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The Spider Mite war

Wish we were writing this post on a happier subject… But for the past couple months we’ve been battling a spidermite invasion, and what a battle it’s been !

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Hey there ! 
Wish we were writing this post on a happier subject… But for the past couple months we’ve been battling a spidermite invasion, and what a battle it’s been ! 

The infestation started in our little garden, on our tomatoes to be specific, but with time these suckers spread… Outside they got to our a bunch of our plants and while we were busy raising money for citizen lobbying tool these suckers got to our flowering tent…
Let’s go over this whole o’deal together 😉
Excuse us for not having the best quality pics available on this post, our camera broke and we haven’t been able to replace it yet

The first signs of Spider Mites…

As you’re most likely aware, spidermites reveal their presence by leaving little white spots on the leaves. If you’re seeing this, ACT NOW, the earlier you start fighting back the infestation the better your chances are.

On our end when we noticed we had just gotten back from vacation so the infestation was already massive. 
The image below shows a couple leaves totally infested. The plant was over 4 feet tall, just imagine how many individuals were on there..

Every red dot… is an adult spidermite 

Our first strike – Black Soap & Neem oil Combo

Since we already had dealt with a thrips invasion during our previous grow (yeah, we’re not lucky), we already had black soap and neem oil around.
These 2 ingredients work just as well as on Spidermites as they do on thrips, on paper. As we cover in our guide on how to deal with spidermites, the importance here is coverage, coverage, coverage.


The step by step process

Our neem oil & Black soap mix ready we started spraying all the infested plants, making sure to cover as much the top of the leaves and their backside, where the mites lay all their eggs.

The spidermites strike back, viciously 

After applying the mix all over the plants, twice, leaving a couple day intervals we had to leave for a couple days again.
When we came back these suckers had come back too, and with a vengeance! Honestly I think there were thousands of them on just this one tomatoes plant.

click on the image to get the full view, and again every red dot is an adult spidermite…

At this point it started really impacting the development of the plant with some sections totally dying out (the ongoing drought didn’t help out).
The fruit bearing sections went from 12 flowers to 2/3 per ramification, new growth slowed crazily and older sections started dying out.

Clearly, these pest don’t hesitate to suck the live out their host, literally.

Nature does things well… Investing in Predators

The Neem oil and Black soap mix is effective against the adult mites but I’m not so sure about their eggs, and since they can lay up to 20 of them a day, the adults are really just the visible part of the iceberg.

That’s where investing in a predator is useful, in our case we’re talking about the Phytoseiulus Persimilis, which feeds exclusively on spidermites and their eggs ! 

Predators that eat spidermites and their eggs

The number of individuals you want to get will depend on the size of your infestation, on our end with 500 we clearly under did it since we had about 6 infested plants by the time they got here.

As we point our in-depth article on spidermites, linked above, applying a round of neem oil & black soap mix a day before introducing the predators. 
In doing so you will reduce the number of pests drastically, and then the predators will swoop in to finish the rest of the adults and eggs that are still around.

Not enough predators, the mites spread to the Cannabis plants

By now it’s been over 2 months since the first signs of the pest and they started infesting the flowering plant mid-way through the flowering phase.
The worst part, we were in the middle of the crowdfunding campaign with United4Earth so let’s just say that we weren’t the most attentive to our babies at that moment…
The mites had fully infested our Blue Kush by the time we even realized they were around.

First white marks appearing on cannabis leaves

As you can imagine, we were unhappy of this discovery, to say the least. Here we were, back preparing a mix and ordering some predators, again… 
Since we were in the flowering phase we just used the Neem oil the first time, as ingesting it can get you sick, so we didn’t want it all over the buds we were going to smoke.

A very weak harvest..

Every couple days we kept spraying the foliage, but there was so much damage done that we decided to go ahead and harvest, clean the room before placing the rooted clones into the flowering tent.

Critical + Apex bud freshly harvested and pruned

Blue Kush and Critical buds drying

2 plants drying – Super small harvest

Just as we saw with the tomatoes, since the plants were battling for survival, the amount of flowers produced was severely impacted. We haven’t weighed it out yet but i’m thinking it lost us at least 50% of the harvest..

Hopefully our in-depth clean of the grow room got rid of the last suckers, but just in case we still have that batch of predators that should be arriving soon. We will introduce them in the grow room regardless so that they can go hunt for eggs.
We don’t wand to get a surprise in a couple months when the ones laying around start hatching. 

That’s it for this one ! Hopefully this will be our last post regarding spidermites (and thrips)

We’ve decided to start posting an article every friday from now on, so until next week,
Be safe and grow easy!

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Big Buddha Cheese

Grow Report n°5 – Vegetation stage, ScrOG set up, Cuttings and more

In this grow report we’re going to cover the past month of the grow. From installing our scrog setup to making some cuttings, passing by pests, many teachings this round

The post Grow Report n°5 – Vegetation stage, ScrOG set up, Cuttings and more appeared first on Free the Tree.

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Heyheyy everyone, it’s been awhile since the last little grow report! 
We’ve been real busy improving the strain comparison tool available (check it out!) as well as the citizen lobbying tool that will be deployed on free-the-tree.org, so some exciting times ahead, but it leaves little time to write about our babies ^^

In this grow report we’re going to cover the past month of the grow. The little ones have grown nicely, we’ve got different levels of development as well as different strains, it’s going to be one interesting flowering period with all their different needs.

We’ve also still been dealing with these pests which has delayed us starting the flowering period. The hesitation comes from the fact that we’re mainly dealing with fungus gnats and these suckers attack the root system. Once we start flowering we want the plants to be in good condition so that they can focus on bud growth, not survival… sooo decisions decisions.. Anyway, here’s what were going to cover today

Table of Content – Grow Report n°5

 

Big Buddha Cheese clones rooting

Last grow report we told you a friend brought us some clones of one of our faaavorite strains Big Buddha Cheese 😀
We had had a mother of this strain for awhile but she didn’t survive last year’s crazy heat (RIP) and we were all out..

The little clones started rooting nicely, although we had a freaking stink bug-type insect lay eggs (ty to Bannana_bin for helping ID it). The larvae seems to have fed on the foliage of the cuttings, killing the weakest clones..
Luckily we noticed quickly and were able save one individual. As you can see in the pics below, the bugs larvae is chillin (and feeding) on the leaf, leaving black scaring behind.

Stink bug adult on cuttings

Beetle type pest on BBC clone

larvae feeding on leaf

Pest larvae feeding on leaf

Rooting clone being transplanted into soil

BBC survivor planted into soil

That said, she’s now fighting the fungus gnat larvaes and pupas… If/when she survives all this, we will have one stroooong mother plant!

SexBud going through the vegetation stage

Now this little SexBud, by Female Seeds is growing real nicely although our humidity levels aren’t optimal at aaaall 🙂
We had just germinated her when we wrote the last grow report and look at her now. We haven’t given her any nutrients so far, although we’re going to start adding some NP in the next feed to prepare her for the stretch

Cotyledon freshly deployed, seed shells still visible

SexBud cotyledons freshly deployed

First stage leaves fully grown

Second stage of leaves grown and third coming in

Second stage leaves grown, third level coming in

SexBud just before being topped

Sexbud freshly topped and growing multiple auxiliary branches

Auxiliary branches growing in

We topped her before writing this piece and are still hesitating on on scrogging her or going for the same LST training as the laughing buddha (see below).
Until we decide we’re going to let her grow a little and then place her in the special little spot we got for her in the flowering tent. Just before the stretch we’ll decide if we place her on the smaller screen or not.
Can’t wait to see go through the cycles of the flowering period!

Fungus gnats persiste and signs of other pests

Once introducing the nematodes into the tent everything started getting much better, we really though we had jumped through this hoop..
Turns out, we had forgotten a pot in the room and a little female laid some eggs in there. We were gone for 10 days, when we got back found a couple individuals within the grow room soo… here we go again..

We also had the pleasure to discover a blackflie and spidermite nest within our outdoor “garden”… hopefully we will be able to manage them well enough out there, avoiding any indoor issue

Cannabis plants attacked by fungus gnats

Sticky traps deployed to catch adult fungus gnats

2 adult spidermites and eggs under leaf

2 spider mites (and a couple eggs) under strawberry leaf

lemon grass with thousands of blackflies feeding on it

Hundreds of blackflies feeding on lemongrass

Making some Laughing Buddha and Blue Thai cuttings

For these 2 strains we popped our only seeds and wanted to keep the strain around just in case so we decided to go ahead and clone them hehe

2 out of the 4 cuttings ready to start rooting

2 of the 4 cuttings made

4 cuttings in rooting container ready to start rooting

4 cuttings in air-proof container

clones started rooting

about 10 days later – 1 visible rooted plant, 3 pending (but still alive!)

At the time we’re writing the article one of the laughing buddha cuttings has grown a nice, strong, tap root. We’re about to set it into soil to let it grow. 
The 3 other cuttings are looking ok, we’re going to leave them a couple more days in the container to make sure they’ve rooted nicely before planting them in soil

Laughing Buddha – About to start the flowering stage

Last grow report we had just topped this little one in order to prepare her for a scrog. As you can see below, the had grown nicely since. We defoliated her a couple times in order to keep these 4 main auxiliary branches.

Since the blue thai is about ready to flower, and we have successfully cloned her we’re going to flower her like this, can’t wait to see the first pistils starting to appear 🙂

Freshly topped laughing buddha, first auxiliary branches growing in

Freshly topped, first auxiliary branches growing in

auxiliary branches tied down to give more light

4 branches growing in 

4 main branches in a diamond formation

4 auxiliary branches grown in, flowing time approaching

Blue Thaï ScrOG setup

Sooooo, if you’ve followed some of our previous grows, you know we’re pretty big fans of scrogging. 
The thing is, with the back to back pest issues we’ve been having for the past year it’s becoming problematic not to be able to take out the plants for inspection during the whole flowering period.

In order to get the best of both worlds we decided to make some individual scrog screens for 2 of our plants. We’re definitely loosing a bit of room, but we figured it’s not a real problem, it’ll allow each plant to have a little room to breath.

Installing the wiring within the frame

Frame of the net and first wires in

screens ready to have cannabis plants installed

2 scrog nets ready to use

Blue Thai freshly installed on the screen

If you want to check out how we made the scrog net we documented each step over here, total cost ~5 bucks 🙂
With the screen ready we started weaving the blue thai. Once she’s covered about 60% of the screen we will change the photo-period so start the flowering stage hehe

Transplanting 3 little ones

On this 4/20 this little ones were ready to be transplanted 🙂 The laughing buddha and critical + will be flowered pretty soon. Since we just topped the sexbud we’re going to leave her a bit longer in the vegetation tent.
Once her auxiliary branches have grown a bit more we’ll place her into the flowering tent so that she can stretch and start growing some nice buds hehe

laughing buddha, critical+ and sexbud chillin in the sun

Freshly topped, first auxiliary branches growing in

transplanting laughing buddha into fabric pot

4 branches growing in 

4 auxiliary branches grown in, flowing time approaching

Alright folks that all for this one! Hope you enjoyed it, I know we love sharing the growth of our babies as well as what we’re learning along the way 🙂 
Remember, if you want to share your experiences, knowledge, or anything, you’re more than welcome to! Just contact us through the form or via instagram

Until next time,
be safe and grow easy

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Ongoing culture

Grow Report n°4 – New Strain, Natural Predators and Vegetative growth

Much has happened since the last grow report, from dealing with our fungus gnat infestation to germinating a new little strain, we had a lot of fun

The post Grow Report n°4 – New Strain, Natural Predators and Vegetative growth appeared first on Free the Tree.

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Hey there and welcome (back) !
Much has happened since the last grow report, from dealing with our fungus gnat infestation to germinating a new little strain, we had a lot of fun 🙂 Let’s get right into it

Grow Report n°4 – Table of Content

Nematodes vs Fungus Gnats – Get eeeem!

This week we finally got the Nematodes, these little worms are a natural predator for Fungus Gnats eggs and larvae, perfect to go hunt and kill these suckers and protect our babies root system 🙂 

We’ll do a full article on fungus gnats shortly, but basically the nematodes enter the larvae or eggs and develop in there, feeding on the insides of the fungus gnat.
Within a couple days, the effected larvae is dead hehe.

On top of that, nematodes keep the soil healthy, eating through the soil and adding nutrients to it, so it’s also a long term investment.

Nematodes in soil (jammin’ to the black eyed peas)

Phytoseiulus Persimilis protecting our plants

If you’ve followed our previous grows, you’re aware that we’ve had some intense battles against spidermites and thrips. 
We’re sure that there’s eggs left, just waiting for the right weather to hatch and start back up this infestation (yeah these suckers can hibernate for months).

With that in mind, we decided to go ahead and get some phytoseiulus persimilis in order to introduce them to near our vulnerable plants. 
Hopefully, this year will be one without spidermites!

Phytoseiulus persimilis on strawberry leaf

Phytoseiulus persimilis hunting Spidermite – Credit to Kopper Biological Systems

Sex Bud Germinating

Sooooo exited about this, here’s our first full sativa, the SexBud by Female Seeds. Her parents are the C99 and White Grapefruit, giving a fast flowering sativa (8/9 weeks), with a stimulating, creative and energetic social high. Can’t waiiiiit to see her grow.

Sexbud seed germinated in paper tower

Seed germinating in paper towel

Germinated seed going into soil

Germinated seed going into the soil

She germinated within 24 hours, although we left her in the paper towel a big longer in order to let the tap root grow a bit. 
As we speak the cotyledons have opened up and the first fan leaves are starting to show hehe

Topping the Laughing Buddha

This baby has been growing so nicely, originally we were scared she would get top heavy, but nope, she grew a nice stem and is now growing faast!

Although we’re not sure that we’re going to scrog this round wedecided to top this baby in order to get multiple Apex’s. From there we will make a cutting off one of them for a mother plant, than get this beauty to flower 🙂

Plant before cutting off the Apex

Laughing Buddha before being topped

Apex freshly cut off

Blue Thai showing problems

For the past week the blue thai is showing issues. We though it was linked to the fast that she was still in a small pot, but the leaves are still turning yellow..
We’re hesitating on a nutrient or light burn situation.. To be safe, we flushed the soil and lifted a bit the light.. hopefully the situation will improve

Leaves turning yellow, showing signs of deficiency

Leaves starting to turn yellow

Plant losing fan leaves due to deficiency

Issue is spreading

Curing the Blue Kush

Sooo we didn’t share this grow on here (too busy on the citizen lobbying tool crowdfunding at that time), but we just couldn’t resist sharing this little beauty

blue kush fully purple, close to harvest

Blue Kush – Ending her flowering stage

Flowers in a container in order to cure it

Dried flowers curing it a container

Little seed within one of a blush kush flower

She gave a seeeeeeed!

We harvest her couple weeks ago, she’s now curing and soon ready to be smoke hehehe 🙂
Honestly we didn’t even weigh the final yield, as a g*d d**n spidermite attack impacted strongly her development around the middle of the flowering stage… 

That said, isn’t she beautiful? 

Alright folk that’s it for this one! Until next week,
Be safe and grow easy!

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Ongoing culture

Grow Report n°3 – Stunned growth, transplantation & space cookies

This week was pretty chill, out little laughing buddha is coming along nicely, the Blue Thai is almost ready to get some cuttings done and we make a niiiiice space cake 🙂

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Hey there and welcome (back)!
This week was pretty chill, out little laughing buddha is coming along nicely, the Blue Thai is almost ready to get some cuttings done and we make a niiiiice space cake 🙂 
Apart from these d**n fungus gnats, really can’t complain! Let’s get into is 

Grow report 3 – Table of content

Laughing Buddha – Vegetative growth & Transplantation

Vegetative growth

This week our little sprout spread her leaves fully! Our fear of her getting top-heavy didn’t come true, we even set the fan pointing at her for awhile to test her and she stood strong 🙂 

laughing buddha with 2 stages of leaves

Little one at the beginning of the week

plant well developed with 3rd stage of leaves coming in

Couple days later, fans leaves well developed

laughing buddha starting to lean

3rd stage growing well – plant starting to lean

First deficiency signs

As you may have noticed in the previous pictures, during the week the little laughing Buddha started showing signs of a deficiency on her first fan leaves.

Pretty sure this is due to the fact that she needs to be transplanted more than a actual nutrient deficiency, sooo let the transplant begin! 🙂 

First fan leaves showing deficiency

Transplanting to a 2L fabric pot

As you may be aware, the root mass of a plant is general twice as big as it’s visible foliage.
With that in mind, the pot she’s in is now too small and since it’s made of plastic the roots are most likely spiraling around.

As we started saying above, her first deficiencies are most likely related to this more than any nutrient needing to be added into the soil, although we will start adding some nutrients soon.

Laughing buddha ready to be transplanted

root ball while transplanting

Roots circling in the soil (not good)

Plant transplanted in fabric pot

Roots circling in the soil (not good)

We decided to place her into a 2L fabric pot, which will allow the roots to prune themselves, and set her into our main tent, will a 400W LED light system.
The idea is to have her grow quickly, make a couple cuttings and then get her to flower. One of those will be used as a mother, the others will join their clone in the flowering tent 🙂 

Fighting off Fungus Gnats

As we pointed out in last weeks grow report we had treated the soil of each pot with a hydrogen peroxyde mix in order to kill all the larvae, the mix being ineffective against the eggs..
Apparently, there were a lot eggs.. as you can see on the image on the right hand side (click to enhance) within a couple days the sticky traps were filled with young fungus gnats.

We’re waiting for a package with some nematodes, gnats natural predators, in order to get fully ride of these sucker..

Hundreds of young gnats on sticky trap

Transferring plants to the big tent

Once we transplanted the laughing Buddha we decided to get the 3 main plants into our bigger room, where the light is much stronger. 
Our plan is to get them growing, make couple cuttings, then get to flowering.

With the cuttings we’ll keep one of each to make a  mother and the other will meet their sibling in the flowering tents as soon as they’re ready 🙂

Plants set under the 400W lamp

3 plants installed in main grow tent

Space Cookies

If you were with us last week, you’ve followed that we had made some cannabutter; now it’s time to take off. 
We used Flo’s famous chocolate cake recipe (;p). Butter wise, to be fully honest, we have noooooo idea of how potent it is, so we’ll find out.
Here’s the ingredients and so pictures to end this post in a tasty manner 

Space cookie ingredients (2 cakes made)

  • 480g of cannabutter
  • 400 of dark chocolate (the cooking kind!)
  • 8 eggs
  • Sugar

And that looks liiiiike :

480g of cannabutter

480g Cannabutter

cannabutter and chocolate heating up

Chocolate and Cannabutter heating up

2 space cakes out of the oven

Space Cake out of the oven (wish you could smell em)

Alright got some cake to go eat hehehe 
Until next week,
be safe and grow easy 😉

EDIT: that butter was pretty potent, got way too high

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