How to protect your outdoor cannabis plants from mother nature

Published Aug 13, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / kulkann

Growing outdoors has its perks and then a whole bunch of downsides, as you can cultivate numerous plants with very few resources on hand because nature has a way of nurturing, but the raw power that can come through in the form of sudden rainstorms, wind, flooding, and scalding sunshine, is something that you’ll always have to worry about with an outdoor garden, so it is important to learn how to negate as much of the risk as possible. Otherwise, you could find an entire crop gone in one season, and no one wants to suffer such a fate after hours of hard work and months of dedication.

1. Plant according to the wind

There are plenty happening outdoor that can cause harm to your cannabis plants, but one of the most devastating natural occurrences is just regular old wind. Anything above 15-20 km per hour can be deadly to a fragile cannabis plant, as the stem can only take so much pressure before it snaps, and once it does, its chances of making a full recovery are slim to none.

This might sound a bit scary, after all, a windstorm can come out of just about anywhere at any time, but there are some sure-fire ways to avoid this common problem. You can place a small homemade greenhouse over top of it, or pay attention to which direction the wind most often comes from in larger, more powerful gusts, and ensure to plant on the opposite side of a building that can block a lot of the blow. It’s not a guarantee, but it helps to keep your plant in one piece until harvest time.

2. Trellising

If you’ve never used a trellis, then now is the time to familiarize yourself with this helpful garden accessory as it can go a long way in protecting your cannabis plant from the wind and rain, both of which put pressure on the weakest points which can cause irreversible damage. However, with a trellis, the stem and branches will be so much stronger, giving it a better chance of survival through even the harshest of storms, which is why we highly recommend this additional safety net for all outdoor growers.

3. Ensure proper drainage

Root rot and dirt displacement kill far too many cannabis plants each and every year, and it’s all caused by the presence of too much water. Water is great for a drink when your plant needs it, but too much can soften the soil causing movement and stress to the fragile root system, and too much-resting water will quickly rot away even the healthiest bunches of roots. Avoiding this problem is easy, but it does require a bit of thinking ahead of time.

Most regular household gardens are in semi raised flower beds, because new soil is added year after year to keep the nutrients widely available for everything that you grow there, but this alone isn’t always enough to keep the water from settling just a little bit deeper in the soil, which is why it’s a good idea to dig a small few inches deep trench all around your outdoor garden.

This nicely dug ditch will give the excess water a place to go, and make it more obvious to you when root rot may be an issue, in the case where a transplant is the best course of action, and it only takes a few minutes and several square inches to add one to your garden. So, grab a shovel and get digging if you want to avoid the possibility of your plants getting washed out.

4. Gently shake plants after a rain

Now that you know how to keep your plants standing straight up and true throughout anything that nature might throw at it, it’s time to consider what you should do after this kind of weather hits, as merely standing isn’t a good indication of health. As you might already know, cannabis plants produce dense flowers, and these parts are notorious for clinging to excess water long after a storm has passed.

This excess water can cause damage over time if it doesn’t happen before the branches or stems give way to the weight, and it can encourage mold growth which is terrible for you and anyone who might be consuming the cannabis flower after harvest. Luckily, you can avoid all of that, and all you have to do is head out to your garden after every rain, and give the branches a gentle shake until the big drops of water stop falling, and you’ve relieved some of the unnecessary pressure on the plant.

5. Mend broken plants ASAP

Sometimes things happen that don’t seem to have any real reason, like a broken branch, or a bent stem that comes out of what seems like nowhere, which is why it is important to check on your outdoor cannabis plants regularly for damage, and when you find it, it is essential that you patch it up the best that you can, to give the plant the best chance to heal.

You see if a branch or stem breaks, it’s shocking to the plant's system, but if you attempt to reattach it soon enough, you can often get it to fuse back together, causing a scar rather than lifelong damage. So if you want to keep your outdoor plants in the best condition to survive in nature, then it’s a good idea to keep things like splits and plant tape on hand for the moment that this situation arises, so that you can act quickly and effectively.

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