Preventing Pests and Disease

Updated: Dec 8, 2018

Maintaining a clean grow area, a controlled environment, and spraying with Einstein Oil once a week will prevent most common issues with cannabis plants like spider mites, mold, and mildew.


By keeping the garden area and plants clean, it is simple to see new issues - regardless of how big or small they may be. A grow cannot be too clean or too organized. Pay attention to the small details. Spend some time with your plants. Keep things pretty like someone important is coming to see your garden. Always take the extra moment to do things well.


There are no excuses or workarounds for poor environment. When attempting to grow cannabis indoors, success depends upon maintaining the proper environment. While our favorite plant may be able to withstand many abuses and survive in many conditions, our goal is to help our plants thrive, not merely survive. Creating a suitable environment requires some basic skills, common sense, and almost certainly requires some spending. Spending money on good environmental control is never wasted - don’t cut corners. Take care of your environment first. Do not add plants to a garden that is has not been properly set up and tested for temperature and humidity over a period of a few days and nights. Thriving plants are much less likely to succumb to pests and disease.


Cleanliness is a word that can mean different things to different people - one man's dump is another man's paradise. Plants grow in dirt, but they don’t like a dirty environment. There are many reasons for this, but again, our goal is thriving plants. You cannot keep a garden too clean. That doesn’t mean that a surgical cleanliness must be maintained, however. If you believe you need to have surgical gloves, lab coats, delousing chambers, vacuumed double doors for entrance, or space age technology to manage an indoor cannabis farm - don't worry. You don’t. Just keep it clean. Sweep the floors, line the walls with plastic and wipe them down often - make an effort. Most of all, remove all dead plant material from the area. Use your common sense. If you need further instruction on how to clean your room, call your mama!


Using Einstein Oil

Other than the general cleanliness and controlled environment (there it is again) required for a thriving indoor garden, the one active preventative measure Uncle Pete recommends is spraying Einstein Oil once per week. Use the full strength instructions on the bottle and apply it to the plants generously. Use a pump sprayer which can be purchased at any gardening shop or big-box store. Be sure the sprayer is free of debris and clean the tip every time you spray. Adjust the sprayer to provide a hard-spraying, fine mist that can be heard when it hits the leaves. Rinse the sprayer when done. Take care of it and learn how to maintain it for peak performance. It's really simple, but these steps are skipped by many of the gardeners that encounter problems. A gardener that cannot take the time to mix, shake, clean, adjust, and operate a pump sprayer will have many other problems.


It may be helpful to turn off oscillating fans while spraying, and follow this pattern:

  1. Spray around the outside of the pot.

  2. Spray the surface of the dirt.

  3. Spray the underside of every leaf on the plant - every single leaf. Twice if you really love your plants - excess Einstein Oil won't hurt them.

  4. Spray the tops of the leaves and be sure to leave a nice even shine when its dry. If the sheen is spotty or uneven after drying, repeat the process.

  5. Turn the fans back on!

Einstein Oil combined with a clean room and controlled environment will prevent all common problems. If you have issues, we can help you find the cause. It is almost always a failure to follow these simple preventative measures. Open your mind to the truth before you call us. We are not here to argue about what your plants tell us - the plants never lie. While we know what it takes to build and maintain a productive garden, and we know how to troubleshoot issues in any garden, we can't force you to take this simple advice and follow through with it. These habits are the most important things you can apply in your garden to prevent a nightmare grow scenario.


Treating Mold and Mildew With A Sulfur Burner

Mold and mildew do not grow in environments with proper temperature, humidity, and good air flow. Dead areas in the grow room such as corners, areas by doors, or leaks in insulated walls with condensation are to be avoided in all grow rooms at all times.


If you spot mold or mildew on a plant in the middle of an important cycle, a sulfur burner is the most effective way to treat and prevent it from spreading. Do yourself a favor and get your environment controlled before growing additional plants, however.


Mold (aka "bud rot")

Powdery Mildew

If you get mold or mildew:

  1. Throw away infected plants, or at least cut off the bad branches. Make your own decision or call us to advise, but do not hesitate. Address the issue aggressively and in a timely manner.

  2. Clean everything. Soap and water is fine, Windex is also effective. Make certain there is no dead plant material in the room.

  3. Use a sulfur burner only when the lights are off, and only for about four hours at a time. Wait one day and repeat until the problem is completely resolved.

The problem will not return or worsen if you have fixed the root cause. Without addressing the root cause, it will prevent issues only as long as you keep burning it. Many years ago, Uncle Pete was wiped out by powdery mildew and resorted to constant preventative use of a sulfur burner. Since then he has learned a few things about cleanliness and preservation of time - it is more efficient to keep a proper environment clean than engage in an endless cycle of treatments.

Some growers will try to save flowers that have been lost to mold and mildew. It is garbage, it cannot and should not be saved - throw it away. Failure can hurt your ego, but holding on to it can hurt your health. Let it go. Cut the losses. Start over and do it right.


The lessons we've learned are factual, the plants are factual, the only limitation is the gardener's habits. That is both the hardest part of being a gardener, and the most rewarding, depending on whether you are the hero or the fool this time. Being consistent, opening your mind, keeping it simple, and knowing when to cut your losses are what make us better over time - experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. Mold and mildew are simply a punishment for folks that skip over the environment priorities emphasized in nearly every topic on the website. Do not mistake an infection for anything but human error. If you get mold or mildew as an indoor gardener, you did not take care of the basics. Like it or not you made a mistake. So be it. We all have. Take your gardening habits seriously and you will be rewarded consistently.

If you have an emergency and feel overwhelmed, urgent420care.com is the place to call. Spending a few hundred now can save you thousands over the long term.


Pests

Michigan has very cold winters which are effective at controlling pest populations, even indoors. If you live further south and have extra difficulty, please consult us about taking extra measures to control environment and prevent pests. The common bugs seen in indoor cannabis gardens are white flies, gnats, mites, and thrips; there are multiple varieties of each. The good news is that regular application of Einstein Oil will treat, prevent, and kill all of these bugs if caught in time - before the garden is infested.


Spider Mites

If the gardener is diligent about spraying once a week, an infestation is nearly impossible. If you see pests on any plant, spray all plants three times a week until they are gone. It's that simple. If you cannot control the issue right away, start over by killing the plants and re-reading this section thoroughly - do not give up. Perseverance and commitment are what separate the successful gardener from others that would not grow for themselves. You can do it, and we're here to help.

If you want to study the individual pests and diseases that cause problems for cannabis plants, there are plenty of resources available - most of them are free online. Grower forums such as our private Facebook groups are generally filled with first hand experience once you determine who to listen to and who to ignore. Wikipedia is also an excellent resource for free information.


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