Visiting your Outdoor Marijuana – Essential Visits
You may hope to minimize site visits to your plants if you are growing them in the wild and trying to keep your site secret. Or you may check them every day if they are in a container on your patio or in your backyard garden.
Even if your plants are out in the woods, there are some times you simply must visit them to make sure they stay healthy and produce lots of heavy buds.
Essential Site Visits:
During Weeks 1-2: Watering
Whether you planted you seeds directly outdoors, or transplanted seedlings you started at home, the first week you need to make sure these delicate babies stay moist. Seeds need moisture to germinate, so keep the area lightly watered. If you overwater you can drown them.
Transplants also require extra water in the first couple of weeks. Being moved shocks plants, which can cause them to stop growing and die. You need to keep ample water around their roots to support them as they thicken and spread to provide your plant with a strong base of support to grow from.
3 Weeks: Weeding
Once your seedlings reach 3 weeks outdoors they will be more stable and developing strong roots systems. At this point they are susceptible to being overrun by surrounding weeds, as they are still very small plants.
Even if your seedlings are in a home garden bed, weeds can threaten your young plants. Don’t get overzealous about weeding. Your goal is to clear a circular area about 3 feet in diameter around each plant.
One perk of growing cannabis in containers is that you don’t need to weed!
4-6 Weeks: Early Sexing/Removal of Male Plants
At this age your plants will start to form pre-flowers. From the shape of these you can distinguish males from females. This is the earliest opportunity to remove male plants if you want to produce marijuana without seeds.
For a full description of sexing marijuana based on pre-flowers, check out our Marijuana Sexing page.
6 Weeks: Weeding
Repeat the process of clearing a 3 foot circle around each plant.
9 Weeks: Weeding
This should be the last time you have to weed your plants. After this they should be strong enough to claim their own space and crowd out weeds.
From 6 Weeks through Vegging: Training
Any time after your seedlings are well established and before flowering begins, you can train your plants. Techniques like topping, fimming,Low Stress Training (LST), Super Cropping, and Monster Croppingcan all increase the yield of your harvest.
Take a look at our Training Techniques Guide for more details.
When there is 12 hours of darkness each night: Sexing and Removal of Male Plants
Marijuana will begin to flower when it gets 12 hours of darkness or more each night. When this occurs varies based on location. The further north you are the later in the summer it will be.
When your plants first start to flower you should check them all and remove any remaining males to avoid seed production. One male plant can easily pollinate a field of females.
If you are not sure when flowering will start, you should check your plants every week as the days begin to shorten.
The last 4-6 weeks of flowering: Provide Support
Marijuana is a bushy plant that can form huge buds. Caging and trellising can help prevent stems from breaking, especially during the end of flowering.
This is perhaps the most fun part of growing marijuana- harvesting, curing and finally smoking your weed. If you are growing a new strain or are growing outdoors for the first time, you will have to begin checking your plants 1-2 times a week towards the end of flowering so that you harvest at just the right time.
Check the information available about the strain you are growing to get a rough idea of when flowering should be finished. You are looking for the trichomes to begin turning a milky color and then amber or brown.
For a full guide on knowing when and how to harvest and cure your marijuana, read our Harvesting page.
Every time you check on your plants, look them over for signs of damage from pests and mold. Look at our Pests and Diseases Guide for complete information on identifying and dealing with diseased plants.
Other Site Visits
Depending on the strain you are growing, the unique conditions of your climate and soil and the weather of that particular year, you may have to make additional site visits.
Keep in mind that cannabis is a hardy plant that evolved outdoors and can withstand a lot of adverse weather conditions.
However you should still check your plants when there are:
Stormy Weather (Rough winds, heavy rains)
While your plants are sturdy, too much nasty weather can cause damage. After a particularly wild storm you should check your plants. You may need to replace a little topsoil around your plants after flooding rains, dig drainage ditches to carry sitting water away from your plants, or take advantage of broken branches to do some training. You may not be able to do much if more extreme damage occurs.
Marijuana is a thirsty plant. She grows faster when she gets lots of water. However, she doesn’t like her roots to sit in water, so make sure the soil drains well.
It is alright if the plant dries out between waterings. Unlike tomatoes which crack with inconsistent watering, cannabis suffers no ill effects. But if there is a dry spell that lasts over a week, you need to check your plants and be prepared to bring water to them.
It is important to care for your plants, even if they are growing “wild”. A little extra water, a few clips of the scissors and a brief sexing visit can make the difference between a small harvest and a huge one.
If you need to be extra stealthy and want to avoid as many site visits as possible, consider using feminized seeds or growing a strain bred to be hardy in your climate. Our favorite feminized seeds are listed here, and some climate-specific strains are suggested in this guide.