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It's summer and nothing sounds better than chilling poolside with a smoke—but there are many chores to do in your outdoor cannabis garden to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Now’s the time to give your plants that extra bit of care and attention. You’ve got the scorching heat, pesky bugs, and the risk of mold to worry about—so don't snooze in the sun.
5 Chores To Do In Your Outdoor Cannabis Garden
1. Aerate Soil
Aeration refers to the process of perforating the soil to improve the water penetration and oxygen flow into the soil. Summer is the perfect time to aerate your soil to allow those spring soil amendments to reach your roots.
So, how do you aerate your soil? Easy!
A broad fork is an invaluable tool to have around any garden. Simply press the fork’s prongs into the soil several feet and lift to loosen the compacted soil. If you don't have a broad fork, a rod and hammer will do but requires a bit more physical labor.
We recommend aerating your soil at least three times per year—in the spring, in the summer, and before fall. Properly aerating your soil can provide your plant’s roots with enough oxygen and air to grow big and strong to produce healthy plants and big buds.
2. Water Plants
It's critical to provide your plants with the right amount of water so they don't become heat-stressed and droop and wilt during the hot summer months. Don't let them dry-out, but also don't overwater.
Give them water without harmful chemicals that will stunt their growth. Tap water from a municipal source can contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine and other oxidizing by-products.
Invest in a reverse osmosis system with a charcoal filter to keep your plant growth strong. It will filter out chlorine, chloramines, and trihalomethanes from your water.
Capturing water is a cheap alternative to filtered or bottled water. If using rainwater from a well, test for high levels of sulfur and iron that prevent absorption of necessary nutrients.
3. Prune Plants
During the plant’s vigorous vegetative growth, you'll notice some dead and unnecessary foliage that can affect the growth and health of your plant. Careful and strategic pruning of dead plant material can improve yields and the quality of your buds. It also reduces the risk of mold by improving airflow.
Removing dead branches, stems, and any other unhealthy plant matter allows your plant to provide nutrients and water to its healthier regions. Pruning also creates a more open center of the plant, exposing areas that don't normally get sunlight.
Pruning should be reserved for young and small stems and branches, which are able to heal faster and won't succumb to fungal diseases compared to pruning right before your plants are getting ready for flowering.
Similar to pruning, defoliation is a type of pruning that involves removing the fan leaves from the cannabis plant. This technique is best reserved for late summer right before your plants start to flower.
Pruning is a more intensive technique that can remove branches and stress out of plants if you're not careful. Defoliation only involves the removal of leaves.
By removing the excess fan leaves, you are allowing light to penetrate deeper into the canopy for faster and bigger growth.
Defoliation can start in the vegetative stage and go well into the flowering stage since it does not stress the plant out as much as pruning. Defoliation should occur when the leaves are beginning to overlap with each other and when your plant is hardy and healthy enough to handle the stress.
However, too much defoliation can hurt your plants during the summer. Make sure to leave some of the large fan leaves on the plant so that the nutrients can be absorbed by them.
More aggressive defoliation can occur in the fall to focus the energy on bud growth.
5. Pest Management
Last and maybe most important on your list of chores to do in your outdoor cannabis garden is pest control. Summer plant maintenance involves protecting your plants from fungi, insects, and other pests that can affect your plants when they are stressed.
Here are some pest management tips to make your plant healthy and strong all summer long:
- Fungi: Mycorrhizae is a type of helpful fungi that can break down organic matter in the soil, thereby, allowing the plants to better absorb nutrients and minerals.
- Bacteria: Beneficial bacteria can help improve the uptake of nutrients from the soil, stimulate plant hormones, and reduce the risk for disease. Helpful bacteria include:
- Bacillus subtilis
- Pseudomonas fluorescens
- Trichoderma species
- Compost tea: Compost tea can reduce the presence of weeds and pests, give plants a big dose of nutrients, and improve water retention.
- Micronized wettable sulfur: This type of sulfur can help eliminate mildew, botrytis, and mites.
- Food-grade diatomaceous earth: This is an organic form of pest control that can be applied directly to dry soil.
- Beneficial insects: If you're keen on organic pest control methods, research insects that dine on the insects giving you issues, i.e. ladybugs.
Learn What Chores to Do In Your Outdoor Cannabis Garden Every Season
There's never a shortage of chores to do in your outdoor cannabis garden ever season! Even when you're not able to grow because of weather, you can still plan and prepare for next season and build strong soil.
Enroll in Cannabis Training University’s online marijuana college for a complete cannabis education program. Learn the ins and outs of growing cannabis from seed to harvest.
CTU will give you the knowledge you need to keep your plants healthy and strong from spring to fall!