For commercial cannabis growers, integrated pest management, or IPM, is a must. IPM is an approach to controlling pests that emphasizes prevention and using the least toxic solutions first. In this post, we’ll discuss what IPM is, why it’s important, and how to implement it in your cannabis grow operation.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
IPM is an approach to pest management that uses a combination of techniques to prevent pests from becoming a problem in the first place and to control them when they do occur. These techniques include crop rotation, biological control (using beneficial insects to control pests), and the use of physical barriers like screens and traps. IPM also emphasizes the use of least-toxic solutions such as insecticidal soap and horticultural oil before resorting to more toxic pesticides. For cannabis growers, Spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats, and aphids are common pests.
Why is integrated pest management important?
Why is IPM important for cannabis growers? Cannabis is a high-value crop, so even a small infestation can cause significant economic damage. Moreover, because cannabis is often consumed for its medicinal properties, it’s important to minimize the use of pesticides in order to protect patients’ health. Implementing an IPM program can help growers achieve these goals.
Here are some tips for implementing IPM in your cannabis grow operation:
- Monitor your plants regularly for signs of pests or disease. Be sure to check both the tops and undersides of leaves, as well as stems and flowers. Use a hand lens or microscope if needed.
- Keep records of what you find so you can spot trends over time. This will help you identify problems early on and take steps to prevent them from getting worse.
- Take action immediately if you find signs of pests or disease. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to control the problem.
- Use the least toxic solution that will be effective. Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, and traps are all good options to try first. Pesticides should be used only as a last resort.
- Continuous use of a foliar spray intended for integrated pest management.
- Be sure to follow all label directions when using any type of pesticide. This includes specifying the right plant parts to treat, wearing personal protective equipment, and making sure there is adequate ventilation during application.
- Implement other good cultural practices such as crop rotation and sanitation (removing dead leaves and debris from the grow area). These practices can help discourage pests and diseases from taking hold in the first place.
All cannabis growers need to be practicing quality IPM techniques
Integrated Pest Management is a vital tool for commercial cannabis growers, indoor or outdoor, who want to protect their crops from pests and diseases while minimizing the use of pesticides. By monitoring plants regularly, taking action immediately when problems are found, and using least-toxic solutions first, growers can effectively control pests while reducing risks to patients’ health.
Looking for a partner to assist with developing your operation’s Integrated Pest Management strategy and plan? Contact Existo to get started.