There are many techniques that can be used to ensure that you are able to prevent pests and diseases in cannabis cultivation. One of the methods that can be used is crop rotation. This can be a useful technique as it can help to reduce the number of weeds that are produced, as well as the amount of fertilizer that you will need to use on the plants. It can also help to ensure that you are able to reduce the need for postharvest irradiation and other pesticides.
Reduces the need for fertilizer
If you’re planning on cultivating marijuana, you’ll likely want to reduce the need for fertilizer. There are many ways to do this.
Organic nutrients are a great choice. These products are easy to use and produce high-quality yields. They’re also environmentally friendly. However, they do take a little more time to transform in the soil.
Biomineral fertilizers are another option. This type of fertilizer is highly concentrated. The nutrients are absorbed easily by the plant. It’s a good choice for maximizing growing time.
Microbial inoculants are also a great way to increase the health of the soil. They’re also beneficial to the cannabis plant.
In addition to being useful in the soil, biostimulants have also been shown to increase crop yields. They reduce the need for plant inputs, maintain the ideal amount of crop output, and enhance the genetics of seed stock.
For cannabis cultivation, there are two main types of nutrients: organic and mineral. Both provide the plants with the right amount of macro and micronutrients. Nevertheless, the plants can absorb these nutrients faster when they’re organic.
Chemical fertilizers are also available. These include the nitrogen mononutrient, which can be used once a week.
Liquid nutrients are also a good option for indoor growing. They can be pushed through hoses or misters. Unlike mineral nutrients, liquid nutrients are available almost immediately for the plants to absorb.
A good source of water is important for basic plant functions. During the flowering stage, your cannabis plant will require a large amount of phosphorus and potassium. When fed too much, these nutrients can block roots and decrease the yield.
Minimizes the need for pesticides
Crop rotation helps to minimize the use of pesticides and enhance the overall health of the soil. There are numerous benefits to crop rotation, including increasing biodiversity and improving the quality of organic matter.
Soil microorganisms are important to the success of any crop. They provide essential nutrients to the plant. When this process is disturbed, the health of the soil is negatively affected. Microbial inoculants can help increase the health of the soil, reduce downtime, and improve the yield of the crops.
In the cannabis industry, biostimulants are a new type of agricultural additive. These products increase the quantity of a crop’s output by enhancing the genetics of the seed stock. Adding biostimulants to your cultivation can reduce the amount of pesticide residue on your flowers.
The use of biopesticides is gaining interest from the research community. This is because they can offer a variety of advantages, including improved crop performance, reduced risk, and increased human safety.
Unlike traditional pesticides, biopesticides are based on naturally derived chemistry. These products are also known to be effective against target organisms and have a lower risk of causing adverse reactions.
The best part is that they are safe for humans and wildlife. Despite this, however, the vast majority of farmers lack formal training in the proper use of pesticides. Many improvise their methods with tools such as brooms or mesh.
Microbial inoculants are beneficial to the soil because they increase its health and ability to absorb nutrient uptake. A microbial inoculant can be used throughout the year.
For example, a biostimulant product can be applied to the soil during the vegetative or flowering phases of the cannabis plant. Using a microbial inoculant in conjunction with a crop rotation schedule can maximize the effects of crop rotation.
Reduces the development of weeds
There are many ways to reduce the development of weeds in cannabis cultivation. Among the most effective are no-till cultivation, low-stress pruning and proper weeding techniques. While these techniques are time consuming, they also provide the benefits of improved soil microbes and fungi, plus yield-enhancing benefits. For example, no-till cultivation provides a much healthier root system, and in turn, a higher yield.
In particular, no-till cultivation has been proven to produce a smaller crop, but a higher yield. Aside from the obvious, no-till cultivators tend to be tame and not so aggressive, which results in a more predictable and consistent harvest. Using a weeding tool such as a broom to brush away the weeds before harvesting can greatly reduce the amount of weeds that get picked out of the harvest.
No-till cultivation can also be a boon to indoor growers. The trick is to make sure that the plants are not too close to the light sources. Plants growing too close to the lights will burn, hampering overall growth. Another tip is to use lower-quality seeds and seedlings as opposed to premium seedlings, which will produce a lower-quality crop. This also helps to avoid wasting a harvest on a flimsy plant.
One thing to keep in mind is that high-density plantings can lead to shorter plants, which may not necessarily be a bad thing if the goal is to produce more cannabis. But keep in mind that if you are harvesting too many plants, you might not have enough room to cultivate your crop.
As a result, the best practice is to harvest only a small proportion of the plants, leaving the rest for the next generation of growers.
Reduces the need for postharvest irradiation
In a recent paper, former Bedrocan International BV research scientist Arno Hazekamp, and colleagues report a study that may help reduce the need for postharvest irradiation in cannabis cultivation. This study evaluated various treatments and their ability to limit the growth of powdery mildew on cannabis plants.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause premature leaf drop, reducing overall vigour of the plant. It spreads through air-borne spores. Therefore, a successful powdery mildew management strategy relies on deleafing and maintaining relative humidity. Other treatments include vaporized sulphur, hydrogen peroxide, and Bacillus based products.
Cannabis is susceptible to powdery mildew infection, which occurs on leaf surfaces and stems. Treatments that minimize pathogen propagule survival include sanitation measures, disinfectants, and destruction of plant materials.
In this study, leaves were treated with varying light spectra. The results showed that the most effective treatment reduced the amount of visible pathogen development by half.
Various light spectra can also be used during different stages of the plant’s growth. This can result in increased yield and precision of PSM production.
The research findings demonstrate that the most effective treatment significantly decreased the number of fungal forming units in the cannabis flower. All treatments showed a reduction in the growth of pathogens, but gamma irradiation was the most efficient.
In addition, the results demonstrated that terpenes play an important role in the synergistic effect of irradiation. Specifically, gamma irradiation reduced the content of linalool, a terpene known to contribute to the bioavailability of cannabinoids. However, researchers also noted that these compounds can be degraded by high-intensity UV light.
Although this study did not address the relationship between preharvest and postharvest microbial loads, there are currently no published studies assessing the potential of ultraviolet radiation to inhibit the growth of pathogens. Further study on this topic is needed.
Minimizes the survival of pathogen propagules
One of the greatest challenges faced by cannabis cultivators is reducing the number of pathogen propagules present on harvested inflorescences. This is done by disinfecting surfaces and destroying plant materials, and using crop rotation to prevent secondary inoculum from being reintroduced to the crop.
Inflorescences are hand-harvested and mechanically dried. The inflorescences are dried upside down at approximately 10% moisture by weight. After the inflorescences are harvested, the buds are stored in a specially designed drying room at approximately 50 to 55% ambient humidity.
Several pathogens have been reported to cause disease on hemp and cannabis crops in North America over the past four years. These pathogens include Fusarium and Pythium, which both produce severe symptoms. Combined, these pathogens may lead to 30 percent of total crop loss.
During the propagation stage, these pathogens can cause severe symptoms on both the root and crown tissues of the cannabis plant. Therefore, disease control methods for these root-infecting pathogens should be implemented early in the production cycle.
There are currently several biological control agents registered for use on cannabis in Canada. However, the effectiveness of these products is uncertain. It is important to determine the comparative efficacy of the various biocontrol agents. Specifically, it is necessary to identify the modes of action of each agent and the degree of efficacy to minimize the impact of pathogens.
A few examples of foliar-infecting pathogens that are a problem in cannabis cultivation include powdery mildew and white mold. Products based on Gliocladium catenulatum and Trichoderma harzianum are currently being evaluated in our laboratory for their potential to reduce the development of these diseases.