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Pests can do incredible damage to your outdoor marijuana plants when left unattended. The amount of different insects that could infest your planting area is as diverse as the ways for dealing with it. Every grower figures out what works best for them according to their location, ethics, and budget.
Outdoor pest control
Contrary to what you might assume, it’s much easier to deal with pests outdoors than if you are growing your marijuana plants indoors. This is for one simple reason: indoors, your plants are the sole source of food for pests, making it easy to have an infestation grow and spread quickly.
outdoors, on the other hand, already has a natural ecosystem to maintain balance. Insects reside in the soil, on leaves, and everywhere else, but they won’t get out of control because the ecosystem keeps everything well-balanced.
Because cannabis is a fast-growing plant, any damage caused by insects or other pests will quickly be repaired from the plant’s own natural response. Cannabis’ vegetative phase is the period when it can heal itself. Your plants are the most easily damaged when they are very young. Therefore, it is most important to take preventative action during this time, as the negative consequences of a pest invasion is that much more important.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more about bugs and pests
You have a lot to pay attention to during the first two months of your plants’ growth. Be sure to pay equal attention to ensuring that pests don’t get your plants, alongside all the other issues you are dealing with to ensure a healthy, strong beginning to your plants’ growing season.
So which insects might cause you the most trouble? You should focus the most on slugs, snails, caterpillars, leaf-eating insects, and beetles. The methods for repelling these insects span from natural to artificial or chemical pesticides or repellants. Since the flowers are being produced for your own consumption, you have to pay extra care to knowing exactly what chemicals you are putting on your plants or in your soil. A product like marijuana plant protector is developed especially for marijuana plants.
Using predators for pest control
Creatures that are predators are more than just lions and tigers and bears. Ladybugs, praying mantises, and lacewings are all examples of predators you can use to your advantage when dealing with outdoor plant pests. Because they are so widely used in the gardening world, you can purchase them commercially. They are often bred specifically for this purpose, so they should not be too difficult to find (you can buy live ladybugs or lacewings at this link)
When discussing it with a breeder, you should be able to get some information such as how to use the insects as efficiently and effectively as possible, as well as which pests they can be expected to eat. If you know what type of insects are usually the most problematic in your growing site location, then this information is particularly helpful. If you have a small cannabis garden, however, don’t count on this being an effective method of controlling pests, as the predators won’t have enough food to maintain them.
Insects aren’t the only type of predator you can use for this purpose. If your grow site is located close to a river or stream, you might find success from using frogs, turtles, and lizards to ward off other insects. You can do this simply by leaving food for them near your grow site every once in a while. Birds can be used in a similar way, encouraging them to visit with birdseed and bird feeders.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips
While you are dealing with a pest problem, don’t lose track of the fact that you need to maintain secrecy and subtlety at all times. If your grow site is teeming with insects and other animals, it might attract attention. As long as you respect the surrounding environment for how it is naturally, your cannabis plants will remain safe and won’t have problems growing.
During the first two months, as you are watering and paying attention to the myriad other problems that might be hindering growth, make sure that pests are kept under control. The insects that you’ll want to pay the most attention to are slugs, snails, caterpillars, leaf-eating insects, and beetles. There are a few different means by which you can control these pests, using natural and artificial pesticides and repellents. Obviously, since you are going to be smoking the flowers of these plants later, you want to pay special attention to the chemicals with which you treat them.
Today you can easily find both nonorganic and organic insecticides because of the success of the organic movement. How do organic insecticides work if they don’t contain chemicals? They function through copying the effects of a plant’s natural pesticides. They are more effective than the plant simply because they are far more concentrated.
Because of its superior strength, pyrethrum is extremely popular amongst growers who use organic insecticides. It can work against a large variety of different pests. Some store-bought insecticides need to be diluted with water while others do not; be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Even though organic insecticides don’t contain chemicals, they still can kill beneficial insects and mammals along with the harmful ones. They could even kill those predators that you have been using to keep the pests away! Therefore, you have to remember to use any kind of pesticide, organic or no, as little as possible.
Unless your outdoor cannabis plants are being completely destroyed by pests, you shouldn’t use much at all. You should also be decreasing your use of pesticides as time goes on; the more mature your plant is, the more effective its own natural defenses are, so you shouldn’t need to use any pesticides at all once they are fully mature.
You can go one more step back from organic insecticides and use remedies that you make yourself at home to protect your young cannabis plants from harmful pests. Try diluting two tablespoons of soap in a gallon of water and misting your plants with it. It should be evenly applied to your entire plant. Make sure that you let it sit for a couple minutes and then spray the entire plant with normal water to wash off the soap since it could damage the plant if left there for too long.
Download my free marijuana grow guide for more outdoor pest control
This isn’t the only home remedy that can be commonly used by growers. You can find many more recipes online, especially on homeopathic gardening sites. Garlic mixtures, for instance, have beetle repelling properties, while adding alcohol to the above soapy water solution keeps snails and slugs away.
Be careful with these recipes, however; alcohol can strip your plant of its beneficial resin production. Make sure you follow the home remedy instructions exactly, paying special attention to the quantity you put on the plant, how long it should remain on the plant, what exactly the purpose of it is, and how much you should dilute it. More tips and tricks to control pests in the article Marijuana pest control
Most plants that are able to grow in the wild have evolved to have a toxin-producing ability that repels many pests. You can use other types of plants with this same ability to control pests. It is an effective way to accomplish the same thing while avoiding the use of insecticides completely.
Mints, cabbages, and odorous plants such as onions are all examples of types of plants that repel many different kinds of aphids and beetles. Onions have the additional quality of repelling rabbits and deer. As for leaf-eating insects and insects that bore (such as worms or beetles), try geraniums and marigolds.
This type of gardening is called “companion planting.” It is not only useful for repelling pests, but also for camouflaging your cannabis growing area. The companion plants need to be planted close to your cannabis, but not so close that they cause competition for water and nutrients. They can also be mixed right in with your cannabis for full effectiveness.
These companion plants add an extra element of gardening, as you will have to learn how to grow them and maintain their health effectively. Be sure you have a complete understanding of how to grow these other plants, and make sure you choose ones that would naturally grow in the area anyway.
If you do that, your companion plants will have a better chance of survival and camouflage, and they will do a better job of repelling pesky insects. You should be able to find this information online, at a nursery, or from the same source where you buy your marijuana seeds from.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.
The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]