The Importance of IPM, or Integrated Pest Management Systems for Cannabis Grows

July 15, 2021 08:00 am ET
The Importance of IPM, or Integrated Pest Management Systems for Cannabis Grows

Do you grow cannabis? Are you thinking about growing cannabis? Have you ever heard of an IPM? If you grow cannabis on a commercial scale, you should already know what an IPM is. If you are a home grower, you may not be as familiar with this term. IPM is short for an Integrated Pest Management system. An IPM is vital to producing a healthy and bountiful harvest. Pest management is an area that every grower needs to embrace because if not, pests will most surely at some point become an issue that you have to deal with. People aren’t the only things that love cannabis plants; pests, viruses, and diseases do as well.

You could run into many challenges when you grow at home. Common issues are things such as broad mites, spider mites, russet mites, aphids, crickets, fungus gnats, scale insects, leafhoppers, planthoppers, thrips, mildew, mold, mealy bugs, root rot, bud rot, inchworms, and the list just seems to continue. All of the above-mentioned pests love cannabis just as much as we do. In my first grow, I think I ran into just about all of these at one time. Thank goodness no one was recording that fiasco.

My Personal Experience 

I can tell you from personal experience that growing cannabis can be quite the pain in the, well, you know what I mean. My first grow, I had no clue what I was doing. I had improper ventilation, the wrong lighting, and no IPM in place. I ran into powdery mildew, flies, spider mites, russet mites, and termites! I even had mice! This is what I get for trying to grow in an old building out back. I had a plant or two outside during this time, and they were hit by locusts, spiders, crickets, flies, and heat and humidity issues. They even ended up with something called septoria. I learned from my mistakes, and today I grow indoors in a controlled environment using a grow tent. I have an IPM in place using products that I have carefully selected.

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I use a small digital microscope in order to inspect my plants as well as any other plants I bring in from outside. I prefer to grow from seed versus clones. I find the plants grow much heartier from seed, and I get a better yield from them. Regardless of how clean I keep my environment, I always seem to find something in it. Upon close investigation on the underside of leaves, I commonly find signs of red spider mites. I spray my environment down and keep it clean in between grows. All of my planters and utensils are sprayed and cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. I have learned to treat my growing environment as a cleanroom environment. Still, pests make their way onto my plants. Because of this, I quickly learned what an IPM was and why it was important.

Implementing an IPM System in Your Home Grow

An IPM will implore a few different types of products. I use an in-room air-conditioner combined with central air and a dehumidifier to monitor the temperature and humidity of my growing environment. Combined with my inline fan and ventilation on my grow tent, I no longer have issues with powdery mold or mildew. I still use a fungicide just in case. I also use an insecticide. It was very important for me to use ingredients that were natural and would not harm my plants or the quality of the medicine I produce.

With a little bit of research online, I found what one of the largest organic cannabis growers in the state of Oregon was using for their IPM. I was ecstatic to learn that I could use the same products for my small cannabis garden at home. If you would like to learn more about using a successful IPM for your cannabis grow, I would suggest that you begin looking at biological or natural solutions for crop protection. This will lead you on a path to learning not only about products that could benefit your cannabis plants but products that are also safe at the same time. There is a lot of garbage out there that’s toxic to us and the environment, so be sure to do your homework when it comes to adding an IPM to your cannabis grow.

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