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Minimize outdoor cannabis pests

May 12, 2020
Animal and Insect Pests

Pest and Bug Control for Outdoor Cannabis Plants

Gardeners have been dealing with pest control for hundreds of years, and medical marijuana seed cultivators are no exception. Whether they’re mammals, insects, birds, or other people, pests seem to flock to these crops. While most people don’t eat cannabis plants, some pests seem to love the taste. If left untreated, a pest infestation can ruin an entire crop. Though harsh chemicals can cause later damage, it’s easy to prevent. To avoid such problems, we’ve made a list of effective, safe repellents and precautions that will keep pests away from your plants.

Use Sterilized Fertilizer and Soil

The biggest problem with an unsterilized growth medium is that it may contain eggs or larvae of some of the most common cannabis pests. If you’re growing a crop in that kind of soil, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise when those eggs hatch. This is less of a problem for outdoor seed growers, as natural predators abound. However, it’s still worth considering.

It’s easy to sterilize soil at home; simply slide it into the oven and bake it to an internal temperature of 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This step kills all seeds, weeds, pests, and molds. For larger amounts of soil, use 2.5 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide for every gallon. Once the soil has been sterilized, don’t forget to add clean fertilizer.

Perform Some Companion Planting

Your young tropicana cookies plant or bruce banner strain cannabis plants could use a few friends to keep them safe! Adding a few naturally repellent plant varieties will help to keep the pests away. Though the THC-rich sticky trichomes of the cannabis plant are a natural pest repellent, you’ll need more help during the seedling stage.

Pungent plants such as marigolds and geraniums will repel most worms and leaf-eaters, while onions will ward off pests such as rabbits and deer. Here are a few other companion plants cannabis loves.

  • Basil: A long-standing favorite, basil’s strong scent repels aphids, beetles, thrips, and flies. Some cultivators even believe that it increases the flavor and oil production of cannabis. Though that claim is a source of debate, having some basil in the garden is a great idea.
  • Beans: For nitrogen-deficient gardens, planting a few beans may help. As they grow, they take nitrogen from the air and convert it into nitrites before depositing it into the soil. When beans are companion planted, your plants will grow stronger and healthier.
  • Garlic: Yet another popular companion plant, garlic protects cannabis plants from mold growth and pest infestation. This natural fungicide protects your plants from several other diseases, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be planted right next to the crop. Spray-on spot treatments are equally effective.
  • Mint: Because of its pungent aroma, mint makes a wonderful cannabis companion. Most pests hate its smell and they do everything possible to avoid it. Mint also conceals the smell of blooming marijuana plants, but it should be used with caution as it tends to grow wild. To prevent overgrowth, plant mint in pots instead of the ground.
  • Peppers: Hot peppers are another great way to repel mammals such as rabbits, mice, and deer. These plants’ root systems emit chemicals that protect cannabis plants from root rot, which is particularly useful in areas with excess rainfall or poor drainage.

Companion planting has been in practice for centuries, and its effectiveness is proven. Put these companion plants to work in your cannabis garden!

Encourage the Presence of Natural Predators

If you’re growing cannabis outdoors, natural predators may help keep things in check. For instance, ladybugs will protect outdoor plants because they love to eat larvae and other pests. Live ladybugs are available online, or it may help to can grow companion plants that attract them.

Weed seed growers should encourage birds to build their nests nearby. Birds love to eat some of the most common marijuana pests, and they’re easy to keep around. Simply put out a bird feeder or a birdhouse but do it after the germination stage. After all, many birds like the taste of seeds, including premium cannabis seeds!

Use Animal Urine

This may sound like the start of a juvenile joke, but it really works. Many mammals have keen senses of smell, and if they can detect the presence of predator urine, they’ll stay far away from your crop. These scents are widely available at stores that sell fishing, camping, and hunting gear.

Build a Better Fence

If animals are a concern and the scent of a predator doesn’t keep them away, it may be time to put up a fence. Outdoor growers with private land can easily do it, and the benefits make it a worthwhile investment.

Use Spray Repellents

With permethrin-based repellents, it’s possible to keep insects away without applying the product to the plants themselves. Simply apply the spray to the soil about six feet from each plant. Any insects encountering the repellent will simply die or leave the area.

There are numerous organic repellents to consider. Oil spray is a blend of soap and vegetable oil, while soap spray works equally well to kill thrips, beetles, mites, and aphids. Other natural components, such as garlic, chili powder, and neem oil can be added to these sprays to increase their effectiveness. We’ll give some basic recipes in the sections below.

Oil-Based Insecticides

An oil insecticide spray can be made from vegetable oil and mild soap. This effective, yet simple spray will kill mites and aphids by suffocation. To create the solution, mix one tablespoon of soap with one cup of oil. Mix it well and dilute two teaspoons in one quart of clean water.

Soap-Based Insecticides

Soap-based insecticides are much like oil sprays, but without the oil. The spray kills all insects, but is especially useful for beetles, mites, and whiteflies. Either spray can be used at any hour of the day, but they’re best applied at dusk or dawn. To make a soap spray, mix one and one-half teaspoons of soap with a quart of clean water. Apply it directly to the leaves and stems of your white widow or do-si-dos strain plants.

Neem Oil Insecticides

Neem trees have a natural protectant in the form of an oil that is toxic to insects. The oil disrupts the bugs’ hormones, keeping them far away. Neem oil is safe for all other organisms except for fungi.

A neem oil spray will repel insects and fight fungal infections, and these sprays are widely available at lawn and garden stores. However, it’s easy to make your own by mixing one teaspoon of soap with two teaspoons of oil in one quart of clean water.

Garlic Insecticide Spray

Though garlic is more of a repellent than an insecticide, it’s still an effective way to slow down an infestation. Just spray as required on affected plants. To make the spray, puree two whole bulbs of garlic in a food processor with a bit of water. Let it sit overnight, strain it thoroughly, and mix in one-half cup of vegetable oil, a teaspoon of soap, and enough water to make a quart of solution. Mix one cup of the mixture with a quart of clean water and use as needed.

Chili Repellent

Similarly to garlic, chili pepper is more of a repellent than a pest killer. It’s safe to use in a cannabis garden, but be sure to wear protection on your mouth, nose, eyes, and hands. Make a chili spray out of fresh peppers or chili powder. For fresh peppers, puree one-half cup of peppers and a cup of water, add another quart of water, and bring it to a boil. Cool the mixture, strain away the peppers, and add a drop or two of soap to the liquid mixture. The spray can be applied directly to the plants.

Diatomaceous Earth

This natural resource makes a great natural insecticide. Composed of fossilized microscopic algae, diatomaceous earth dehydrates and kills insects. It’s easy to find, and it only takes a little to get the job done. Simply dust your plants and the surrounding area to keep away slugs, snails, and insects. Be sure to reapply it after a heavy rain.

Tomato Leaf Insecticides

Although it’s a newer remedy, tomato leaves may have natural insecticidal properties. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, which means they contain alkaloids that repel aphids and other harmful insects. Make your own insecticide by steeping two large tomato leaves in a quart of clean water for at least 12 hours. Strain the leaves away and spray the solution directly onto the plants.

The Bottom Line

Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is harder to control pests and bugs indoors than it is with an outdoor crop. There’s a narrow vulnerability window between the germination and seedling stages when plants are grown outdoors. However, when marajuana seeds are grown inside, pests can cause serious damage up until the end of the vegetative stage.

Once there are pests in the garden, it’s very difficult to keep them away from your growing gorilla glue strain  plants. It’s best to try natural and preventive measures to keep bugs from becoming a problem. With the repellents listed in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to a successful crop.

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