For centuries, gardeners have had to deal with pests of many varieties. Whether they are birds, insects, mammals, or even other humans, cultivated plants seem to have a target on their backs. While humans don't really eat raw cannabis, some pests certainly seem to like the taste. If left unchecked, an infestation can end up ruining your crop. At the same time, using harsh chemical products to repel the pests can be harmful to you later on. To avoid all that, we have compiled a list of some safe and effective repellents (and other safety precautions) to keep bugs away from your plants.
1. Only use sterilized soil or fertilizer. The problem with unsterilized soil is that it can contain the eggs or even larvae of some common marijuana pests. If you grow your marijuana in that soil, you will be in for a rude surprise when those eggs hatch or those larvae start to grow up. This is particularly bad for indoor growers because there are no natural predators inside your house.
2. Use natural predators. Of course, if you're growing marijuana outdoors, you can make use of a few pest predators. Ladybugs are notoriously beneficial to have around your outdoor marijuana plants because they love to prey on larvae and other potential pests. You should also encourage birds to nest in the area because they often like to snack on some pernicious marijuana pests. Put out some bird houses or a bird feeder to get birds to come around. Just make sure that they stay away while the seeds are germinating because many birds do enjoy the taste of a marijuana seed.
3. Grow companion plants. Interspersing the marijuana garden with a few naturally repellent plants is certainly a good way to keep the predators away. Although the THC that marijuana produces acts as a natural repellent in its own right, it is often not strong enough to repel all plants (especially in the early stages of life). Particularly pungent plants like geraniums and marigolds will keep many leaf-eating insects and worms at bay. You can even plant some onions to ward off bigger pests like deer or rabbits.
4. Use the urine of your pests' enemies. This might sound like a joke, but it actually works and it's actually feasible. Many mammals like deer have keen senses of smell and if they detect a hint of bear or puma urine, they will want to stay as far away from your marijuana plants as possible. That's because they won't want to enter territory that a much larger predator has been roaming around in. The same is true for rabbits and fox urine. You can buy these scents at many sporting goods or outdoor shops.
5. Build a fence. If bigger animals are a problem and the scent of their enemies doesn't deter them, then you might need to try building a fence around your plants. Obviously, many marijuana growers don't have this luxury and it's really only something that people growing on private land can do.
6. Create a repellent force field around the plants. With a permethrin-based repellent, you can keep insects away from your plants without using the synthetic spray on the plants themselves. Simply spray a ring on the ground about 6 feet away from the plant. Any bugs that come into contact with the permethrin will die or just evacuate the area.
7. Use custom organic repellents. Many growers have opted for pungent, organic repellents to keep pests away from both their indoor and outdoor plants. Concoctions like cinnamon oil, clove oil, and coriander oil have all had relative success without causing any damage to the plant. You can easily spray these repellents directly onto the cannabis leaves with no fear of any adverse reaction. Of course, different cannabis strains might have different reactions to any homemade organic repellents, and you should always test the repellents on an inconspicuous section of the plant to make sure no harm is done.
Although it might not seem like it, it is actually more difficult to control pests indoors than it is outdoors. There's really a small window of vulnerability between germination and seedling state when you have the plants outdoors. When they're indoors, however, the pests can ravage your entire garden up until late in the vegetative state. Once you have bugs in the house, it's hard to get them away from your marijuana plants. It's always best to try using preventative measures so that bugs never become a problem in your indoor garden.