When implementing organic practices, cultivators must carefully evaluate biological pesticides, or their product could be at risk. Pest problems can decimate crops if they go untreated, or if they’re treated with ineffective pesticides.
One biological proven to be effective is neem, according to Sean Reardon, the owner and founder of Greenlife Supply Co. based in York, Maine. Neem comes from Azadirachta indica, more commonly known as the neem tree.
Reardon explains that some neem products come in the form of a water-soluble powder. “When you have a soluble white powder, it disappears as soon as it’s mixed with water, and then it’s totally systemic.”
Systemic pest-control products are absorbed by plants, then kill pests when they feed on the plant. Arborjet’s neem treatment called AzaSol is extremely powerful, Reardon claims.
Growers may also preventively apply water-soluble neem before pest issues arise.
“… It’s not viewed as invasive compound, [so] you can use [it] even if you don’t have pests,” Reardon says. “That way you have this protective barrier already within [the] plant. Also, it will disrupt the mating/feeding pattern for the vast majority of insects that cannabis growers encounter.”
Cleanliness and preventive maintenance are two of the most effective ways to control pests, Reardon says. He also suggests that growers consult with garden suppliers on treatment options.
“Listen to the guys at the grow store,” Reardon says. “We want you to be successful. If your garden is growing, you’re buying more products, and we’re growing with you. And once you get your problem under control, preventive maintenance is the most important part of gardening. You want to think two steps ahead of any problem.”