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When growing weed seeds indoors, pests aren’t too much of a problem because the entire environment is controlled, and pests are easily kept away. Outdoors, however, pests can be a huge problem. From small insects to larger animals or other people, cultivated pot plants can attract just about anything. Any pests can destroy a crop, leaving the grower without a harvest to enjoy.
Plenty of pest control methods are available, but harsh chemical products may not be desired for a plant that will be consumed later. The chemicals could still be left on the plant and could be dangerous when the marijuana is cured and consumed. Instead, there are plenty of safer repellants and other techniques designed to keep pests away from plants. From bugs to larger animals and even humans, the following pest control methods are known to be effective and safe.
Sterilize Soil and Add Good Fertilizers
While the soil outdoors is ready for planting, it does pose one problem. The soil is unsterilized, so it could contain eggs or larvae of pests. After planting, the pests can become apparent and can damage or destroy the plant, especially when it is small and more susceptible to damage. Instead, it may be a good idea to sterilize the soil from your Colorado or Pennsylvania garden before being used to pot your seedlings, whether they’ll be indoor or outdoor. Sterilization is easy to do by just cooking the soil, though there are other methods that can work well.
To sterilize the soil, it needs to be cooked in the oven. The soil should be cooked until the internal temperature is around 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply spread the soil in a baking pan, then place it in the oven and let it cook, checking the internal temperature regularly. It can take around 30 to 45 minutes for the soil to reach the right temperature, but make sure it doesn’t exceed 190 degrees. This could potentially cause serious issues with the soil. In general, reaching these temperatures can kill off any pests, weeds, seeds, and even molds inside the soil.
Use Companion Planting Methods
Many people who already grow vegetables will be familiar with companion planting. Some plants naturally grow well together as they can help keep pests and predators away from the other plants. With marijuana, the following companion plants can be an excellent addition to the garden.
Geraniums and Marigolds
These flowers tend to repel many pests as the pests do not like their smell or taste. They’re great for warding off insects and worms that eat leaves.
Onions can help keep deer and rabbits away from your precious feminized marijuana plants, as they don’t like the smell or taste of the onion plants.
Basil helps keep away aphids and flies, and it has been known to help increase oil production in marijuana plants.
Mint is an herb with a strong smell, so it helps keep pests away as much as possible. It can also help cover the smell of your chronic stash, so people passing by won’t notice the smell.
Pepper plants can help keep away larger animals like mice or rabbits. They can also be effective in areas with excess rain as they can help protect marijuana roots from rotting.
Garlic is a natural fungicide, so it can help protect marijuana plants from molds. It can be planted next to marijuana or used as a spray for spot treatments.
Outdoors, Use Natural Predators for Pests
While there are plenty of pests that can do damage to marijuana plants, there are also some insects that can be incredibly beneficial. Ladybugs are one option that’s perfect for any marijuana garden outdoors. They tend to eat larvae and other pests in the garden, and they don’t mess with the marijuana plants at all. Growers who don’t have ladybugs can order them online, with costs for a hundred ladybugs often only being a few dollars. Once they arrive, simply release them in the garden. As long as there’s a food source for them, they’ll tend to stay.
Another option is to encourage more birds to be in the yard. Birds will eat insects and other tiny pests that could damage the marijuana plants. To attract more birds, try using a few birdhouses close to the plants as well as a bird feeder or two. Some birds do enjoy marijuana seeds, so be sure the seeds are protected if there are birds in the yard. This can be done by placing a bottle over each seed until they start to sprout, creating a cover with plastic hardware cloth so the birds won’t be able to reach the seeds, or germinating the seeds indoors and transplanting the seedlings. If the seeds are covered, make sure the cover is removed before the marijuana plants get too big.
Animal Urine Can be Effective
One idea that sounds a little strange but does work is to use animal urine to keep pests away. Animals like rabbits or deer have a great sense of smell and will actively avoid areas that may have bears, wolves, or other predators. Online, it’s possible to purchase a spray that smells like urine from common predators in the area. They may also be available in outdoor stores. Spray this around the yard to keep as many larger pests away from the yard as possible. The spray may need to be reapplied regularly, but it can be very effective.
Keep the Plants Fenced In
Larger animals can be a problem in some areas, but an effective solution can be to build a fence. The fence may be large enough to keep the animals out of the entire yard or small enough just to keep animals away from certain plants. There are plenty of DIY options available, though the fence type chosen may depend on the animal that needs to be kept out of the yard. Those who don’t know what animals may be eating their plants can place a game camera in the yard to capture footage at night or when they’re away during the day. Once they know what animals are the problem, they can build the right fence to keep them out. Fences can also be a great way to keep other people away from the plants, which can help prevent theft of the buds when the plants are flowering.
Spray Repellants Around the Plants
While growers will want to avoid using harsh chemicals on the plants, there are other possibilities that can allow them to take advantage of strong and effective repellants. Permethrin is a highly effective repellant and doesn’t need to be sprayed on the plant to be effective. Instead, spray it in a ring around the plants about six feet away. This ensures none of it gets on the plant, but it will still keep pests from destroying the marijuana. With permethrin, any bugs that come into contact with it will die.
Other options include creating an organic repellant at home and spraying it in a circle around the plant to keep bugs away. Some of the top options for this include neem oil, garlic-based insecticides, and chili-based insecticides. Before making any insecticide, learn how to create it and how to stay safe while creating and using it. Though they’re organic, some homemade insecticides like the ones made using chili peppers can cause mild irritation if they come in contact with skin or eyes.
Customize Organic Repellants to Use on Plants
Spraying around the plants can be effective, but it might not be as effective as many growers would like. Instead, they might want to use something that can be sprayed on the plants or a combination of both to keep as many pests as possible away from the plants. Organic repellants can be made at home and used safely on marijuana plants, though it is important to test carefully before using any of these. This way, if there is any damage, it’s kept to a minimum. If the test is successful, the organic repellants can help keep many different pests away from the plants.
Cinnamon oil, clove oil, and oil made from coriander have all been proven to help keep pests away from marijuana plants. These have been tested to be successful without causing damage to plants, though it is still best to test a small area first as certain strains can be more sensitive than others. When making organic repellants from these oils, ensure they can be easily sprayed onto the plant. Then, spray the oil onto the plant regularly to ensure it continues to work well. These may only be mildly successful, so they should be used in conjunction with other pest control methods mentioned above for maximum effectiveness.
When growing outdoors, in California, Oregon, or Nevada, pests can easily and quickly destroy the entire marijuana crop you’re growing. In some cases, it can seem to happen overnight, especially if a larger animal finds out there are marijuana plants growing and decides to snack on them. However, there are natural ways to protect the plants without resorting to chemicals that can be dangerous when marijuana is consumed. Try out the tips here to see what works best in your American weed seed garden.