Your outdoor marijuana plants need protection from enemies—both human and non-human.
You’ll see an embedded video in this article about some guy finding a marijuana garden in the woods. Not fun for the grower.
Marijuana enemies are especially problematic when you’re growing marijuana outdoors, but marijuana’s enemies can also harm indoor hydroponics marijuana.
This article talks about marijuana’s enemies, and how to defeat them.
We want to prevent people from finding a marijuana garden in the woods, unless it’s their marijuana garden!
Non-Human “Insect” Pests that Harm Marijuana
Mites, thrips, aphids, root aphids, ants, whiteflies, fungus gnats, slugs, snails, caterpillars, and grasshoppers are pests you don’t want to see on your marijuana plants or in their root zone.
Keeping marijuana growing conditions in ideal range for temperature, humidity, and cleanliness is a big step towards preventing some pest infestations, but you can’t control conditions in outdoor marijuana gardens.
Here are some interventions that may work to defeat pests:
- Choose marijuana strains described as resistant to pests that are common to the area you grow in.
- Foliar and root feed potassium silicate to strengthen exterior and interior cells walls so pests have a harder time getting a bite on your leaves and roots.
- Feed B-52 vitamin booster that helps marijuana plants handle stress (getting eaten by pests is pretty stressful).
- Avoid root zone media such as commercial hydroponics soil mixes that are known to come with on-board pests and diseases. There’s an ongoing controversy in the marijuana growing community about pests and diseases in soils sold at hydroponics stores.
- Spray plants with Safer’s horticultural spray, Organocide, or similar organic sprays.
- Use sticky traps that attract and sequester insects.
- Use beneficial insects (but be aware that the insects might choose to leave your marijuana plants instead of staying on them to eat pests).
- Some growers use root drench and/or foliar spray “poisons” that have varying degrees of safety for marijuana crops. Talk to your hydroponics store, and do online research, before you go for those options.
- Know this: spraying anything on your crops two weeks or more into bloom phase is not a good idea. Foliar-spray residues stay on your crops and affect their taste, value, and your respiratory health.
Molds & Mildews That Harm Marijuana
Of these, gray mold and powdery mildew are the most common plagues for marijuana growers.
Gray mold shows up in humid conditions and is especially likely to attack fat, dense buds and marijuana strains known to be susceptible to molds.
Powdery mildew likes conditions that are somewhat different than conditions gray mold likes. In general, powdery mildew comes in when temps are between 59-72F, and humidity is between 50-85%. Temperatures over 78F tend to inhibit powdery mildew.
In grow phase your options for controlling molds and mildews include spraying and/or feeding fungicides, beneficial bacteria, and sprays that disable the organisms.
For powdery mildew in an indoor marijuana garden, a sulfur burner works well to control powdery mildew, but comes with hazards such as heat and sulfur toxicity (mostly to you- don’t breathe airborne sulfur).
Talk to your hydroponics store about the particular problems your marijuana plants are experiencing, and what if anything the hydroponics store sells to get rid of those problems.
The best strategy against pathogenic marijuana enemies is preventive: keep your marijuana grow environment in temperature and humidity ranges that deter molds and mildews.
Control your grow environment to exclude molds and mildews.
Obviously for outdoor marijuana growers this isn’t completely possible.
However, a general rule is that the more direct sunlight and air circulation your crops get, the less likely gray mold will develop.
If you’re in control of watering and feeding, don’t overwater your marijuana plants, and avoid feeding them high nitrogen during bloom phase.
In outdoor marijuana growing and in bloom phase you have fewer mold and mildew foliar spray control options, because anything you spray on your marijuana plants is going to stay on them and be consumed.
Outdoors you cannot control rainfall or humidity, unless you’re growing marijuana in a greenhouse.
In situations like that, removal of affected plant material may be one of the only strategies that work.
Sometimes you have to anticipate potential losses and may decide to harvest early rather than lose the entire marijuana crop to gray mold or powdery mildew.
Your marijuana plants’ most potent enemies are other humans, especially in an outdoor grow.
Hunters are especially notorious for finding outdoor marijuana crops and either stealing them or narking them.
Similarly, loggers, miners, realtors, ranchers, developers, surveyors, utility line maintenance crews, and other people go into remote places where many of us grow our guerrilla marijuana gardens…and they often tend to be politically conservative folks who oppose marijuana.
Guard against human invaders by carefully choosing marijuana grow sites with the goal of making them impossible to find.
Make it hard for people to get near your medical marijuana garden.
I put large rocks and logs onto dirt roads that hunters and others use, and I’ve obscured existing trails, so I can keep people away from my garden.
I’ve camped near my outdoor marijuana gardens, put listening devices and/or visual surveillance remote cameras in and around my marijuana gardens, put “No Hunting/No Trespassing” signs in a wide area around my grow perimeter, and used other methods to be aware of or scare people away from my marijuana plants.
Sometimes outdoor marijuana growers come face to face with bad guys, as you can read about here.
Each of us has to decide how hardcore we’re going to be when we’re protecting our marijuana crops and ourselves from human enemies.
If I catch someone trying to rip off my marijuana, and especially if they threaten me or my crew with physical harm or narking my location, I’d be likely to injure the person or otherwise immobilize them… perhaps permanently.
Non-Human Animals That’ll Chomp Your Marijuana Crop
Rabbits, deer, groundhogs, rats, sheep, and other mammals might find your marijuana plants or their roots tasty. This problem mostly occurs when plants are very young, and continuing a few weeks into grow phase.
By the time your marijuana plants are more than 3-4 feet tall, and especially when they’re sporting big buds in bloom phase, you’re unlikely to see much if any animal predation.
You can at least partially keep animal pests out of your garden by using deer repellent spray, mothballs, hot sauce (yes, hot sauce!), carnivore urine, fencing, fake owls (scares mice, rats, rabbits), and by camping near your crops so you hear animal invaders and scare them away.
Some marijuana growers use traps, bungee pits, shotgun tripwires, or poisons, but these lethal methods can backfire.
They’re bad for the environment, and they may go wrong so that you injure yourself or other innocent people.
If law enforcement discovers a booby-trapped garden, they go extra hard on you…especially if someone gets injured.
Marijuana plants are worth big money, especially if you’re growing outdoors where one plant can yield mega-pounds of dry weight.
Bugs, molds, and mildews can hurt your crops, but human enemies are far worse because they can steal your crops and get you busted too.
I wish you good fortune as your protect your valuable marijuana garden.
The key is to carefully select your outdoor grow site, and guard its location as much as possible, so nobody discovers it.