Ways to keep your outdoor cannabis plants safe this summer

Published Jun 2, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET
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Whether you fear theft of your precious cannabis plants or you just want to ensure that they stay as happy and healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind as you plant and care for this season's crop. Attempting everything listed here might seem a tad overkill, especially now that it’s legal to cultivate outdoor cannabis, but if you want to be 100% certain, then it’s an excellent place to start.

Don’t cultivate outdoor cannabis in urban settings

Most people live in cities these days, with smaller backyards and stacked accommodations that make privacy nearly impossible. Aside from the inability to hide a small garden of pot plants, you’ll also take an unnecessary risk because someone else could be growing males nearby, which could turn all of your hard work to seed.

Unless you have a large, well-secured, private backyard or balcony that no one can see, you’re probably better off looking into alternative options. You could ask friends or family members who reside in the country or those with the luxury of a safe backyard, or you could take another direction and enlist in the help of a local farmer who might be more than happy to supply a spot to grow in exchange for a small amount of “rent”.

Camouflage

Blending in is a survival skill that will serve your outdoor cannabis plants well, but it needs to be executed properly, otherwise, it could be a hindrance. Like for example, a tomato garden full of giant tree-like stems with similar-looking leaves might seem ideal, but that’s only true if there’s enough room to breathe. If the tomatoes tower over your seedlings, they might just die before ever getting a good glimpse of the light.

In many cases, tall weeds that surround a cannabis garden can offer just enough protection to keep what’s hidden within on the down-low, while bushes, shrubs, and even trees can work in much the same way. If you want to take things to a whole nother level, then you could even get tarps printed up in a real camo pattern to match the landscape because no length is too far to go if it provides a layer of safety.

Don’t keep all your “eggs” in one basket

The old saying holds true when it comes to finances and investing, and it’s just as relevant when discussing outdoor cannabis for a similar reason. If you do put all of your metaphorical eggs (pot plants) into one basket (place or garden) and something happens, then it’s likely to impact all of them. If a pest moves in or a thief discovers this sanctuary, all of your hard work could literally walk away.

For that reason, it’s best to spread out your cannabis plants, when possible, at various and completely different locations. This way, you can have one close to home in the backyard, another slightly less accessible at a neigbours, and perhaps a few more out on a country property somewhere just to be certain. It’s a lot of work, but if something ever happens, you’ll be oh so glad you did it!

Security

At first, you might not ever even consider a form of security; This is just a plant we’re talking about after all, not some diamond or family heirloom. Still, there are several things that you can do without going so far as to hire a personal security guard or investing in a full-scale home surveillance system. Tasks that aren’t nearly as expensive or challenging to pull off, especially if you’ve scattered them as suggested.

The first thing is to set a routine check-in date. This could be every other day, every few days, or even once every couple of weeks, but you should wait much longer than that between visits. Both pests and nutrient deficiencies can get out of hand in as little as 24 hours, causing irreversible damage and devastation in as little as 48 hours. Though big locking barriers like cages or fences are nice, the best preventative measure is your presence.

Deterrents

There are quite a few different deterrents out there to choose from, with some far less conventional than others, and they can deter both people and pests from raiding your precious garden, causing damage to your cannabis plants. Some would say that the best place to start is the soil, while all agree that natural methods are the best ones to take advantage of because they’re effective, safe for the environment, and affordable.

If it’s pests that you fear, then you might want to consider placing an order for a shipment of good old-fashioned ladybugs. Of course, with outdoor cannabis, you can’t keep them contained, but if you get enough of them, many will linger and guard your plants with their lives. Then there are critter and people deterrents, such as netting, fencing, or newspapers, foil or garbage bags strewn out between rows so that if anything pays a visit, it’ll be greeted with an uncomfortable amount of noise that should scare it away.

Don’t talk about them

This whole cultivation thing is all still new and exciting because even if you were growing long before it was legal to do so, now it’s allowed, so you probably want to yell with happiness each time you hit a new milestone. Whether it’s photos being shared on Facebook or bringing people to see for themselves what you’ve managed to achieve, the urge to share this experience will likely be there, but you need to fight it.

When you’re growing cannabis plants indoors, they’re much more secure when they’re outside; it’s not so simple and bringing any attention to their presence could end in tragedy. Though we know that it will be really hard to resist hitting share, after all, you deserve credit for all that you do. Still, it’s best if you wait at least until you’ve harvested those beauties before showing them off to the world.

Stay within your legal limits

Growing pot plants might be legal. Still, you’re obligated to follow the rules and guidelines set out by cannabis regulators in your region, which determine the maximum allowable number of plants per person or household. Growing any more than the allowed amount could result in hard repercussions that just aren’t worth it, plus it could draw unwanted attention towards your summer project.

Worrying about thieves, the weather, and pests is one thing, but when it comes to law enforcement, there will be no reasoning or steps that you can take to protect yourself. So instead of risking your whole garden being taken away and destroyed, it’s safest to keep your cultivation 100% legal.

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