Be it pests or mold that are compromising the quality of your cannabis crop, one simple rule reigns supreme. Prevention beats cure.
The good news is that with a little understanding of what to look for and taking early precautionary measures, both can quite easily be avoided. This is regardless of whether you are farming indoors, outdoors or in a greenhouse.
In this article, we'll take a look at the essentials to prevent these pests without using chemicals that will compromise the quality of your grow. CBD seeds for sale options can be found here.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the term used for how organic growers manage to eliminate pests from bothering their crops. There are volumes of books written about this in exacting detail, but for our purposes, we'll cover the essentials here.
The only thing to be aware of is that we're talking about organic grows which do not use hybrid/engineered plants or synthetic pesticides. If you head down that route such artificial options can be incredibly effective – but the problem is you will have a synthetic and non-organic final harvest – and quite possibly compromised soil for future grows.
Foliar sprays ought to be the first port of call when dealing with a pest infestation (it can also be used to prevent infestation in the first place). Assuming you already have a bug problem, it is important to be able to identify what kind of species it is there is no universal treatment.
Details can be found in any good gardening encyclopedia.
A good example would be the very common Fungus Gnats which are notorious for the speed they reproduce at and gobble up your crop. All they need is a biological larvicide which destroys their reproductive capacity while causing no damage to your plants.
Aromatic oils can even be used (peppermint etc) as a preventative measure which once more will not damage your plants but spook away any inquisitive insects.
Another sensible precaution that works for any farmer is 'companion' planting. This involves mixing up your grow with an assortment of other – far more attractive – plants to create a shield.
Herbs such as basil and mint are popular as they grow fast and will appeal to bugs far more than your core grow. While obviously not 100% preventative in the long term, it can buy valuable time.
Last but not least – and likely of particular interest to outdoor growers – is the option of 'fighting fire with fire'. Introducing predatory bugs to your crop can be extremely effective, but just like using foliar sprays it is essential to identify the right predator for the job.
Using fungus gnats as an example again, Gaeolaelaps are a great option as not only do they love fungus gnats with every meal but will happily gobble up most everything else as well. Once again, just do your research first.
Arguably an even more common issue than pests, mold can absolutely devastate a crop within a couple of weeks. It can also be difficult to identify at the early stages which is why careful/sensible growers look over their crop on a daily basis.
When it comes to cannabis there are two kinds which account for the overwhelming majority of problems:
Also known as 'Bud Rot' generally grows from the roots up making it particularly awkward to initially identify.
Most growers first notice issues when their leaves and eventually buds turn into either a crumbly composition (low humidity) or a sludge (high humidity).
Either way, those parts are ruined and even worse it spreads incredibly easily and quickly.
Mildew is more easy to spot as it tends to gradually affect the whole plant with a kind of white/silvery dust.
The problem is that as it spreads, it inhibits the plant's photosynthesis causing it to inevitably die without treatment. Once again, at advanced stages, black spores will emerge which easily spread to other plants.
Both of these examples have the proven capacity to entirely devastate entire crops. But on the plus side, the same simple principles can be used to prevent either from being likely to develop.
Both need to be subject to humid/damp conditions, stagnant air and cool temperatures to grow.
Indoor growers will find it easier to manage these factors by ensuring that they do not plant their crop too closely, allow for a consistent temperature (20C is perfect) and easy airflow. Outdoors is much trickier especially in areas with heavy regular rainfall and erratic climates (one of the reasons why greenhouses are ever more popular).
In regards to treatment – the best and most straightforward solution is simply to cut your loses and remove that plant from the grow. You can try to trim off infected parts if caught early enough, but it's very likely to have already spread microscopic spores elsewhere already.
Even worse, once the growing area has been afflicted by mold it is near impossible to fully remove or prevent it coming back. There is quite simply a fundamental problem with the temperature, circulation, and humidity which must be addressed from scratch.
You can – of course – resort to artificial options but of course that's down to you.
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