How to Keep Cannabis Plants Pest Free Organically
No one wants to discover pests in their grow area, which is why implementing an integrated pest management program into your feeding schedule is an absolute must! By doing so, you can stay on top of any pests that may find their way into your grow area and keep it organic, so no buds are sprayed with yucky chemicals.
What is an integrated pest management program?
To start, integrated pest management is weaved into your regular feeding schedule as it focuses on prevention, monitoring, and control of the grow environment. By integrating in this way, you are able to heavily reduce your need for any pesticides (organic or not).
What is a standard IPM schedule?
It’s important to note that this schedule is most effective when weaved into an organic and natural feeding schedule - not one high in salts or chemical fertilizers.
Alongside your regular feeding schedule, you will also want to perform the following:
Tweetmint or Plant Therapy
Once a week, you will want to add 2-4 ounces of Tweetmint or Plant Therapy per gallon and cover the plants entirely with a foliar spray.
Additionally, once a week, you will want to add 1-3 ounces of EM-5 per gallon and cover the plants entirely with a foliar spray.
Note: You can combine the above applications into one foliar spray. However, if you do this, you should not add more than 5 ounces per gallon total when combined. Also, consider spraying the plants twice a week due to the higher dilution of the two inputs.
Diatomaceous Earth and Beauveria Bassiana
Separate from the other two applications, you will want to combine 4 tablespoons of diatomaceous earth per gallon and 1 milliliter of Beauveria Bassiana per gallon of water for a foliar spray once a week. To ensure optimal coverage, add a wetting agent to the solution such as ThermX or another Yucca Extract. Again, be sure to cover the entire plant including the underside of the leaves.
After applying, avoid using the foliar spray or anything else on the plants for 7 days. This will allow the diatomaceous earth to properly dry and coat the leaves, which is when it’s most effective.
Remember that having diversity in products is key to keeping pests away, so you may find benefits in incorporating other products, such as neem or karanja oil.
Organic Pest Control for Immediate Action
Of course, if your grow area is already dealing with pests, it’s important to know how to eradicate those little guys as quickly as possible! Once they’re under control, it’s recommended to start using the above schedule to prevent any future occurrences.
Below you will find a list of organic inputs to use when dealing with a number of pest problems.
This input is important when it comes to bringing new clones into your grow area. Since you can never be too careful, it’s always a good idea to give each new clone a sulphur dunk prior to letting them into your grow area. You’ll want to add 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Of course, be sure the sulphur dries before placing under the light or you’ll fry the plants.
Additionally, don’t use this within 14 days before or after applying heavy oil-based products like neem oil, and only use it during the vegetative state and not during its flowering state.
For this, you will need to do your research as there are a wide variety of beneficial insects that you can purchase. These include everything from lady bugs to wasps! For instance, beneficial nematodes can help handle pests living within the soil while parasitic wasps help eliminate pests living on the plants, such as aphids.
If you purchase insects that live in the canopy, be sure not to perform the weekly IPM schedule listed above or the insects will die.
Organic Chemical Solutions
The next batch of solutions for your pest problems are organic chemical compounds which are considered as a last resort for saving the crop.
The most common forms of this are Captain Jack’s and Monterey Garden Spray. It’s often used to get rid of thrips, beetles, and caterpillars. Be sure to only use this during the vegetative state.
This is a microbial-based insecticide that focuses on eliminating sucking and chewing insects, flies, and mites.
A little different from the previous solutions, this is a biofungicide that can be added into your weekly IPM schedule or used as a standalone product for IPM. It aims to strengthen the plant’s inner immune system to ward of predators and increase overall plant health.
At some point or other, we all end up with bugs in the garden. It’s just the way it is. However, by knowing how to prevent them from entering your grow area as much as possible, you’ll have a head start on keeping pests out of the garden! Additionally, if you do spot some bugs sneaking around, you will know exactly how to get rid of them without harming your crops through the use of toxic chemicals!