You just bought the best cannabis seeds that money can buy- those that you are assured of 100% feminized plants with highly resinous flowers.
You walk home happy, and the thoughts of blossoming cannabis flowers in your backyard are all that you have in your mind.
After preparing everything and laying it down as it should, you finally put the seeds in your preferred medium and start the wait.
You wake up one day to find your plants drying up, showing signs of stress or knocked down.
For John, it was the dug-up soil that raised red flags. Someone or something had disturbed the seeds.
Some cannabis growers invest even more to see their plants mature and ready for harvest. But not all get their desired harvest. It is even more hurting to see your beautiful queens laying on the ground one week to the day of harvest.
Animals can prove to be dangerous predators to your crop. Compared to pests, bigger animals destroy your plants quickly and, in most cases, you will lose everything in the blink of an eye with no chance of salvaging anything meaningful.
That is why I created this guide. I have seen and read about farmers languishing and cursing animals to the best of their ability. So, I decided to make it upon myself to find out the most common predators, how you can easily figure out their presence, and what you can do to seal them off permanently.
Here we go.
It is not new. Birds have been used as a natural way of controlling pests in farms and plantations. However, they can prove to be a source of unhappiness to cannabis farmers.
How are birds a threat to cannabis plants?
- Cannabis breeders growing for seeds are at the losing end when it comes to bird predators. Birds love to eat seeds, and cannabis plants are no exception.
- Sometimes during spring, fall, and summer, birds prepare for the cold winters when food is hard to come by. Well, make hay when the sun shines. The little flying animals dig holes around the plants to stash their extra food.
- For those growing their plants in the open, birds can dig up seed before they germinate.
- Birds love perching on branches to either rest or while eating. If your plants are not strong enough, you may be surprised to find your cannabis plants stressed.
Signs of birds
- If you cannot account for seeds lost from your cannabis flowers- missing seeds and no signs of the culprit on sight
- Small holes on the ground
- Bird droppings sometimes on the leaves
How to prevent birds from your plants
- Germinate your seeds indoors before transferring them outside
- Tensioning a net. You can use a net over your pots for germinating seeds. Also, tensioning a net over your crops will help keep the birds away permanently.
- Place reflective objects around your plants or grow area to scare them away. Your old CDs are an excellent choice.
- Birdfeeders can be a solution but one whose efficiency depends on the foods that you offer the birds and your strategic positioning. Place the feeder away from the crops where birds can quickly notice it. Too near to your crops will only attract them to your shiny flowers.
Rats are a unique animal species. For one, they have high breeding rates. Did you know that the gestation period of rats is 3-4 weeks? What makes it worse is that these animals can give birth to large litters- 5-6 per pregnancy. They can also squeeze through the tiniest of spaces to access your grow area.
How are rodents a threat?
- They can nibble on the stems and stems when they run out of food or as a way of stopping their fast-growing teeth.
- Stress the plant or break it when young
Signs of rodents
- Squeaking sounds
- Nibble marks on the leaves and stem.
How to stop rats and mice
- Seal all access points with silicone. These can be small holes or openings in your grow area.
- Use rat traps to capture them.
- (not recommended) Rat poison when the numbers are unbearable. However, this is not environmentally friendly and especially to your plants if they come in contact.
- Maintain hygiene in your house and compound. Rats scavenge on human garbage. Be sure to seal your trash correctly in containers that rodents cannot bore through. Also, sweep away your pet food and thrash it properly.
- How about getting a cat?
They are the real diggers in the animal kingdom and can burrow into the ground, digging tunnels everywhere. Moles can dig up to 18 inches an hour, impressive, right? Their strong claws are to thank for.
So how are moles a threat?
Directly, moles may not harm your plants. They prove to be of less interest to them. However, in the burrowing and tunneling, they can do it in the direction of your plants. Now, what if your plants were disturbed around their root system? They will be left vulnerable to low nutrient and water uptake. If the impact is directly under the roots, your plants may lose their grip on the soil. All these can turn to hefty collateral damage.
Signs of moles
- Mounds of loose soil on the surface
- Drying vegetation
How to stop moles
- Anti-mole netting is sometimes known as underground fencing. You can improvise a screen or large can and dig it into the area around your plant’s roots. Ensure that it is big enough to not deter the roots from growing and developing.
- Mole traps placed strategically can help catch and eradicate the animals.
- Planting a plant known as Caper Spurge has been touted as another effective way to repel the animals.
- Ensuring no grubs in the soils around your crops. Give them no reason to come near your grow area.
They dig deep into the ground and can easily be mistaken for moles. However, they are interested in your plant’s roots.
How are gophers a threat?
Gophers devour the roots of plants in their way. Your plant stands little survival chances if this happens.
This is how you differentiate gophers from moles.
- Deep holes into the soil
- Their holes often have an entrance hole.
- Your plants start to dry up or get pulled into the ground.
- Underground fencing like for moles, will also work against gophers
- Adding garlic or castor oil to their holes drives them away
They are heavy feeders eating up to 2% of their body weight a day. Your plants may not be the first attraction. However, if they run out of food in their locality, they will then target your queens.
How are deer a threat
- They are the heaviest in our list so far, meaning they can knock over your plants, breaking them.
- Deer are explorers. They can have a light taste of the leaves and opt for flowers meant to form precious buds.
- Cloven hoof prints
- Bean-shaped droppings
- Whooshing sounds
Stopping deer before they wreak havoc
- High and robust fences that they cannot knock or jump over
- Repellent odors like spraying garlic and predator urine.
- If you have invested heavily and your pockets never run dry, you may invest in an electronic method such as motion sensors or an electronic fence.
They are our animal friends, cute, lovely, and cuddly. However, they can unexpectedly harm your crops. To know whether these animals visited your produce, check for their waste or prints in the soil.
They usually do not eat cannabis plants or use them as shelter. However, they may spend some time around the growing area. When not well trained, these domestic animals may use the ground as a toilet. Their urine is high in ammonia. Also, the fecal matter may attract pests to your crops.
Preventing domestic animals
- Use plant repellents around your grow area.
- Use a water gun to train them not to come near the plants
- Short fences may not work for cats but can be effective against your dog.
Which animals would you like to be included in the list above? Do you have any suggestions on how we can keep them from our beautiful queens?