce some predators that will eat the pests. Ladybugs are predators for many of the pests that will try to eat garden plants. They will eat the larvae of many pests and the pests themselves. Ladybugs can be purchased for a few dollars. You can also plant pollen-producing plants like sunflowers to help attract native beetles to your garden area. Another option is to introduce some lacewings into the garden. This is another natural predator that can help control pests.

Birds love to eat insects and pests in the garden. You can put up birdhouses and bird feeders to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden area. Bluebirds, Cardinals, Chickadees, and Orioles are all birds that love to eat larvae and insects. They will watch over your cannabis crop to look for their next meal.

Use Animal Urine 

That’s right, animal urine is one way you can keep pests away. If you are having issues with larger animals like deer, rabbits or mice, you can purchase urine from animals they are afraid of. Many outdoor stores or sporting goods stores sell this product because it is something that hunters often use to attract animals to certain areas. If deer, rabbits or mice smell the urine of an animal they fear, they will avoid the area altogether. If you don’t want to make a trip to the local outdoor store, you can purchase animal urine here.

Fencing and Insect Repellents 

If plants are growing on private land and you continue to have issues with larger pests, a fence might be the best solution. There are many fencing options that will be simple to install. Fencing material can also make the garden more attractive. A solid fence, such as one made of wood, is a good option because it will completely block the garden from the pest animals. If they can’t see what is in the garden, they are more likely to leave it alone. Wire mesh fences secured to posts also work well to keep out animals. If deer are not an issue, this fence is a good option. However, if the wire mesh fences are only three or four feet high, deer will jump right over them to munch on your marijuana plants leaves. Electric fences also work to keep animals out, but you need to take more care with the installation and maintenance of these fences.

Much like a scene from Star Wars, you can create a force field around your cannabis garden by using a permethrin-based insect repellent. Spray the repellent in a circle on the ground 8 feet away from the garden. This way the repellent will not come into contact with your garden, but will keep insects from entering the area. Permethrin is a powerful insecticide that will kill the bugs upon contact.

If you don’t want to buy a harsh chemical repellent, you can make your own repellent insecticide and spray it directly on your plants. A common mixture that works well is a combination of vegetable oil and soap. One cup of oil mixed with one tablespoon of soap is the base. Mix that concoction with one quart of water and you are ready to go. You can put several additives in the mixture to make it more effective. Garlic and chili powder are both ingredients that will keep pests away.

The best way to apply the homemade insecticide is by using a handheld tank sprayer. You can mix your ingredients in the sprayer and then cover your plants with a thin coating, trying to avoid any buds if the flowers are already starting to develop. The soap and oil will help the mixture adhere to the plants for several weeks. Apply the mixture to the plants on a sunny day when the wind is calm. If the solution has enough time to dry, it will be effective for up to 30 days.

It is important to test any homemade mixture on a small area of a plant to see if it will cause any damage. Different marijuana plants could react differently to insecticides, so use a test area each time you spray. Spray the test area and give it at least a day to see how the plant will react.

You now have several options in your toolbox to control pests in your garden. Each of the above options is effective against different pests, and you can use many in combination to give you complete coverage. The fewer pests you have in your garden, the more productive the garden will be. In other words, less bugs equals better buds. Start with seeds from i49 USA for the best possible outcome.

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