Many animals can be dangerous for outdoor grows. Compared to insects, larger species can quickly destroy your plants when they’re looking for food or shelter. That’s why it’s important to know what options you have to prevent this. In this article we tell you everything you need to know to help you deal with these unwanted guests.
Imagine you’ve spent hours preparing your outdoor grow. Your seeds germinated and now your healthy plants and growing vigorously, whilst the vision of beautiful buds has started to form in your mind. But one day you wake up to be faced with a totally different scenario: broken stems, leaves that have disappeared or are half eaten, disturbed soil, … There’s only one way to explain this: animals were here!
While insects can be destructive, they usually take a long time to cause severe damage, but the visit of larger animals can be devastating for a crop in just one night. Many species are attracted to cannabis plants and, due to their size, can cause irreparable damage.
Prevention is essential, and there are many ways to protect your plants from animals. A good example is the use of a protective fence around your grow, or some chicken wire around the individual plants. Protection must also go underground, guarding the roots against animals that you can’t see.
Sometimes traps can be used to catch the animals, which can then be released in areas where they can’t do any harm. You can even use repellents to scare them away, such as predator urine (which can be purchased online).
Ask anyone who has planted a crop outdoors… Rest assured they’ll have stories about animals that have destroyed some of their plants, and they can also tell you about the solutions that they’ve used to deal with the problem.
These are some of the options that you can use to deal with the most common enemies that you’re likely to come across:
Having a cute little kitten that likes wandering around your grow may seem harmless, but the problem comes when they need to relieve themselves. Cat urine has a high concentration of ammonia: this is not a free fertiliser but the perfect recipe for burning the roots. Their faeces are also filled with bacteria that attract harmful insects and rodents. Sometimes cats even feel drawn to the cannabis, biting the leaves or even the buds, which can in fact kill them if eaten in large amounts.
You may not instinctively think of dogs as an enemy of your cannabis crop, but they are some of the worst animals that you can come across. When they’re not well trained, they can also use the grow floor as a bathroom, but, above all, they like to trample on the leaves and stems. The big risk is that they might dig too close to the plants and end up breaking the roots. To top it all off, dogs also like the taste of cannabis!
Detection: traces on the ground and smell of faeces or urine. You can also find bent stems and leaves.
Prevention: Everything should be fine as long as you keep your dog away from your plants. A helpful solution is to build a sturdy fence (short ones may not work for cats, but can be effective against dogs). You can also use spicy repellents.
Rodents prefer human litter, but they also have no problem feeding on marijuana. The main reason why they bother the plants is because they have the constant need to bite something. In addition, they can stress the plants or break them when they’re young. And if they are not dealt with quickly, they can reproduce like crazy, which makes it even harder to get rid of them.
Deer eat a lot but are very selective: they like the most nutritious plants that don’t emit strong odours. However, when they have no other option, they’re quite happy to go for any plant. Worse still, as deer like to explore for food, the leaves might not be enough for them and so they may also go for the buds. Plus their size means that they can easily break and knock down your plants.
Moles don’t cause direct damage to the plants because they feed on insects. However, their digging can cause plants to lose their anchor in the ground, which makes them vulnerable and can lead to low water and nutrient absorption. Gophers, groundhogs, prairie dogs, and ground squirrels are all tunnel diggers like moles, but they are herbivores, so instead of just foraging for food they like to feast on the roots of the plants. They can even suck a whole plant into their tunnels in one go!
Feathered friends are a blessing for cannabis crops as they eat all kinds of pests, including caterpillars, snails, and slugs. However, they also love eating seeds, so they can dig them up before they have a chance to germinate. They also like to perch on branches, and so, if the plants aren’t strong enough, they may stress or even break them.
Rabbits are frequent visitors to outdoor crops and love feasting on the roots of the plants. When they’re on the ground, they usually eat the leaves or trample on them, so they can do twice as much damage. Moreover, they can multiply rapidly if not kept at bay.
Foxes are known for their frequent attacks on livestock, but they can also cause problems to cannabis crops by trampling on the plants. They are attracted to fertilisers like manure, dried blood, or bone meal, and so they often dig up newly planted specimens to get at them.
The main danger with these gastropods is that, unlike other species that only nibble at the foliage, they can devour whole leaves and flowers until they satiate their appetite. Eating a couple of leaves is not a serious problem, but if they are allowed to settle for a long time, they can cause enormous damage to the plants.