Cultivating marijuana is a delicate process. It requires constant attention and care. One of the most important things to consider is the usage of pesticides.
Pesticides often get a bad reputation, but when used properly and responsibly, they can make growing marijuana much easier. Here’s a quick guide on how to use pesticides with marijuana, and which type you should choose.
Organic vs Chemical Cannabis Pesticides
What are Organic Pesticides?
Organic pesticides are not chemical in nature. They are usually extracts of other plants, beneficial bacteria or fungi. Organic pesticides have a far smaller impact on the environment and our health.
What are Chemical Pesticides?
Chemical pesticides are manufactured in laboratories, mainly from toxic substances. They are a more recent invention and used to be reserved only for serious cases where there was no other option.
The Differences, Pros and Cons
Although their purpose is the same, organic and chemical pesticides differ on a wide variety of issues. Organic pesticides are either extracted directly from the ground, or from plants and animals. Synthetic pesticides are artificially produced using chemical processes.
Knowing what these key differences are will allow you to decide which cannabis pesticides you should buy.
Pros of Organic Pesticides
Organic pesticides are more environmentally friendly. The carbon footprint of their production processes is much smaller. Natural cannabis pesticides are more effective in the long run – pests can’t develop a tolerance to them.
Using natural pesticides is healthier, both for the plants and for yourself. Using organic pesticides is a better option for maintaining soil health and quality. Unlike chemical pesticides, organic pesticides do not show up in testing – making it easier to pass quality control.
Cons of Organic Pesticides
On the other hand, organic pesticides are more expensive than their chemical counterparts. They may be less effective than the other option in a short time-span. When using natural pesticides, there is a delay until they begin to work properly. On top of that, natural pesticides are harder to obtain, and you need a certain level of knowledge to use them.
Before choosing a pesticide, even if it is organic and natural, do your research. All pesticides have the potential of being harmful. Being natural or organic does not change that.
Pros of Chemical Pesticides
Chemical or synthetic pesticides are readily available in stores nationwide. They’re easier to get a hold of. Chemical pesticides are fast acting and tailor-made to be strong and effective. They are cheaper, which automatically makes them cost-effective. On top of that, there is a wide variety of choice when it comes to chemical pesticides.
Cons of Chemical Pesticides
As for the cons, chemical pesticides can cause health problems. They are harmful to the environment, and pests may develop resistance or tolerance to them over time. Synthetic pesticides can also contaminate your soil and water sources if used improperly, so you have to be careful when applying them.
Contact and Systemic Cannabis Pesticides
The next important distinction is between contact pesticides and systemic pesticides. Contact pesticides are applied to the plant and work when they come in contact with fungi or insects. They are a great preventative measure.
Systemic pesticides are absorbed through the roots or leaves and distributed evenly through the entire plant. They are more effective once you’ve established that pests are present, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t also a good preventative measure.
Cannabis Pesticide Alternatives
There are approaches that completely disregard cannabis pesticides. These methods are completely organic, and when done properly, ensure that your product is all-natural and of the highest quality.
Companion planting refers to a technique of cultivating multiple complementary species next to each other. This way, you can build a thriving ecosystem that will serve as an additional layer of defense against pests. Plants like sage, rosemary, and lavender deter beetles, aphids, and thrips. Other popular companion plants include basil, garlic, mint, and marigolds.
Another way to avoid the use of pesticides is to opt for predatory mites. Unleashing these critters may not be ideal indoors, but they are a great choice for outdoor or greenhouse operations. When choosing a type of predatory insect, pick a species that eats the types of pests you are having trouble with. Storing and shipping predatory insects isn’t easy, so choose a reputable supplier.
Using neem oil for pest control is completely organic. Neem oil pressed from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree and is very effective against mites, insects, snails, and aphids. Neem oil has a bitter taste, so pests will avoid any plant that has been treated with it.
Neem oil also has another benefit – it’s a useful tool for controlling fungus and mold. In order to get the most benefits, mix 3 full caps of neem oil with a few drops of liquid soap and a quart of lukewarm water. This mixture will destroy the larvae and eggs of any pests that may be present.
Cinnamon is a great way to get rid of ants, which are another common garden pest. Cinnamon is an effective and cheap way to rid your plants of ants before they spread their colony.
Take a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon and sprinkle it along the usual location of the ants. Another option is to dissolve the cinnamon in water and pour it over the soil. The smell and taste of cinnamon are irritating to ants, so they will soon scuttle away.
There is a wide variety of solutions for the problem of pests. Organic pesticides are more expensive, require knowledge to use and take time to work properly – but are better in the long run.
Chemical pesticides are easily available and easy to use – but should only be used when you’re out of time and have no alternatives. Whichever option may work for you, consider adopting a natural approach – the alternatives to pesticides don’t have to take their place – there is room for both approaches.