If you are an experienced grower, you would know growing marijuana outdoors can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it comes with challenges. Don’t worry. Here you will learn some practical ways to prevent and control certain pests from gaining a foothold in your outdoor weed plant harvest.
There are many kinds of pests that are drawn to cannabis plants. Pests pose a serious threat to the successful cultivation of outdoor marijuana plants, especially for growers aiming for a healthy and bountiful harvest. These unwanted visitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, targeting different parts of the plant and causing a loss of productivity. Compared to indoor harvests, outdoor growers face higher vulnerability to pest invasions due to exposure to the elements and the presence of field and forest critters.
Thankfully, over hundreds of years, humans have developed unique methods to control pests to create a blissfully pest-free growing environment.
Some of the most common cannabis pests include leaf miners, spider mites, whitefly, thrips, cabbage loopers, and aphids. Many people refer to inch-long looper caterpillars as “budworms.”
Depending on the region you grow in, you might experience different pests than others. Regardless of where you are, you want to nip the problem in the bud before it grows.
You must consider how badly these pests bother your cannabis crop before determining how you will treat it.
One important thing to consider is the health of your cannabis plants, which all starts in the soil. A plant with high-quality soil made up of quality compost, rich organic matter, and worms, will be able to fend off pests better than a plant in dry, nutrient-lacking soil.
The same thing goes if you grow your cannabis in synthetic fertilizer.
A few things you might consider adding to your soil to improve your plant health include:
While there are many insects you might fear seeing around your plants, there are many that you would like to welcome with open arms. There are insects you can introduce to your crop to fight off other pest insects. Some of the best examples of good insects include lacewings and ladybugs.
Ladybugs are ferocious little predators. They’ll kill everything from spider mites to whiteflies to aphids and beyond.
When releasing ladybugs, ensure you release them near a good food source so that they stick around. You should also make sure to release them at night so they rest in the environment you want them.
Conventional methods involve the application of chemicals to deter pests, but they often come with drawbacks. Many pesticides are harmful to your environment and unsuitable for human consumption. Additionally, using such chemicals puts your precious cannabis crop at risk of contamination.
Fortunately, there are alternative methods available to outdoor growers for minimizing pest invasions and the resulting damage. By employing these beneficial approaches, growers can protect their plants and reduce the loss caused by pests should an invasion occur.
For example, you can choose to go with organic pest-control compounds, which can ward off unwanted pests while keeping your soil healthy. There are plenty to choose from, so make sure to do your research to find the right product for your environment.
Companion planting offers an excellent, holistic, and natural solution to ward off unwanted invaders in your outdoor weed garden. The beauty of this approach lies not only in pest control but also in the opportunity to enhance diversity by introducing other plant species. Some companion plants can even serve as a delicious addition to your dinner table.
Companion planting involves surrounding your cannabis crop with plant allies that generate positive effects, including reduced risks of pests and diseases. Unlike monocultures, where rows of the same plant species dominate, companion planting imitates the diverse ecosystems found in untouched nature.
The presence of diverse plant species within a polyculture increases local biodiversity to benefits multiple species, ultimately boosting the overall health and vitality of the ecosystem. By incorporating your marijuana crop into a polyculture system instead of isolating them on a cleared plot, you can effectively recreate a natural setting that protects your plants from pests.
Some examples of plant allies for your outdoor cannabis grow include garlic, mint, melissa, coriander, peppermint, and basil.
The strong aroma of mint confusing pests acts as a protective shield for weed plants. However, since mint has a tendency to spread rapidly, you should limit its growth to pots. Garlic chives also emit a powerful scent that confuses cannabis field invaders, and their leaves make an excellent garnish for culinary dishes.
In addition to companion planting, several other methods can help protect your outdoor cannabis grow from dangerous pests. Read on to learn about more such methods.
Introducing beneficial insects into your outdoor cannabis garden can serve as a form of natural pest management strategy. For instance, parasitic wasps can effectively control caterpillar populations in your field, which can cause significant damage to your weed plants. Female wasps inject their eggs into living caterpillars, and the hatched larvae consume the caterpillars from the inside out. Though it may sound less appealing, this natural approach greatly benefits the health, vitality, and productivity of your marijuana (weed) crop. Another insect, called praying mantis, is known for its appetite for caterpillars.
Sterilizing your soil is a proactive step to eliminate potential invasions from pests. Exposing your potting soil to high temperatures through a steam sterilization or solarization can help eliminate many harmful organisms.
You can strategically place sticky pads around your marijuana plants to catch airborne pests such as gnats. When these pests land on the sticky pads, they become trapped, helping to reduce their numbers.
To create a protective barrier against ground-dwelling pests like ants, diatomaceous earth can be used, which consists of microscopic fossilized shards. When anti-cannabis insects come into contact with sharp particles, they experience damage.
Neem oil, derived from the neem tree, is an effective deterrent for many anti-weed pests, including cannabis aphids. A mixture of neem oil and water, applied with a mister, helps combat various invaders.
While we have focused on smaller anti-marijuana pests, larger creatures like birds can also pose a threat to your cannabis plants, particularly during the seed production stage. Erecting netting around your crop can effectively deter birds from approaching your plants while still allowing adequate sunlight penetration into your outdoor marijuana garden. However, it’s worth noting that birds can be beneficial too, as they prey on pests like caterpillars.
For outdoor gardens where pets, like cats and dogs, may roam freely, it’s important to take steps to protect your plants from their mischief. Training your pets to respect your outdoor marijuana grow can allow them to enjoy the outdoors without harming your plants. In cases where additional security is required, fences and netting can be employed.
By implementing these techniques, you can create a thriving and naturally resilient outdoor cannabis garden, safeguarded from pest invasions.
What is the best pesticide for outdoor cannabis plants?
Insects are a big threat to outdoor cannabis grows, but using toxic pesticides can do more harm than good. So, you need to choose a product that is less toxic. Spinosad is usually considered one of the best pesticides for organic and outdoor growers, as it is less toxic to many beneficial insects and spider and very toxic to many harmful pests.
What is one of the most common pests in a cannabis garden?
Cannabis aphids are one of the most common pests in a cannabis garden. They are a serious threat to both indoor and outdoor marijuana harvests. Other common pests include barnacles, caterpillars, crickets, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, fungus gnats, and inchworms.
What do you spray on cannabis pests?
You can spray neem oil on cannabis pests. Extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, neem oil is a natural pesticide that can effectively kill and control soft-bodied pesticides, like spider mites, white flies, mealybugs, thrips, and cannabis aphids. Many of these insects are so common to outdoor weed plants.
How often should I spray my cannabis plants for bugs?
While the need and frequency for spraying your cannabis plants for bugs will depend on your unique circumstances, weekly sprays during the vegetative phase can strengthen the resistance of your weed plants against bugs and other pests. You can use a foliar spray made from insecticidal soap to kill various harmful insects.
If you face any issues in controlling, killing, or keeping pests away from your outdoor cannabis garden, just let us know. Give our professional staff a call at 877-262-6192 today! We value every call and message we receive and we will get back to you as soon as possible.