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How to Prune Your Cannabis

How to Prune Your Cannabis

how to prune cannabis plants

Plant pruning is an essential tool for keeping your plants healthy and keeping energy focused to the parts of your plant that need it most.

If you don’t prune your cannabis plants, the small branches and leaves under your canopy can steal that energy away. It might seem wasteful to cut off any part of your plant that looks like it is growing fine, but it can actually be the opposite.

Why Prune Cannabis?

When your cannabis plants are young and just starting their vegetative stage, they’re small and it’s easy for light and air to penetrate every part of your plants. But that changes as they grow.

As your cannabis grows taller and wider with vegetative growth, the canopy that develops can start to take the majority of light away from the lower portion of the plant. This means that branches, leaves and even potential flower sites can’t get the light they need.

Additionally, as your plant grows thicker and forms a canopy, it becomes difficult for air to penetrate and pass through the whole plant. This causes the lower parts of your cannabis to get stuck in pockets of warm air with little light, and that’s no good.

Pruning your cannabis is simply just getting rid of the parts of the plant that aren’t going to produce flower or benefit the plant going forward as it grows.

How to Prune Cannabis

You can maintain regular basic pruning practices with just your hands, but to really have an impact, you’ll want to use a pair of trimming scissors and have a pair of shears on hand in case you run into a tough branch.

Before you break out the scissors, check your plants for dead leaves, withering leaves, and leaves lower on the plant that aren’t receiving light. Remove these leaves by hand to get a better view of your plants throughout to see the branches and flower sites you might want to remove.

Next, beginning at the bottom of your plants, you want to looks for branches that are growing upward and underneath the canopy. Due to their growth pattern, these branches will never be able to get the light they need to produce harvest-worthy flowers and be cut out.

There may also be flower sites that have formed directly on the stem of your plants. You want to snip those off too.

By cutting out these branches and lower flower sites, your plants will focus more energy on the tops of your plants, producing bigger, better flowers up top.

Don’t Prune Later in Flower

While you can (and should) prune your plants regularly throughout their vegetative stage and early into the flower stage, you will want to cease pruning when they get three to four weeks into the flowering stage.

Cutting off portions of your plant later in the flower stage can reactivate vegetative growth from the sites you cut. Needless to say, if vegetative growth starts up in your flower stage, it’s going to take extremely valuable energy away from your flower sites at the top of the plants.

Best Cannabis Root Supplements

Best Cannabis Root Supplements

best cannabis root supplements

The fastest way to plant your cannabis isn’t always the best, and just putting your plants into the ground and giving them water doesn’t always get the best results.

Just about every ganja grower is planting their outdoor cannabis over the next few weeks if they haven’t already. Especially if you’re growing from clones that you got started inside, you need to take extra precautions to make sure they don’t suffer from transplant shock or rooting issues once you move them to a new outdoor medium.

There’s a few different products we like to use at The Real Dirt that have been tried and true over the years. These are proven root supplements that yield great results, from thriving root zones with fat, healthy roots to lush vegetative growth that gets your plants primed for flowering. If you have other root supplements you love to use, comment at the bottom of this post what your favorites are!

What is a Root Supplement?

To get the basics out of the way, when it comes to plant health and development, there’s three major nutrients that plants need, and you probably already know them: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK).

But NPK isn’t all a plant needs to thrive, and supplementing other micronutrients and beneficial bacteria with your regular nutrients can boost plant development during specific stages. When you want to boost your plant’s root health so they grow bigger and stronger – which will always leader to bigger and stronger plants above ground – you use root supplements.

Best Root Supplements

Here’s our top three root supplements that you should try out.

Elite Root Ignitor

Elite Root Ignitor root supplement

Engineered to perform, Elite Root Igniter is specifically formulated to increase root mass. Like the foundation of a house, a root mass that is thicker and spread evenly will provide stronger support.

This translates to lower stress levels on your cannabis and more effective absorption of both water and beneficial nutrients. Simply put, more root mass is better!

This formulation is a state-of-the-art liquid mycorrhizal inoculant. Mycorrhizae, a species of beneficial fungi, are scientifically proven to increase root mass, and lessen the damaging impacts of medium toxicity.

General Hydroponics RapidStart

general hydroponics rapidstart root supplement product

RapidStart enhances your growing experience by delivering a powerful blend of premium plant extracts, amino acids, and nutrients generating explosive root growth.

This root supplement stimulates prolific root branching and development of fine root hairs that increase nutrient uptake and grow healthier, whiter roots.

Using RapidStart will make your plants explode! And you can use it during the entire growing cycle in all types of growing media, including coco.

Botanicare Rhizo Blast

botanicare rhizo blast root supplement plant product

Rhizo Blast from Botanicare is a powerful root developing tonic that boosts root growth.

Their proprietary formula contains a blend of seaweed, single-celled algae and other mineral nutrients that help generate robust root growth while maintaining a strong rhizosphere.

Strong Roots = Strong Plants

That’s what it all comes down to in the end. Some plants have naturally strong roots that will spread throughout your soil rapidly. Others might need a little help in the beginning to get going.

But with a root supplement at the beginning and throughout your growth cycle in addition to your regular feeding regiment you can create a massive, strong and healthy root zone that will be visible in your plant size, durability and yields.

Is Organic Cannabis worth it?

Is Organic Cannabis worth it?

Organic cannabis is becoming the standard in the industry, but what does it take to become truly organic?

At The Real Dirt we are big fans of using organic cultivation practices. Whether it’s using a compost tea, creating a living soil, or incorporating organic fertilizers into your nutrient regiment, there’s a lot you can do when it comes growing more organically.

But what does it take to grow 100% organic, and is it worth the trouble?

Growing organic cannabis vs growing cannabis with organics

It’s easy to incorporate organic products into your current grow regiment. But that’s not the same as growing organic cannabis. Sure, your cannabis will be more organic than if you hadn’t used an organic input, but to truly produce organic cannabis, it all has to be organic.

From the products you use to the medium you grow in, every factor of your grow needs to be organic. You need sustainable and environmentally friendly grow practices. And it’s a lot easier said than done.

The reason hydroponics and synthetic nutrients are so popular, is because these systems allow growers to produce big, high quality yields consistently. Synthetic nutrients are specifically formulated to feed your plant the exact portions it needs to grow strong foliage and dense buds. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done in an organic grow.

Common organic cultivation practices

Developing organic cultivation practices takes time, because nature takes time. Living soil is an incredible way to grow organic cannabis, but you can’t buy it in a bag at the store. But you can buy everything you need to start making your own.

Living soil is composed of organic inputs, like earthworms, bat and seabird guanos, peat moss and composts. When you combine organic inputs together in your soil base, over time an organic biome will develop in your medium.

Your plants will benefit from the organic setting, and it will feed off of the organic matter in your soil. But it can take a season or two to get you living soil truly living, and some growers don’t have that time.

Chip Baker answered some frequently asked questions about organic inputs if you want to learn more.

Time and money

That’s what it comes down to; time and money. You can pick up some organic soil, feed your plants nothing but water and call it organic. It just might not be the best quality cannabis you’ve ever had.

It takes time and money to wade through the various organic inputs you can use to enhance your plant quality organically. When synthetic nutrients can be cheap, concentrated and effective, it’s easy to see why a lot of growers prefer synthetics. But flushing out your plants when it comes time to harvest so there’s no residual chemicals from the synthetic nutrients does not make it organic in the end.

Is it worth it?

Yes. While we could end it right here, let us explain a little bit.

We live in a world with finite resources, and an environment and climate that is changing around us constantly. When we cultivate cannabis, we need to take into consideration the impact that has on your local ecosystem, and the ecosystem at large.

Water run-off from farms that use synthetic nutrients can end up in water sources for animals and people. It can also soak into the ground, poisoning the plants around it that animals might see as food. Now imagine that on a massive scale.

When thousands of growers use synthetic nutrients without taking care to prevent run-off and other damaging side effects, it stacks up. Additionally the rise of indoor growing has caused a massive spike in electricity usage for cannabis production.

In other words, as the cannabis industry grows and more people have the ability to cultivate their own cannabis, the need for more organic and sustainable practices will grow too. And knowing the cannabis community, growers will rise to the challenge.

2020 Outdoor Grow Prep Guide

2020 Outdoor Grow Prep Guide

It might not seem like it, but Spring has sprung.

It’s slowly starting to warm up, which means it’s getting closer and closer to planting time!

If you’re growing indoors, you’ve probably already been growing through the winter months, but for those of us who only grow outdoors, now is the time to get your grow in order.

Get the Gear

Those pots from last year might be in rough shape. Cracked plastic or torn fabric won’t help your plants in the long run, so double check your pot conditions and pick up some fresh ones if you need to.

Once you get your pots in the sizes you want you need something to fill them with. Most outdoor growers will grow in some type of soil blend, but soilless media is becoming more popular as well.

A great option is to get your plants started inside in a soilless media like coco coir or rockwool, then transplant them into a hearty soil blend outdoors after they develop. Of course you can’t grow high quality plants without high quality nutrients though!

You can keep it simple with the basics and use organic fertilizers that carry the essential nutrients your plants need, then simply feed them water. But there are more concentrated options, both organic and synthetic that can provide consistent nutrients throughout your plants’ growth that will help grow bigger, stronger plants.

The biggest decision to make when choosing nutrients is whether you want to use organic nutrients, synthetic nutrients or a combination of both.

Prepping your grow

If you’re using pots for your plants then preparing your grow is pretty straightforward. You want to get your pots lined up with enough space between to account for future growth. You don’t want a bunch of plants growing into each other with no space to get in between.

If you’re growing in a soil bed you reuse instead of pots, you still want to make sure your soil is ready. The quick and easy option is to till your soil and mix in your new blend to freshen it up.

Some growers prefer a no-till method, mainly those trying to grow organic. But no-till growing can save time and money since you let the soil do all the work over time, building up its own nutrients and biological life to support your plants.

One of the great perks of growing outdoors is that you save a ton on electricity! Unless you have a greenhouse with supplemental lighting, you don’t need any sort of grow light outdoors because you have the best grow light in the sky.

If you’re just growing a few plants, you can save some more money by hand-watering. However if you have a big farm, you’ll like need some form of irrigation set up when you plant.

You can set up a DIY irrigation system to save some money, but it’s worth a little extra dough to set up a system like Netafim that can take care of every aspect of your feeding schedule.

Once you have your grow organized, you can move on to deciding whether or not you want to grow from seed or clone. We have a guide on how you can choose between the two, since both have their pros and cons.

There’s more steps you can take to make sure your outdoor grow is primed and ready for planting like soil conditioning, fertilization and more. But cannabis doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to grow strong and dank. Just some preparation and care throughout its growth.

Pot entrepreneurs flocking to the Bible Belt for low taxes

Pot entrepreneurs flocking to the Bible Belt for low taxes

oklahoma cannabis industry news

Jessica Baker takes a cutting of a plant at the Baker’s marijuana nursery at Baker Medical, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Oklahoma City. When voters in conservative Oklahoma approved medical marijuana in 2018, many thought the rollout would be ploddingly slow and burdened with bureaucracy. Instead, business is booming so much cannabis industry workers and entrepreneurs are moving to Oklahoma from states with more well-established pot cultures, like California, Colorado and Oregon. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY — From their keen taste for sun-ripened pot to their first meeting at a pro-marijuana rally in college in the 1990s, everything about Chip and Jessica Baker fits the stereotype of cannabis country in Northern California, where they lived for 20 years.

Jessica, with wavy hair that falls halfway down her back, is a practicing herbalist, acupuncturist and aromatherapist who teaches classes on the health benefits of cannabis. Scruffy-bearded Chip wears a jacket with a prominent “grower” patch and hosts a marijuana podcast called “The Real Dirt.” They started their pot business in rugged Humboldt County when it was the thriving epicenter of marijuana cultivation.

But the couple bid goodbye to the weed-friendly West and moved somewhere that might seem like the last place they would end up — Oklahoma.

They’re part of a green rush into the Bible Belt that no one anticipated when Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana less than two years ago. Since then, a combination of factors — including a remarkably open-ended law and a red state’s aversion to government regulation — have created such ideal conditions for the cannabis industry that entrepreneurs are pouring in from states where legal weed has been established for years.

Though 11 states have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use, Oklahoma’s medical law is the closest thing to it: Anyone with any ailment, real or imagined, who can get a doctor’s approval can get a license to buy. It’s not hard to do. Already, nearly 6% of the state’s 4 million residents have obtained their prescription cards. And people who want to sell pot can do it as easily as opening a taco stand.

“Oklahoma is really allowing for normal people to get into the cannabis industry, as opposed to other places where you need $20 million up front,” said Jessica Baker.

The Bakers have a marijuana farm about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Oklahoma City, along with a dispensary, nursery and gardening shop in a working-class part of town where virtually every vacant shop and building has been snapped up by weed entrepreneurs in the last year.

When he leased his place, which had been vacant for 10 years, Chip Baker said, “to celebrate, the owner went to Hawaii for a month.”

Unlike other states, Oklahoma did not limit the number of business licenses for dispensaries, growers or processors.

In less than two years, Oklahoma has more than 2,300 pot stores, or the second most per capita in the U.S. behind only Oregon, which has had recreational marijuana sales for five years. Oklahoma has four times more retail outlets than more populous Colorado, which pioneered full legalization.

“Some of these states are regulating cannabis like plutonium,” said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, the national trade group for marijuana businesses. “And the financial burdens that are placed on licensed businesses are so onerous, that not only is it very difficult to stay in business, but it’s also very difficult for the legal, state-regulated systems to compete with the illicit market.”

Marijuana taxes approach 50% in some California communities and are a factor in some business closings.

California requires a $1,000 application fee, a $5,000 surety bond and an annual license fee ranging from $2,500 to $96,000, depending on a dispensary’s projected revenue, along with a lengthy application process. Licenses can cost $300,000 annually.

In Oklahoma, a dispensary license costs $2,500, can be filled out online and is approved within two weeks.

Arkansas, next door to Oklahoma, also has medical marijuana, but like most such states, it allows purchase only for treatment of certain diseases, such as glaucoma or post-traumatic stress disorder. It also requires a $100,000 surety bond. Louisiana, which also tightly restricts prescriptions, has only nine licensed dispensaries.

Ford Austin and his sister opened the APCO Medical Marijuana Dispensary in a gentrifying part of Oklahoma City after he gave up on plans for a California weed store. “There’s way more opportunity here,” he said.

Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, an Oklahoma attorney specializing in cannabis law, said about 15% of her cannabis clients are coming from out of state.

“I frequently receive calls from people in the cannabis industry in California,” Gossett Parrish said.

People in some rural towns are worried about the Wild West atmosphere of the boom, particularly where shops with funny weed-pun names, waving banners and blinking signs have opened near schools and churches.

A Republican state legislator, Jim Olsen, has proposed a bill banning dispensaries within 1000 feet (305 meters) of a church. “While I recognize that some people do find pain relief from medical marijuana, with children we really don’t want them to think that when they reach problems in life, that marijuana is a good answer to that.”

But Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and the GOP-controlled Legislature have shown no interest in reining in the industry since the ballot measure authorizing it passed overwhelmingly. The industry has mostly fought off local attempts at zoning.

Many communities are welcoming cannabis shops because of the sales tax revenue. In college-town Norman and in Oklahoma City, at least a half dozen businesses have joined the chambers of commerce.

“In our community, I think most businesses view them as equals,” said Scott Martin, president of the Norman Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve even had a handful of ribbon cutting ceremonies.”

Marijuana sales generated $54 million in tax revenue last year, accounted for the sharpest ever annual decline in empty mid-sized industrial properties in Oklahoma City, and booked up electricians around Tulsa outfitting new grow rooms with lights and temperature controls.

Even some longtime opponents of marijuana legalization have softened their tone.

Sheriff Chris West in Canadian County, one of many law enforcement officers who decried the 2018 legalization ballot measure, says a number of farmers he knows have decided to switch crops.

“I’ve had them call me and tell me, ‘Sheriff, we’re going to venture into this business and we’d like for you to come out and see our facility, because we want you to know what we’re doing.’ And these are longtime, good, godly, Christian families that see it as an income opportunity.”

Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Cannabis has come a long way just in the last decade. But just because there’s more high quality cannabis available doesn’t mean the dirt weed can’t still make its way into your sack.

There’s plenty of obvious dirt weed out there. The Mexican bricks, the seed-filled nugs, unflushed bud that won’t burn or tastes terrible. Luckily all of this can be avoided!

With a little bit of knowledge you can make sure your cannabis isn’t dirt weed before you even smoke it. Using your eyes, nose and fingers you would be surprised how much you can find out about your sack of bud.

Does it look like dirt weed?

The most obvious way to tell if you have some dirt weed is to just look at it. If it’s really bad, you’ll probably be able to tell.

Yellowing leaves, brown buds, and a lack of trichomes on the outside are typically signs of a bud that is not great quality. But there are plenty of strains out there that might not look good, but still taste great and produce great effects.

For this reason, some buds take a closer look. Maybe that’s with an actual loupe or microscope to analyze the bud more closely. But for your average consumer just checking out a fresh sack of bud, that means bringing in the smell.

How does it smell?

Interestingly and luckily for us, a lot of dirt weed smells the same. There’s a signature smell that bad cannabis has that resembles old, dry hay. Like if you went to a farm, grabbed a handful of hay that has been sitting outside for the last month and took a whiff. If you get that smell from your cannabis, it could be old, moldy, or just straight low quality.

Cannabis has a lot of unique terpenes that give it different odors depending on the phenotype and genetics the plant carries. There are plenty of cannabis strains that most would consider to be high quality that have a unique, and sometimes off-putting smell. For example there’s Cat Piss, which gets its name from the unique odor it gives off.

In case you aren’t familiar, cat piss doesn’t smell good. Yet the Cat Piss strain is a well-liked and even sought-out strain by connoisseurs everywhere for its rarity. So if even weird smelling cannabis strains can still be high quality, how can you tell if you have dirt weed? Fingers.

How’s it feel?

So your looking at your sack of bud; it doesn’t look great, but it’s not brown, the smell isn’t like your usual stuff but it doesn’t smell like hay either. At this point, you could be dealing with a pretty unique strain, a mediocre bud or you’re just missing one key thing; the feel.

An important thing to remember when it comes to feeling out a bud is that dry does not always mean bad. Colorado cannabis is naturally more dry due to the lack of humidity and elevation, which makes the cannabis buds almost crumble in your fingers with a little pressure (which is great if you don’t have a grinder). California cannabis on the other hand has much more moisture, and can even be difficult to break apart and grind up (but typically burns a little more slowly). Nevertheless the importance of checking a bud with your hands shouldn’t be overlooked. If the bud feels a little too wet, break it open and check for bud rot.

There’s one thing a good bud has regardless of it’s dryness, and that’s stickiness. Trichome content will tell you a lot about your cannabis’ quality just by look and touch. Not every bud is frosty and caked in trichomes, but if you break it apart in your fingers and it leaves some sticky resin on your finger tips and more smells come out when you break it apart, that’s a good sign.

Overall, if you get a bud that looks and smells questionable, you’re probably better off just avoiding it. However if you’re in a pinch and it’s all you got, always double check to make sure it is safe to consume by cracking it open and making sure it isn’t moldy. Let’s be real, we smoked a lot worse 15 years ago, and the odds of smoking some cannabis that will actually make you sick are pretty low. But it’s always better to safe than sorry, and with your eyes, nose and fingers you can tell if a bud is good enough for you, or if it’s just some dirt weed.