Not every grower has the luxury conditions to grow cannabis outdoors without any worrying. Those who live in hot, dry areas suffer not less than those who have lack of sunlight and too much rain. We have collected some efficient tips that can minimize the problems produced by high temperature and water losses.
Desert-like conditions can seriously damage your plants that grow outdoors. First of all, you need a lot of water to provide enough energy for your ladies. Second, you need to defend your garden from the hot wind that brings little particles of dust and sand. The wind can not only cause ground erosion and as a result accelerate water loss, it can also damage the surface of the leaves and flowers.
The strains that prefer a humid climate will suffer the most. If you have such an option, it is better to grow the varieties of cannabis that do not require too much humidity and are more adaptive to new conditions. Therefore, choose seeds rather than clones, as the plants grown from seeds adapt to the climate much faster and more successfully. It would also be wise to use autoflowering strains: as they have the DNA of ruderalis in their genes, autoflowering strains are less sensitive to severe weather conditions. They also do not grow high, which means they will require less water than, for instance, their sativa sisters.
The easiest way to defend your cannabis garden from the hot wind is to grow it in a place with natural wind barriers. They can be bushes, hedges, tall flowers (for instance, sunflowers) or tall trees. However, not every grower has such conditions, and if you are one of the unfortunates, here you can find what you can do to improve this situation.
If you have any trees with big leaves (like palms or ailanthus) in your area, you can use them as a wind barrier. In the agricultural store, you can buy metal or plastic fence and install it all around your garden. Big leaves can easily be weaved through the openings in the fence.
To make sure the fence will stand still, you may tie it to wooden sticks or special posts that you can find in the same store. However, if you want to make your fence more stable and make it serve you longer, then you need to spend some time on the installation first. Dig pipe sleeves into the ground and place barrier posts inside them. You can fix the barrier to the posts with the help of metal pins or wire.
When the season is over, simply take your barrier together with the posts out of the sleeves, roll up the fence (with or without leaves) and store it. We would recommend you to disassemble the barrier in the dry weather and store it in a dry place so that the whole installation remains dry and does not get rusted during the winter season.
Instead of leaves (that in most occasion will cost you nothing), you can also use special shade cloth that would do you the same service, but will require a certain money investment. This cloth differs depending on how much of wind it blocks (usually from 30 to 90 percent). If you do not know which cloth to choose, simply ask the local growers or a store assistant. This cloth can also be used for sunlight or dust defense. In this case, you need to install it above your plants. But this, of course, would require much more work and a greenhouse-like construction.
Here we need to note that building a solid fence that completely stops the wind is not the best idea. That may cause the sauna effect, and your plants will either boil (if you water them too much) or burn under the sun. Another disadvantage of no-wind conditions is the high risk of pests or mildew contamination. That is why it is better not to choose the 90 percent shade cloth, or at least to make some holes in it to let some wind come inside.
Sometimes, wind, sun, and occasional showers cause erosion, which can seriously damage the plants' health. However, the good thing is that if you notice the early signs of erosion, you will be able to save the situation.
Look for the places where the plants grow slower or worse than the rest. On the spots with erosion, it is also possible to see the plant's roots, the channels and gullies. When you water the plants, the water may form muddy puddles and stay for long, or vice versa, immediately disappear in the cracks.
A wind barrier will prevent further erosion. However, it will not make the ground resurrect. Moreover, the state of earth will deteriorate during the winter season when you remove the barrier.
That is why you also need to help the soil recover and stabilize it. First of all, get rid of all the gullies or channels if you have any. Hoe the soil and let the plants grow naturally. It means that if you have only cannabis in your garden, plant some other plants that will help hold the soil with their roots. The best option is to use companion planting. There are plenty of different flowers that can do you a good service and not only save the soil from erosion but also increase the yield of marijuana. You can even plant a whole mix of plants, in case some of them do not do well.
The trick here is to leave those plants growing even after you harvest your cannabis so that they hold the soil during the rain season. These plants will also turn into natural compost and fertilize the soil. You just need to hoe the garden after all plants fade.
If the erosion of the soil is already quite bad, you may want to cover it with mulches. It will help the moisture stay in the ground longer and give some additional nutrients to the plants.
In the areas where the sun is extremely hot and the wind is strong, it is better to make a tent with 30 percent shade cloth. You will have to pay more for the facilities, but eventually, you will have to spend less water and will be more confident about your plants' health.