Griffin’s COVID-19 Response

CEA Greenhouse Tips

Lambert and Media Qualities


 Choosing which potting mix to use can be a complicated task. With so many companies and mixes available on the market, how do you make a decision? Start your search with Lambert Peat Moss. Lambert combines different components, including EcoPeat wood fiber, into application-specific blends to eliminate guess work.

Components

Potting mixes come as a blend of several different components. Making up the majority of mixes are often sphagnum peat moss, wood fiber, coconut coir, vermiculite, and perlite, providing structure and physical bulk. Lambert’s peat-based mixes add two different forms of limestone to counteract the acidity of the base media. Starter charges of fertilizer are included and may be either conventional or organic. Finally, all potting mixes include a wetting agent to ensure uniform moisture distribution with irrigation. Different balances of these components will make a critical different in application. For example, LM-1 and LM-2 are two germination mixes from Lambert. However, LM-1 contains perlite while LM-2 does not, leading to different water retention and drainage.

Particle Size

Every potting mix should provide information on particle sizes. Potting mix producers such as Lambert provide detailed explanations of each class of particle size in terms of millimeters and best applications. Seeing words such as “super fine” and “fine” often indicate a germination mix or young plant mix, like you would see in Lambert’s LM-19. “Coarse” blends are often meant for larger pots or general-purpose production, such as Lambert’s LM-111.

Drainage and Water Retention

The differences between water retention and drainage are subtle but important. Mixes with smaller particle sizes or heavier on coco coir have better water retention, which refers to individual particle’s ability to hold on to water. Mixes with coarse particle sizes will have better drainage, which describes the ability of water to pass through the media. Lambert’s germination mixes, such as LM-18, would have very high water retention with low drainage, while a high porosity mix such as EPM-50 would have high drainage and low water retention.

Putting all this information together, each Lambert mix offers a summary of media qualities, components, and target crops. Reach out to your Griffin rep or GGSPro today to find out more!

Item Number

Product name

Size

149-006

LM-1

3.0 cf loose

149-008

LM-1

3.8 cf bale

149-0016

LM-18

3.0 cf loose

149-0018

LM-18

3.8 cf bale

149-0021

LM-19

3.0 cf loose

149-0023

LM-19

3.8 cf bale

149-0036

LM-111

3.0 cf loose

149-0038

LM-111

3.8 cf bale

149-0056

LM-6

3.0 cf loose

149-0058

LM-6

3.8 cf bale

149-0011

LM-2

3.0 cf loose

149-0013

LM-2

3.8 cf bale

149-0046

EPM-20

3.0 cf loose

149-0048

EPM-20

3.8 cf bale

149-0064

EPM-40

3.0 cf loose

149-0066

EPM-40

3.8 cf bale

149-0069

EPM-50

3.0 cf loose

149-0071

EPM-50

3.8 cf bale


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Bioline Aphid Control

 Beneficial insects, also called biological control agents, are available to control a wide range of common greenhouse pests; aphids are one such menace. The predatory insects available to control aphids are voracious and highly mobile; specific strategies can even be used with these predators to help identify which types of aphids are present.


Predatory wasps are a group of related wasp species that prey on aphids. They are parasitoids, meaning the adult wasps are not feeding on the aphids. Instead, the wasps lay their eggs inside of live aphids. When the egg hatches, the larva lives and grows as an aphid parasite until it is ready to emerge as an adult wasp and seek out new prey. As the larva grows, it consumes the aphid from the inside out, leaving a hollowed-out shell called a “mummy”.




Bioline Agrosciences offers several parasitic wasp species to growers dealing with aphids. Aphiline, A. colemani, target small species, while Erviline, A. ervi, and Apheline, Aphelinus abdominalis, target larger species. When aphid species are able to be identified, growers should choose the appropriate species of predator. Unfortunately, identification is often difficult. In these cases, aphid predators can be purchased and released in mixes that can help both with covering a larger range of aphid species as well as identifying the general type of aphid.

When using predator mixes to combat unknown aphids, efficacy assessment relies on mummy scouting. Each of the aphid predators mentioned produces a mummy with slightly different appearances. A. colemani produce golden-brown mummies; A. ervi produce more golden-yellow-green mummies; finally, Aphelinus abdominalis produce totally black mummies. Aphid mummies can be found anywhere aphids are typically found – undersides of leaves and on stems is typical.

Once a grower identifies which aphid predator is having the most success through observing mummy appearance, single-species products can be selected if desired, and applications can continue until control is achieved. Growers should look for evidence that 75-80% of observable aphids have been parasitized to consider their outbreaks controlled. Future outbreaks can be prevented by continuing low-level, consistent releases. For information on application rates, release protocols, and product availability, contact your Griffin rep today!







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Terpenes and The Hemp Mine

 


As the hemp and cannabis market has expanded and matured, more growers and consumers are broadening their knowledge of and interest in specialty terpenes. But what are terpenes? Are they the same as terpenoids? How can growers influence terpene production? GGSPro and The Hemp Mine have the answers to these questions.


Terpenes and terpenoids are secondary metabolites produced by many plants, not just hemp and cannabis. Terpenes are compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon chains, while terpenoids contain oxygen molecules or other functional groups. Both of these types of compounds are highly aromatic and are responsible for many distinctive botanical smells. For example, limonene, a terpene found in citrus rinds, puts off a bright, citrussy scent upon cutting into a lemon. Linalool, a terpenoid, produces the distinctive scent of lavender and some mints. Finally, myrcene is one of the most common terpenes and has an earthy, clove-like scent often found in hops or mangos.

 
With growing interest in terpene profiles and production, many growers wonder how they can boost terpene production. A number of products on the market claim to enhance terpene profile simply through foliar applications or drenches. However, research into terpene boosting products is, at this time, inconclusive. The strongest, most consistent factor influencing terpene profile is genetics. Every strain appears to have a consistent set of terpenes and terpenoids that it is able to produce. Through careful breeding and testing, new strains with refined terpene profiles and content are being developed.


The Hemp Mine’s focus on genetics has brought several terpene-rich strains to the market. THM’s Jack, FunDip, and Belle offer variety of terpene profiles. FunDip’s high diversity and overall terpene content makes it a great choice for high yields, while Jack has greater diversity in terpenes. Belle sits in the middle between higher yields and good diversity. Growers interested in these varieties and learning more about terpenes can purchase seeds and clones for this year’s growing season. Between the Hemp Mine’s excellent reference materials and GGSPro’s horticultural experience, the Griffin team has your questions covered. Reach out to your Griffin rep for more info!






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Light Deprivation Systems

 


Horticultural light deprivation is the practice of physically excluding light from reaching a crop in production. Inside of grow rooms in warehouses, this practice is as simple as turning off the lights. Bringing this practice to the greenhouse environment, however, requires some additional equipment. Black cloth, blackout cloth, or light deprivation systems can be deployed to a single bench or across an entire greenhouse.

When should light deprivation systems be used?

Use of a light deprivation system, aka blackout or black cloth, allows for a crop to be produced under short-day conditions year-round, regardless of ambient conditions. Effective light deprivation results in completeblackout under curtains, as even as little as 10 µmol of light can be enough to trigger photoperiodic responses in some crop species. Black out systems are necessary for year-round greenhouse production of crops that require a short-day period in their production cycle. Even if the natural daylength is shorter than the critical photoperiod for a crop, blackout systems provide an extra layer of protection from light pollution due to parking lots and streetlights. For urban and suburban locations, it’s good insurance.

Light deprivation systems can also make you a good neighbor if you are lighting your production space into the night at any time of the year. Some municipalities are instituting rules around light pollution, making black out systems an important part of your business plan.

What crops benefit from light deprivation systems?

Cannabis and Hemp – Cannabis and hemp require a critical photoperiod of less than 13 hours to initiate and continue flowering. Cannabis growers produce vegetative plants and maintain mother/stock plants under long photoperiods and “flip” to short photoperiods when ready to flower. For year-round cultivation, light deprivation systems are critical in the greenhouse environment during the summer. One consideration for summer production is climate control under the black cloth. Remember that fans will still need to run, so be sure to install a light deprivation system on your exhaust fans, too. By managing the climate and the photoperiod, growers can produce high-quality short-day crops in summer.

Ornamental flowers – Some ornamental flowers require short photoperiods for flower, while others require long photoperiods. Poinsettias, mum, petunias, and tuberous begonias are just a few of the crops with special lighting requirements under normal production cycles.  Black out cloth can serve to either suppress or initiate flower, depending on variety chosen.

Are you looking to retrofit your greenhouse space with a light deprivation system? Are you are planning a new structure and want to include a black out system? Either way, ask your Griffin sales rep about light dep systems from Advancing Alternatives. These systems can be installed externally or internally on freestanding greenhouses to keep light out or keep light in. Robust and automated, a system from Advancing Alternatives will provide trouble free service for many years. Click here to request a quote. 



Photoperiodism and nighttime interruption in CEA crops

 


Photoperiodism refers to the sensitivity of a crop to the length of lighting cycles during production. Specifically, the length of the dark cycle, “nighttime”, heavily influences flowering behavior in a number of crops. The distinction between light and dark cycles is an important one: growers developed “nighttime interruption” strategies to take advantage of this sensitivity. Growers employ nighttime interruptions during short-day conditions, like those found during winter. The day period is left along, but the night period is broken up into two shorter periods separated by a very low intensity light period. These periods can last two to four hours. Plants “see” short nights, resulting in a long-day response. For some crops, flowering is initiated; for others, flowering is suppressed.

Special photoperiodic lighting fixtures are designed to deliver low light levels of red and far right light, which have been shown to be most efficient for this type of lighting. In the past, incandescent bulbs were used, though the use of LEDs ensures that electrical consumption remains low, maintaining a low cost of use. TotalGrow’s Pure Flowering 200 Lamp accomplishes this lighting and energy-use goal beautifully. A single fixture can cover about 200 square feet with the low light required. Growers need significantly fewer photoperiodic fixtures than supplemental or sole source lighting would require.

Several economically important CEA crops grown in greenhouses and other controlled environments display photoperiodic responses.

Strawberries – Certain strawberry varieties have strong photoperiodic responses. June-bearing strawberries produce runners during long-day, short-night conditions, while flowers and fruits are produced during short-day conditions. Photoperiodic lighting can be used for runner production in these varieties.

Cannabis – Cannabis is a short-day flowering crop, with production emphasis on the flowering stage as the end product. Photoperiodic lighting would be used to keep plants in a vegetative stage, suppressing flower formation. Maintaining a vegetative state is important for mother plant production, but high light levels may not be required. Growers may also find that extending the vegetative stage in production plants results in larger plants at the end of the flowering stage.

Edible Pansies – Pansies are gaining popularity as edible garnishes for many specialty dishes. Pansies flower under long-day conditions, in contrast to cannabis. Using photoperiodic lighting through winter months in the greenhouse can produce long-day conditions for year-round flower production.

If you’re wondering where to start in developing a lighting plan and choosing the right fixtures, reach out to your Griffin sales rep or GGSPro! We can help you get started down the right path.

From Oregon State University: Figure 26. Periodicity of plants. Short-day (long-night) plants require a long period of uninterrupted darkness to flower. Long-day (short-night) plants require a short period of uninterrupted darkness to flower.







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IPM Month

 

What is IPM Month?
The Department of Pesticide Regulation is working with partners across the state of California to accelerate a transition to safer, more sustainable pest management. DPR is kick starting IPM Month this year to foster greater awareness and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tools for sustainable pest management in agricultural and urban settings. IPM is any approach that uses the least toxic, effective method to solve pest problems, including using natural predators to manage pests, hand-pulling weeds, and using traps or baits to address pest issues.

DPR will share content on social media every day through the month of February to answer the question #WhatIsIPM and provide information about how people can practice IPM every day. Below are tools to help amplify and engage in this conversation. We look forward to continuing the conversation on social media this month!


How to Participate during IPM Month?

  • Tag @CAPesticides on Twitter or Facebook
  • Include #WhatisIPM hashtag so that we can start conversations and amplify posts across social media accounts
  • Share graphics DPR developed for download – created just for our partners
  • Additional materials such as videos on IPM can be found on DPR’s YouTube account and fact sheets on IPM at schools and childcare centers can be found on DPR’s website

Share Content and Engage with Your Followers
Ideas for sharing content during IPM Month:
  • Use the content DPR created for you, include the #WhatisIPM hashtag and post!
  • Retweet or reshare the content DPR is posting on Twitter or Facebook
  • Share your own content with the #WhatisIPM hashtag to tell stories, post photos or talk about best practices for using IPM in urban settings, inside your home, landscaping projects, or in agricultural fields. DPR will retweet and share content you send out!

Questions?
Contact DPR’s Assistant Director of Communications and Outreach Leia Bailey with questions. Thanks for being a part of IPM Month!

California Department of Pesticide Regulation | What is IPM

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Vermiculite Alert

 


Times are tough for the media and soil industries. As with many products, international shipping issues are causing problems obtaining many media components; vermiculite is no different. Though the US does have some domestic vermiculite mines, many products are imported. The horticulture industry must rely more heavily on domestic sources, which can only ramp up production so much. This article will discuss what vermiculite is, what it does, and how growers may be able to meet those purposes with product substitutions and protocol changes.

Vermiculite is a mined product, gathered from special mines across the globe. In its raw form, vermiculite flakes look similar to bits of mica – they are thin, shiny, and lightweight. Once collected, vermiculite flakes are then graded by size and exposed to high heat inside of special furnaces. The flakes rapidly expand as trapped water vaporizes, resulting in the fluffy, flakey product incorporated into many potting soils and gardening products.


Once incorporated into media, vermiculite helps accomplish several goals:

1)      helps maintain soil aeration and prevent compaction.

2)      holds onto nutrients.

3)      helps to control moisture and prevent dry backs.


With these qualities, we find that vermiculite usage is most popular at the seedling and germination stage, helping to provide well aerated, moist environments with readily available nutrients. Many growers make blends of peat and vermiculite for a wet but aerated germination media, use a healthy layer on top of germination media to cover seeds, or direct seed into vermiculite. Without vermiculite, growers can still achieve these conditions with some careful planning.

Irrigation scheduling: Consider changing your watering frequency when moving away from vermiculite. Soils may dry down faster without this component; shorter irrigation intervals can help mitigate this issue.

Environmental Controls: Monitor your air temperature, air movement, and humidity conditions in your production space. These factors greatly impact how quickly media dry out.

Explore other medias: Be flexible with your production process as supply chain issues come and go.

Perlite is good for aeration but not for moisture retention. Perlite can be used for all size plants and pots and comes in a variety of grades (sizes).

Wetting agents, such as AquaGro 2000G or AgAide, added to irrigation water or media will help to maintain uniformity of wetness and help growers get the most out of each irrigation.

Peat-based medias are great choices for thirsty plants. This base has good general water retention but needs some help with aeration. Combining peat moss and perlite can achieve many of the same goals as vermiculite. Peat mixes with finer particle sizes are great for germination mixes, while coarse particles are better for larger plants.

Coir-based medias are increasingly popular and promote faster drainage. Mixes of peat, coir, and perlite provide a good range of drainage, moisture retention, and aeration conditions for growers to choose from.

Inert and stabilized medias like Grodan rockwool, Oasis foam, and Jiffy Preforma are great choices for growers starting from cuttings rather than seeds and provide optimal water holding and aeration conditions while providing structure for unrooted cuttings.

Lastly, changes in production protocols can lead to unexpected changes in disease pressure. Changes in media and environment often lead to changes in humidity and moisture content, which can lead to fungal or bacterial problems. Be ready to deal with these preventatively by incorporating or applying preventative treatments such as biofungicides and brushing up on your general sanitation protocols. 

 

Wetting Agents

74-1249 120lb AquaGro 2000g

74-1379 1 Gal Brandt Ag Aide

Soft Chemistry

71-13301 1 Gal BioWorks Cease

71-3040 1 Gal OHP Triathlon BA

71-1372 5 Lb Growth Prod Companion

Media

Media selection will be influenced by availability – contact your Griffin rep for more info!



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DOSATRON INJECTORS

 


Automation of nutrient and acid delivery is a big attraction in injector use. Users make up a single batch of concentrated fertilizer or pH adjuster, and injectors automatically dose irrigation water until stock has been depleted. Use of a stock solution is often a big space saver, as it can replace the need for large bulk tanks. For example, a 1:100 ratio injector treats 2000 gallons of irrigation water from the water supply using a 20-gallon stock tank rather than housing a 2000-gallon bulk tank on site. Use of injectors also simplifies solution prep, minimizing worker errors. Some products are suitable for direct-injection: the injector intake tube drops right into the product container. Sanitizers and some pesticides can also be applied through injectors, bringing great efficiencies to your operation. .

Ratio

Percentage

mL/L

mL/Gal

Oz/Gal

1:50

2%

20

76

2.56

1:100

1%

10

38

1.28

1:200

0.5%

5

19

0.64

1:500

0.2%

2

7.6

0.26

1:1000

0.1%

1

3.8

0.13

Different types of injectors present their injection capabilities using many different units; it is useful to be able to see how these unit compare to each other. Whether injecting based off of a ratio, a percentage, or a volume per volume, injectors can be relied upon to consistently deliver a predictable volume of product. The above table lists some common units and equivalencies.

Injector capabilities range from large to incredibly small injection amounts. Dosatron injectors typically have adjustable injection ratios, with common options being 1:50 to 1:500, and 1:333-1:3000.  Higher injection amounts are used for things like fertilizer or nematodes, normally applied at a 1:50 down to 1:200 ratio.  Very small injection amounts are often used for acids, bases, and sanitizers utilizing injector ratios down to 1:3000 ratio.

Different injectors and dosers work in different ways. Dosatron injectors are simple workhorses, requiring no electricity, making them a great choice for many applications, including field, portable, and in-zone use for CEA growers. Dosatron injectors rely on “positive displacement”, meaning injections ratios are consistent within acceptable flow rates and water pressure; the injection action is powered by the flow of water through the injector. Dosatron injectors are available in low flow rate and high flow rate models – growers should be aware of the gallons per minute (gpm) provided by their water pumps and the downstream need. From there, the equipment specialists at Griffin can help with specification.

This relatively simple equipment is a great base for a consistent nutrient delivery. . Depending on the plumbing strategy, these injectors can be “always on” when connected to flowing water. One pro tip we like to share is to plumb a bypass loop with a manual valve into the system ahead of the injector.  This will provide the ability to “turn off” an injector unit. Contact your Griffin rep for more info!

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CONNECT From Premier Pro-mix

 Growers are always seeking ways to help get the most out of their irrigation and nutrition plans. Many cannabis growers have turned to mycorrhizal fungi to really dial in their rootzones. This tech tip will introduce these special organisms in detail.


Mycorrhizae are soil-based plant-beneficial fungi. Mycorrhizal spores germinate and grow in the rhizosphere. The spore sends out hyphae, the fungal equivalent of roots, which seek out nearby plant roots. Through these associations, mycorrhizae deliver additional water and nutrients to plant roots, while receiving root exudates in return. Mycorrhizae gather these resources through the fine webbing of hyphae, spreading through surrounding soil. This relationship vastly expands the surface area available to plant roots for resource gathering, and aids in drought resistance and nutrient utilization.

There are two commonly utilized types of mycorrhizal fungi: endomycorrhizae and ectomycorrhizae. Ectomycorrhizae typically colonize the roots of trees and woody shrubs. Endomycorrhizae colonize the roots of most herbaceous greenhouse, food, and ornamental crops, including cannabis. Endomycorrhizae develop close associations with the roots of many plants extending the hyphae into the interior root cells. Full colonization occurs over a period of approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Short term crops such as microgreens and baby greens do not benefit as much as longer term crops such as tomatoes, cannabis, and strawberries.

Mycorrhizal products use slightly different jargon than other types of fertilizer or soil additives. Active ingredients are measured in propagules per gram or viable spores per gram. Propagules are chopped up root or hyphal fragments; products using propagules establish faster but have a dramatically shorter shelf life. Spores are survival structures produced by the fungi, take a bit longer to establish in crops, but remain viable and stable for a much longer period of time. Either type of material will result in colonized rootzones, but spore-based products offer greater protection from variations in shipping or storage environmental conditions.

CONNECT from Premier Pro-Mix contains 6000 viable spores per gram of material. Treatment with CONNECT at seeding or transplant inundates the root zone with viable spores, ensuring mycorrhizae grow into plant roots as quickly as possible. CONNECT is best applied as a 1:1 slurry of water and wettable powder at seed or transplant. As seedlings and transplants grow through the slurry of mycorrhizal product, spores germinate and grow into and with the roots. Transplants are protected from severe transplant shock, plants are better able to withstand nutrient and water stress, and overall growth is accelerated with greater access to water and nutrients. Contact your Griffin sales rep for information on availability and technical specs.




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AgSil 16H: A Source Of Silica For Both Foliage And Roots

 Silica-containing fertilizers aid in mitigating drought stress, resistance to mineral stress, and improve overall plant strength and growth. Cannabis growers can utilize silica fertilizers from day one of production to strengthen plants from beginning to end. This tech tip will explore some best practices for how to apply one such product, AgSil 16H.


AgSil 16H from Certis and other silica products require some special consideration to achieve the best application. Silica and silicate products need to be solo-injected from designated stock tanks and never tank mixed with other nutrients. Mixing highly concentrated silica products with nitrates and sulfates can lead to the formation of precipitates, which can clog lines, drippers, or filters. AgSil 16H and other silica products should ideally be injected first into the irrigation lines, before other fertilizers. It’s always a good idea to include a mixing chamber following silica injection to allow full dilution. Once fully in solution at ready-to-use concentrations, silica and other nutrients are totally compatible.

A final important consideration is pH. For many silica products, AgSil 16H included, a pH between 5.5-6.5 results in a gelling of silica when highly concentrated. Growers can either adjust stock solution pH down to between 4-5, or target between 7-8 to avoid this issue. First add AgSil 16H to water to fully dissolve, then slowly add diluted acid with mixing until the desired pH range is reached. If gelling occurs, agitate and slowly add acid until gelling has dissipated. 

AgSil 16H contains 53% silica and 32% potassium. It is best applied as a once or twice weekly drench at 1.28-2.56 oz per 100 gallons to provide 50-100 ppm Si. While grasses and other silica accumulators would likely prefer 100 ppm, Cannabis has demonstrated good responses to the 50 ppm rate. Constant injection should target around 10 ppm Si, at 0.256 oz per 100 gallons. AgSil 16H can also be applied as a foliar spray, at a rate of 1-2 lb per 100 gallons. Try adding CapSil at 8 oz per 100 gallons for improved spreading over foliage.

Calcium & Cannabis

 The story of nutrition for cannabis and hemp goes beyond the macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Calcium and magnesium, two secondary plant nutrients, also play important roles in plant development and productivity. Cannabis is a particularly heavy consumer of both.


What exactly are these two nutrients doing inside your plants? Calcium provides structural support to plants as they develop, strengthening cell walls as new tissue grows. Plants lacking in calcium can display symptoms such as tip burn on new growth or pronounced leaf curl. For some crops, calcium deficiency even manifests as damage to developing fruits. While calcium builds the foundations for your plants’ structures, magnesium keeps the energy flowing. Magnesium is the atom at the center of all chlorophyll molecules, enabling plants to photosynthesize. When magnesium is lacking, chlorophyll in older growth breaks down and magnesium is remobilized to new growth, leading to lower leaf yellowing.


It can be difficult to meet the full needs of some crops through the use of complete fertilizers alone. Growers find that fertilizers high in calcium can often affect the pH of their substrate, typically leading to higher pH conditions. Some growers avoid with these conditions by rotating fertilizers, while others carefully build balanced fertilizer programs. Talk to your Griffin sales rep to find out how GGSPro can help.


An additional option is selecting specialized calcium supplements without adding a complete fertilizer package. Plant-Prod MJ Spike (CaMg) is part of the cannabis-specific line of nutrients from Master Plant Prod. This product has been specifically formulated to deal with the high-calcium demands of cannabis production and can be used any time throughout the production cycle. Both calcium and magnesium are provided in a beneficial ratio of 2:1 – 5.4% Calcium, 2.7% magnesium. Chelation with EDTA keeps the nutrient ions fully soluble while in stock tanks and during application. This highly specialized product is free from any other nutrients, ensuring that other nutritional ratios are not thrown out of balance. Ask your Griffin sales rep about MJ Spike or any of the other MJ Line fertilizers from Master Plant Prod!



Suffoil-X & Mite Control

 Pest control options in hemp and cannabis can be limited– growers must either apply beneficial insects or choose from a short list of approved sprays for specific issues. Luckily, the list of approved sprays includes some versatile options, such as Suffoil-X from BioWorks. Suffoil-X, a horticultural oil comprised of mineral oil, can be used as a general insecticide, miticide, and fungicide. As with any spray, however, some care is required. Let’s review best practices when it comes to applying horticultural oils on your crops. Following these practices limits your risk of phytotoxicity or burning after spraying any oil product.

  •           Always test new sprays on a small number of plants before applying to the entire crop.
  •           Apply when temperatures are under 85F / 30C.
  •          Ensure that foliage will dry within 1-2 hours of application.
  •          Avoid spraying drought-stressed plants.
  •           Remember, never mix oil and sulfur sprays!
Suffoil-X is one of GGSPro’s go-to products when it comes to curative (i.e. knockdown) sprays for mite. Once applied and the insects or mites are fully covered, spiracles (air holes) of the pest become blocked. Suffocation of pests quickly follows. A great benefit of oils like Suffoil-X is that they provide no residual action; once oils have dried, it is safe to release beneficial insects or pollinators.

    How do you know you’ve got a mite problem? Symptoms differ depending on which mites have moved in. Two-spotted spider mites are the easiest to spot and can sometimes be seen with the naked eye. Typical symptoms include a wide-spread stippling, giving leaves a dusty appearance. Severe infestations develop webbing across and between leaves. Broad mite infestations lead to severe distortion of the new growth. This cupping can give young leaves a canoe- or taco-like shape. Russet mites are the most difficult to spot, with early symptoms most closely resembling the general chlorosis similar to a nutritional deficiency. Russet and broad mites cannot be seen with the naked eye and require 20x or greater magnification.

 Application details of Suffoil-X, from BioWorks:
1.25 fl oz per gal or 1 gal per 100 gal as a foliar spray. Full coverage is essential, acts as a suffocant. Apply when rapid drying will occur and when air temperatures are below 85° F to avoid phytotoxicity. Flower caution on label. 4 hr REI. MOA UNE. OMRI listed.







Caterpillar Control in Hemp and other crops


 Viruses - everyone’s heard more than they want to know about them. Many growers know someone who has dealt with one. But what if we changed the narrative? Not all viruses are harmful.  Gemstar LC is one such example. Gemstar LC is a baculovirus insecticide that contains a naturally occurring virus that infects and kills larvae of the Helicoverpa or Heliothis spp. With this very host-specific virus, beneficial insects, fish, wildlife, livestock, and humans are left untouched while pest species are devastated.

 Originally developed for use on sweet corn, the label has recently expanded to include hemp. Hemp crops can be severely damaged by the following, virus-vulnerable pests:

  • Corn Earworm
  • Tomato Fruitworm
  • Cotton Bollworm
  • Tobacco Budworm

 While federally registered for hemp, Gemstar LC is also on many of the state lists approved for use on cannabis.  Gemstar LC can be used late in the crop cycle without residues remaining in the harvested bud.  Gemstar LC can be used the day of bud harvest with just a 4-hour REI.

 Gemstar LC must be eaten by the larvae to be effective. Gemstar LC is most effective against first or second instar larvae, so a scouting program to detect pests very early in the season is recommended. Frequent application at lower rates is more effective than infrequent applications at higher rates, to give larva ample opportunity to consume the virus. Other pesticide products, such as BTs, have a similar mode of action. Combining these products will not increase efficacy, so choosing just one is best.

 Death is not immediate - it may take several days to see results.  Once dead, the insect releases millions of virus particles to potentially infect other insects that come in contact with the cadaver. In summary, this good virus reduces the need for harsh insecticides during a critical part of the crop cycle.

 Some keys to effective results with Gemstar LC


  • Label rates are 4-10 oz; use the higher rate for higher insect pressure.
  • Gemstar is sensitive to direct sunlight; spraying is best done at times where the sunlight is not as direct like late afternoons, evenings or cloudy days.
  • Complete spray coverage is important; typical spray volumes range 20-100 gallons per acre with more required for larger plants.
  • Do not use silicone-based spreaders
  • Use of methylated seed oils, latex, humic acid even powdered milk have been shown to enhance effectiveness

To learn more about Gemstar LC reach out to your Griffin sales rep or the GGSPro team to find out how a beneficial virus can enhance your insecticide program.



Two Spotted Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticue)

 



Several biological control options for spider mite are available. For preventative measures, species of Amblyseius mites such as A. andersoni, A. californicus,and A. swirskii can be released with sachets that produce vast numbers of mites over a 4-5-week period. This ensures that even if there are no large populations of spider mites on the crop at the time of release, predators will consistently be introduced to prevent populations from developing and establishing. These sachets work by providing a fungal food source for a feeder mite within the sachet. The predatory mites then utilize the feeder mites as their food source. Once the population of predators in the sachet increases, they exit the sachet and begin to look for food on the crop. These predatory mites are great hunters and searchers, giving the grower confidence that spider mites will be found before they become an issue.

For curative measures, there are two options of release. Primarily, Phytoline (Phytoseiulus persimilis) mites are used as the first defense against problematic populations of spider mites. These mites are very particular and will not eat anything except spider mites. This gives the persimilis an edge when wanting to remove outstanding populations of mites, instead of being a preventative method since they cannot survive without spider mites present. These mites are best released via a bottle, blister, or vial depending on the situation. Bottles are typically used in the vegetative state of crop, while vials and blisters are used most typically in the flower state to reduce risk of carrier getting stuck in the flowers. Blisters are a great way to do this because the back of the blister is popped, and then the blister is hung on the crop. The persimilis crawl out themselves and no carrier is spread throughout the crop.

Feltiella can also be used as control measures. These midges lay their eggs in dense populations of mites, with their larvae feeding on mites. They work in conjunction with other bios and can be very effective for establishing control. They are released by trays that are left in the crop, allowing midges to fly and find the sources of food for their larvae.

Though Amblyseius mites are most typically used as preventative measures, they can also be used as a curative. As a curative release, these bios are typically introduced into the crop via bulk material, like a 1L tube or 5L bag, depending on amount needed. Sometimes, broadcast releases over the top of the crop can be a concern to growers, so there has been an increased use of release boxes. Release boxes are small boxes that hang from each plant and are filled manually with the bulk material in the tubes or bags. Once filled and hung, the mites enter the plant canopy the same way that they would from blisters, with no carrier being spread over the crop. Rates of release depend on the density of spider mite populations as well as the density of the plant canopy.


Item Number

Product

SB8042-01

Universal Release Box - Bioline

 

 

SB1201-02

P. Persimilis- 2K adult mites

 

 

SB0016-03

A. andersoni - 25K adult mites

 

 

SB0016-31

A. amdersoni - 200 mini sachets

 

 

SB0013-01

A. californicus - 2K adults

SB0013-31

A. californicus - 200 mini sachets

 

 

SB1501-01

Feltiline - 250 pupae

SB1201-09

Phytoline Blisters (5)


BioSafe Tech Tip

 As new CEA producers sprout up around the country, there have been almost as many advertising claims made about ‘pesticide-free’ facilities. While that’s comforting to think and read about, it’s important to keep in mind that nature abhors a vacuum. Especially when it comes to 6- and 8-legged pests. While modifications can be made in CEA environments to accommodate vegetables, herbs, cannabis, or flowers, the humidity, temperature, absence of natural biological controls and abundant food can attract, sustain, and explode pest populations. Even as CEA growers work diligently to prevent pests from penetrating their

carefully crafted biosecurity protocols, chances are good that at some point arthropod visitors will show up uninvited. It would be a rare facility indeed that didn’t have to manage at least one concerning pest.


Bringing in plants or cuttings is a common way that pests are introduced. For that reason, inspecting and quarantining new material is well worth the time investment. Regular and systematic scouting of your plants will ensure that you catch infestations in the earliest stages allowing you to find and manage pests before you have to bring in the big, synthetic chemistry guns.
 

Biological control agents (BCAs) are often the first line of attack. However, sometimes the cost, time, or feasibility to implement biocontrol necessitates additional control measures. Biorationals work in tandem with most BCAs and break down completely within a matter of days to ensure there are no pesticide residues on the finished product. That’s something you and your customers can feel good about.


Products such as BioSafe Systems’ BioCeres WP (the entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana), AzaGuard (full-spectrum azadirachtin), and BT NOW (lepidopteran specific Bacillus thuringiensis) have only a 4-hour re-entry interval and can be applied up to the day of harvest. In fact, successful biocontrol programs often incorporate both biorational products plus the use of compatible biocontrol agents, whether via cutting dip, fogging, spraying or drenching. Combining multiple tools to ensure all stages of the pest are managed can minimize the extent and time to mitigate an inevitable infestation.


Well Balanced Fertilizer Program for Hemp and Cannabis

 Cannabis and hemp are moderately heavy feeders, especially enjoying a relatively high calcium supply. A rigorous and well-balanced fertilizer program can be achieved with any number of fertilizer inputs, but the most successful are tailored to an individual operation’s needs. Choice of fertilizer formulation should be made based on water quality, irrigation equipment and growing media, and type of production system.


First, evaluate water quality. Growers should understand the pH, EC, alkalinity, and general mineral salt content of their water source. Municipal water supplies may change in composition from season to season – these water supplies should be tested at least once or twice a year. Well-water may also change seasonally and should be tested initially to gain an understanding of the water quality, then monitored yearly for changes to ground water conditions. When using reverse osmosis (RO) water, regular service and monitoring should be performed to make sure the filtration system is functioning as expected. Water sample test kits can be ordered and sent to a variety of labs for very reasonable prices.


Second, take stock of your irrigation equipment and available labor. Are you hand watering or using a drip system? How much water are you using on a daily basis? Some fertilizer stock solutions can be stored on site for weeks without issue, while others must be consumed quickly, in a day or two. Next, what type of media are you growing in? Truly hydroponic systems require control of the EC and pH of fertilizer water using consistently performing products. The pH of peat-based or soil-based media is most affected by the alkalinity of the water. Low to moderate alkalinity often can be managed with the proper fertilizer choice.
Hemp and cannabis growers treat excess water alkalinity through the application of acid along with the fertilizer. Sulfuric acid is the number one choice for this crop. High-alkalinity water presents a special challenge to organic growers. The only OMRI approved acid is citric acid; high alkalinity requires large amounts of citric acid to neutralize the excess. Organic growers may consider purification systems when faced with poor water quality.


Fertilizer targets can be met through the use water-soluble fertilizers or liquid nutrients. Slow or controlled release fertilizer are additional options when growing in peat-based or soil-based systems. GGSPro can help you sort through options to identify the best program for you.

 Click here for Soil and Water Testing Addresses

 

DescriptionSizeItem Number
Jack's 5-12-26
25 lb
33-51226
Jack's 10-30-20
25 lb
33-103020
Jack's 15-0-0
25 lb
33-79080
Plantex MJ 12-8-26
25 lb
31-M12279
Plantex MJ 4-31-37
25 lb
31-M12280
Plantex MJ Spike (CaMg)
25 lb
31-M12310
Neptune's Harvest Hydrolyzed Fish
1 gallon
80120001
Nature's Source 3-1-1
4.7 gallon
67-0065
Biomin Calcium
1 gallon
16-03011
Sustane 8-4-4 All Natural
50 lb
67-30569
Sustane 4-6-4 All Purpose Slow Release
50 lb
67-30201
Sustane 16-4-8
50 lb
67-50551

Printable version

New Rearing Method Allows For Better Production Predatory Mite

BioPersi+ addition to the Biobee arsenal

Going against all odds, the scientific literature, and decades of practical recorded experience, a BioBee R&D team headed by R&D Entomologists Arnon Tabic and Tom Katz, developed a new technology for the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis.

Traditional P. persimilis products are based on behavioral manipulation: the predatory mite is starved (at least partially) prior to harvest. As a result, it takes longer for the predatory mites to establish and start reproducing. The new product BioPersi+ arrives satisfied and physiologically stronger, thus able to seek and control hot spots faster and start laying eggs on the same day of application. BioPersi+ is produced using a new alternative food system which gives the persimilis key advantages. Additionally, although slow-release products of generalist predatory mites, such as sachets, have been available for some time, no such product was possible with P. persimilis. BioBee’s new technology makes the slow-release option of P. persimilis feasible. The BioPersi+ slow-release products are expected to be launched later in the 2021 year.

Another important difference is the age structure of the population. Whereas the traditional BioPersimilis product contains mainly adults, BioPersi+ product contains all the developmental stages of the mite (adults, juveniles, and eggs). This diversity creates a continuity of active mites in the greenhouses; assuring longer, uninterrupted spider mite control.

BioPersi+ Advantages

  • White to red color change confirms active predation.
  • Higher egg laying ability then traditional persimilis: females lay over 19 eggs within 5 days, under positive conditions.
  • Better searching ability and control of hot spots.
  • Diversity of life stages for longer prevention.
  • Slow Release methods (Available later in the 2021 Year
Above: In a trial observing how many persimilis individuals made it to their targets, the new Persi+ outperformed the conventional persimilis product.


Printable version

What is Fogging?

Fogging, also known as ultra-low volume treatment, utilizes very fine particle sizes to greatly reduce spray volume when applying chemicals. These small particle sizes enable products to be applied uniformly and to reach areas in the crop canopy and the undersides of leaves that may otherwise be missed by hydraulic sprayers. Fogging reaches all surfaces within the greenhouse space including under benches to nooks and crannies in the floors and structures.

What might growers want to fog?

Sanitizers – Fogging sanitizers can cut down on labor associated with spraying for hard surface sanitation. Dramm Autofog and Mini AutoFog can be left unattended outside of normal work hours and allowed to fog a sanitizer throughout a workspace. Sanitizers such as ZeroTol 2.0 can be run through these foggers when using stainless steel spray nozzles.

Biological and other water-based pesticides – Using a Dramm Coldfogger, Dramm Turbo ULV, or the Dramm BioPulsFOG, products containing live active ingredients can be applied evenly and thoroughly throughout the production space. These types of products are often used to treat insects such as aphids, or foliar fungal diseases such as Botrytis, powdery mildew, or leaf spots. Additionally, Coldfoggers and thermal foggers greatly decrease the time required to spray when compared to hydraulic sprayers and AutoFog equipment.

What should growers avoid fogging?

Oils – Many oils are technically compatible with fogging, but the trouble lies in their mode of action. Oils work through suffocation, filling all the air openings of insects or mites. Fogging produces very small-sized particles, one of the strengths of fogging, which ensures a highly uniform but thin layer of pesticide without using large amounts of water. While ideal for most pesticides, this action works against the coating and suffocating action of horticultural oils. Fogging oils also covers equipment with a fine layer of oil that may be detrimental to things such as lights or other mechanical fixtures.

Sulfur – Fogging, burning, or atomizing sulfur may be an effective insecticide and fungicide, but this practice carries with it several dangers and detriments, as well as not being an EPA approved practice. Sulfur vapors represent significant human health hazards, and over time sulfur vapors erode the integrity of poly materials. Plastics become brittle and useable lifetime is significantly reduced.


To learn more about the types of fogging equipment available, reach out to your Griffin rep or the GGSPro team to find out how you can add fogging into your production process. 

Click here for our fogger FAQs sheet for more information on fogging.



DescriptionItem Number
Dramm Mini AutoFog with Stainless Steel Nozzle
41-1205
Dramm SLVH AutoFog 120V
41-6003251
Dramm LVH AutoFog 220V
41-6003201
Dramm Stainless Steel Nozzle for LVH
41-1263
Dramm Coldfogger AR 20-gal tank, 150’ hose
41-1488
Dramm Turbo ULV Fogger
62-6003261
Dramm Puls-Fog K-30 Standard Blue Frame
41-1121
Dramm Puls-Fog K-30/20 Bio Dual Tank
41-1122
Dramm Cart for K-30/20
41-1125
Dramm K-22 PulsFog GH Yellow Frame
41-1331
Dramm K-22-Bio PulsFog Yellow Frame
41-1332
Dramm Nutri-Fog carrier
74-2675

Printable version

Even Watering in CEA Crops with Drip Irrigation

Written by: Kurt Becker - EVP – Commercial Products, Dramm Corporation

There are a variety of media types used in cannabis and hemp production. When combined with different container sizes, achieving even moisture levels throughout the pot can be challenging. It is important to pair the right type of irrigation system with the media to ensure that the plants are watered evenly.

Media Types

Rockwool and coir have less water holding capacity than peat-based mixes and organic mixes. As holding capacity decreases, watering frequency will need to increase. Additionally, irrigation duration should decrease. Irrigation volume is also a factor. Drippers with higher outputs can cause channeling in more porous medias, leading to uneven moisture in the container and uneven root growth over time.


Wetting Agents

With media ranging widely in composition, the moisture-holding characteristics and ability of the media to wick water laterally can have a huge impact on evenness of the moisture level throughout the container. Wetting agents are employed to reduce surface tension of water and allow very dry media to rehydrate. These products can be added to media either prior to planting or with irrigation water.

Pictured: Very dry media or uneven irrigation can lead to channeling - dry pockets that water skips past

Container Size

Container size will also have an impact on moisture homogenization. Smaller containers are easy to fill, even with a more porous media. Larger containers need more water and multiple points of distribution. Multiple staked drippers can often be enough. For a combination of media that will not wick well and a large container, using multiple pressure compensated rings often works well. Multiple drippers also help keep a valuable plant alive when one dripper clogs. 

Dripper Output

Dramm offers emitters with a range of outputs from 0.5 gph (2 lph) to 3.0 gph (12 lph). This allows for a variety of options. As noted above, multiple drippers can help water a plant more evenly. However, be careful not to overdo the flow rate. High flow drippers often channel more. A combination of lower flow drippers in one pot can provide better watering and the speed needed to cycle through the facility.


Dripper Type

There are different manufacturers of standard PC drippers. One challenge these emitters can have is clogging. Every system needs to be protected by proper filtration. However, with many of the fertigation methods used by CEA growers, sometimes particulate still gets through. Dramm PCAS emitters are larger than other emitters. This allows the labyrinth that regulates pressure internally to be wider. A wider labyrinth can pass more particulate than a narrower one. 

Complete Systems & Expertise

Working with experts can help ensure success in your growing facility. The Dramm and Griffin teams work together, asking questions to understand your growing style and system, to help offer the right solution for your irrigation system.

Dramm Irrigation Products From Griffin


Product NameItem Number
Dramm 36" Assembled PC dripper w stake 2 lph
44-5557
Dramm 36" Assembled PC dripper with Microvalve w stake 2 lph
44-5558
Dramm 18" Assembled PC dripper w stake 2 lph
44-5553
Dramm 16 mm PE tubing, 1000' Sunblock
44-5605
Dramm 10" PC Ring & 36" Leader Tube with Microvalve
44-5565
Dramm 4” PC Ring & 12” Leader Tube with Microvalve
44-5577
Dramm 4” PC ring & 24” Leader Tube with Microvalve
44-5579
Dramm 13” PC Ring & 36” Leader Tube with Microvalve
44-5573

Printable version

Hemp Field Readiness

By: Allison Justice, PhD
The Hemp Mine

Christmas season has passed, and planting season is right around the corner.  Now is the time to begin planning for the 2021 hemp growing season.  

There are many things to consider for field preparation, so let us prioritize:

Soil & water testing

This step is easy to let fall by the wayside but remember it is one of the most important things you can do for your crop.  Testing of soil and water sources should be done, at a minimum, annually.  State universities as well as many private testing labs will do these tests at a very affordable rate.  Most testing facilities will also aid on how to test and how to interpret results.  One soil test is not enough, there will be many areas of your field that need addressed differently.  Ask your lab for assistance.  

Pre-plant fertilizer

Once you receive results, you can then make an educated decision on field pre-planting amendments, such as lime or nitrogen.  After your field is treated and your soil rotated, you then can retest to understand the amount of liquid fertilizer you will need to apply throughout the season.

Irrigation planning & supplies

To get the most out of your crop and to avoid drought stress, irrigation implementation is key.  Some fields are trickier than others to lay out properly so contacting an experienced irrigation specialist can be helpful for design.  A common way for irrigation delivery is drip tape which is laid mechanically under plastic or biodegradable mulch.  Pressure, pump size, and injector capability should be determined for proper water distribution.

Mulching

Many hemp farmers choose to mulch their fields.  Mulching helps to increase water retention, reduce weed pressure, and alter temperature.  Additionally, when mulching is laid, the planting equipment normally can lay irrigation under the plastic as well as mound soil into beds.  Mounding is important in areas which have frequent rain because it contributes to proper drainage.  Mulch color can manipulate temperature and there are also great options for biodegradable mulch.  Biodegradable mulch can help reduce labor and the loss of topsoil at the end of the season. 

Genetics

The right genetic choice is 75% of the battle for a successful season.  Work with breeding companies that have a proven record and can provide you with more than just a certificate of analysis (COA).  Think about where these plants were bred and for what reason they may have been selected.  Ask the breeder for references and data from the previous year’s trials.    

Products to help you get started

Product Name
Item Number
LUMITE GCB 3' 300' Ground Cover Blue
78-2420
Blk/Wht 1.25 Mil 4' X 4000' Embossed
78-1032
Blk 1.25 Mil 3' X 2000' Embossed Mulch
78-1025
Netafim Figure 8 Line End
5011001
2Gph WPC Jr. P/C Woodpecker Dripper
5010013
Netafim 1000' .520-.620 Tubing Black
5010030
Netafim 2" FLEXNET PIPE 60" SPACING 328'
5010042
Netafim 1/2"MPT Elbow X.636TWD FLEXNET
5011006
Space-It 8Mil .4Gph 9000' Tape 12" Space
50183129
Streamline X 8Mil .2Gph 9000' 18" Space
5018618
Printable version

Greenhouse Lighting: Are Your Tired Grow Lights Letting Your Crop Down?

Researchers and growers alike recognize a lighting truth: A 1% increase in light levels returns a 1% increase in yield. Of course, this only applies when the light level is below the crop’s photosynthetic saturation point. The point at which light limits yield will vary with several factors, including the crop species, crop fertility, and temperature. 

Horticulturalists around the world make cost-effective decisions about lighting every day. In some places for some crops, crop quality during low-light times of the year is maintained by growing cooler and slowing the crop cycle. In other areas, supplemental lighting is added to keep consistent production and quality week after week. For indoor and warehouse cultivation, a stable environment is maintained year-round by sole-source lighting.

Greenhouse lighting plan

Sole-source lighting can be planned to provide consistent, uniform delivery of photons over the crop to provide a consistent harvest. This kind of lighting setup can be achieved with high-pressure sodium (HPRS), metal-halide (MH), or LED lighting technologies.

What happens when HPS and MH bulbs age? 

HPS and MH bulbs generally have a 10,000-hour life. You should expect their output to drop by 10% over this time. That means that a lighting plan initially providing adequate light to meet your yield goals will give you 10% less yield when bulbs hit their recommended end of life. Think about that. What does 10% less yield mean to your bottom line?

While we are thinking about this, what do 10,000 hours mean for a typical indoor production facility?

    • 12 hours/day: 2.25 years

    • 16 hours/day: 1.75 years

    • 18 hours/day: 1.5 years 

The easiest fix for diminishing photon output is to set a maintenance plan to replace your HPS and MH bulbs on a cycle that aligns with your use and sensitivity to decreasing yields. As we come to the end of the year, many operations can achieve tax benefits on Capex equipment purchases delivered prior to January 1, making this is a perfect time to replace your bulbs. 

Let us help you maintain your yields, so you continue to meet your production goals. Ask your Griffin salesperson about options for single end and dead-end HPS and MH replacement bulbs from leading manufacturers, including ParSource, Ushio, Hortilux, and Philips.


Griffin also offers a wide assortment of LED lighting technology. We can help you through the transition from HPS/MH to LED, both on the equipment and culture sides of the equation. 



Printable version

Why Are In Vivo Nematodes Beneficial?


Nematodes, specifically
Steinernema feltiae, have an intense action against fungus gnat larvae and thrips pupae found in crop media. A popular choice among greenhouse growers of all kinds, this microscopic biological control agent (BCA) has wormed its way into many effective integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Currently, a global SF nematode shortage is affecting many suppliers, leading growers to explore other product options to fill this void.

Nematodes Alternative: Sanitation

Sanitizing surfaces surrounding the growing area can go a long way to controlling fungus gnat and thrips issues. Proper sanitation practices help prevent the spread of algae, which serves as a potential food source and breeding space for several pests such as fungus gnats and shore flies. Products such as ZeroTol 2.0, SaniDate 5.0, and PERPose Plus are often approved for hard surface sanitation and may be used at lower concentrations to reduce the occurrence of algae on soil surfaces or in irrigation piping and tubing.  

Nematodes Alternative BCAs

Though no other BCA is quite as effective as nematodes against fungus gnat larvae and thrips pupae, some preventative pressure can be maintained through strategic applications of different species. Atheta coriaria and Hypoaspis miles, two primarily soil-dwelling BCAs, prey on larvae and pupae at the soil level. These two insects may survive for long periods in the crop media when maintaining even moisture and avoiding incompatible pesticide drenches. Though unable to handle severe infestations on their own, these BCAs may be incorporated into a preventative regimen to keep thrips and fungus gnat pressures low. 

In Vivo Nematodes

Several suppliers offer In Vivo Nematode products. With classic nematode products, nematodes are grown using a fermentation process that occurs in a nutrient solution. In Vivo nematode products are produced following the natural life cycle in live hosts. While both production methods produce effective nematodes, the In Vivo nematodes generally release a more potent dose of the pest-killing bacteria upon infection. It is not uncommon for growers to see slightly faster and higher efficacy with In Vivo nematodes. 

Though global shortages are not currently impacting In Vivo nematode products, this type of production is more labor and time intensive. In Vivo, the application rate for products is lower and would be an appropriate knock-down treatment before beginning a preventative regimen combining adequate sanitation and alternative BCAs. Please reach out to your Griffin sales rep or the GGSPro technical team for crop-appropriate rates and usage tips. 

Products


Product Name
Item Number
Zerotol 2.0 5Gal

71-35481
Sanidate 5.0 5Gal

71-35151
PERpose Plus 5Gal

71-2690
DALOTIAforce 1k beetles

30DC1N
Staphyline 500 beetles

SB0061-01
STRATIOforce 25k mites

30SS25
Hypoline 25K mites

SB0091-04
Sentry 25M nematodes

70-7025
In Vivo NemaShield, 24M nematodes

NEW
Printable version

Root Aphid Misconceptions


Many growers turn to biological control agents (BCAs) to effectively control foliar aphids; why should root aphids be any different? The difference lies in location, location, location! Root aphids tend to infest the entire container profile. Wherever plant roots are found, root aphids will follow. Root aphids hide out in any available crevice, providing a seemingly endless source of re-infestation. These deep colonies are the sticking point for most BCAs. Nevertheless, many growers have heard rumors of success with various BCAs. This tech tip will examine a few such BCA/root aphid relationships.

Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis) mites 

Hypoaspis miles, also known as Stratiolaelaps scimitus, is a soil-dwelling predatory mite with the ability to survive for long periods of time in the crop media. Their primary prey consists of fungus gnats, shore flies, and thrips pupae. This BCA reproduces in high numbers, quickly establishing populations. Hypoaspis mites have been observed feeding on root aphids, but their limiting factor is physical access. Hypoaspis mites are only active in the top and bottom inch of container media. Deeper aphid colonies will remain untouched, providing new waves of pests as these colonies continue to feed on plant roots and reproduce. 

Nematodes 

Nematodes for use as biological controls have been established as an easy and effective tool for growers to use. From fungus gnats and shore flies to thrips pupae, their efficacy is well understood. Nematodes have the advantage of being able to be drenched into media, though typical nematode applications only target the top two inches of soil. Nematologists confirm that certain species of beneficial nematodes, specifically Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, have the capability to harass and infect root aphids, but their capacity to kill is far outpaced by the root aphids’ speed of reproduction. 

Dalotia/Atheta/Rove beetle 

Rove beetles are media-dwelling insects that help growers manage shore flies, fungus gnats, thrips pupae, springtails, and other soil-dwelling pests. They are aggressive feeders, spending most of their time at media-level but adults may fly around at night in search of prey. Being a generalist predator, they may indeed prey upon root aphids that they encounter, but their contact is limited. Dalotia beetles dwell primarily in the top ½ inch of soil or media, again leaving deeper hidden colonies of aphids untouched. 

So, what DOES work?

Our current recommendations fall back on full-pot-volume drenches of biopesticides and insect growth regulators. Specifically, the combination of B. bassiana fungal spores with an azadirachtin product has shown some level of control in production environments. Drenches target root aphids while sprays control foliar aphids and fliers. A tank mix and weekly spray/drench of these products can go a long way toward achieving or maintaining control of both root and foliar aphid species. For more information contact your local Griffin rep or the GGSPro team.


Product NameItem Number
BotaniGard WP
70-12521
BotaniGard ES
70-12511
BioCeres
70-1245
Velifer
70-9540
AzaGuard
70-1225
Azatin O
70-12301
Molt-X
70-2410
Aza-Direct
70-1222
Printable version

pH Correction for Irrigation Water

 Why? When? How?

Most growers know that correcting pH is important, but they don't always know why. When we correct the pH in irrigation water, we are actually adjusting the irrigation water alkalinity, but why are we doing that?

Figure 1

To understand, we need to define pH. In simple terms, the pH of a solution relates to the concentration of hydrogen cations (H+). The pH scale goes from 1 to 14, where the lower the pH 
(high H+ concentration), the more acidic; the higher the pH (low concentration of H+), the more basic.  

Why is irrigation water pH important in CEA? The nutrient availability for plants is affected by pH (Fig 1). Whereas Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Boron (B), Zinc (Zn), and Copper (Cu) are more available at low pH values, Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) are more available at higher pH values. At very low pH, however, the increase in Fe, Mn, and Al (Aluminum) can become toxic. Therefore, between 5.5 and 6.2, most micronutrients are available at proper levels.

Why do we correct irrigation water alkalinity? The concept “alkalinity,” is a measure of the resistance of a water solution to change its pH. When acid is added to the irrigation water, the H+ of the acid first react with the carbonates and bicarbonates on the water forming CO2 and water. Initially, pH decreases slowly. When no more alkalinity is left, the pH will drop abruptly. 

We measure alkalinity in ppm.  Even though it’s closely related to pH, two different water samples could have similar pH values but different levels of alkalinity. It’s going to take much more acid to lower the water sample's pH with more alkalinity than the one with less. 

Carbonates and bicarbonates brought by the irrigation water will react with H+ in the growing media and increase its pH, lowering the micronutrient availability.  Plants will suffer micronutrient deficiencies. But completely removing the alkalinity is not necessarily good. Most fertilizers are acidifying in nature; if our irrigation water does not have any alkalinity, the acidifying fertilizer can lower the growing media pH to toxic levels. This case can be observed with RO water, where all alkalinity was removed, and potassium bicarbonate is needed to increase the alkalinity to a desirable value of 60-70 ppm.

We correct pH (mostly lower it) to correct alkalinity and optimize micronutrient availability. In some cases, we start with water that has no alkalinity. Then we need to adjust the pH up due to the natural acidifying quality of most fertilizer formulas.

Figure 2

Our injectors correct pH by proportionally injecting acidsor bases for your fertilizer formula blend (Figure 2). How much? And how? Let the GGSPro andDilution Solutions team help; give us a call!


Jose Rodriguez
Agronomist – PhD Engineering Sciences
Business Development Manager
Dosatron / Dilution Solutions
jose.rodriguez@dosatronusa.com
863-258-6888

Product NameItem Number
Dosatron 14 GPM Injector with Bypass
33-2417
Dosatron Etatron eOne Kit Low MicroDoser Kit
218-1820
Dosatron Etatron eOne Kit HI MicroDoser Kit
218-1821
Dosatron Etatron Ultrasonic Lo MicroDoser Cabinet
218-1822
Dosatron Etatron Ultrasonic Hi MicroDoser Cabinet
218-1829
Dosatron D132 Mega-Flo Injector
33-2428
Dosatron D400 Mega-Flo Injector
33-2429
Sulfuric Acid 93% Tech Grade 1GAL
75-5030
Sulfuric Acid 93% Tech Grade 15GAL
75-5034
Phosphoric Acid 75% Tech Grade 4-1GAL/CS
57-100239
JACKS CITRIC ACID 25 LB
J74321
JACKS POTASSIUM BICARBONATE 1 LB
91-2190
JACKS POTASSIUM BICARBONATE 25 LB
91-2191
General Hydroponics pH Up 1 gal
HGC722095
General Hydroponics pH Down 1 gal
HGC722125
Dosatron Meter pH/Temp Hydro
33-2710
Dosatron Meter pH/Temp Pro
33-2715
Dosatron Replacement Sensor pH
33-2725
Dosatron Storage Solution pH Electrode 600
33-2740
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Controlling Pest Caterpillar in The Field

Trichogramma wasp parasitizing lepidoptera egg.
Lepidoptera species are one of the top pests of hemp and cannabis production and may appear anytime from early spring well into fall.

Types of Lepidoptera

Species such as Eurasian Hemp Borer, European Corn Borer, Corn Earworm, and many others cause significant damage when left unchecked.

Types of Damage

Damage from these pests commonly takes two forms: stem boring or leaf chewing. Stem boring refers to when the insect eats its way into the plant, while leaf chewing refers to defoliation.




Understanding and controlling the lifecycles of these pests is key to season-long damage protection. Lepidoptera typically go through four main stages: egg, larval, pupal, and adult stage. The larval stage is represented by caterpillars. The pupal is the cocoon stage when they are often dormant. The adult stages appear as moths, flies, or butterflies. Different control strategies target different life stages, so timing control activities is very important.

Cultural management can help growers handle the larval and adult life-stages and generally follows these two focuses.  

·       Environmental Cleanup - Through the vigilant season-long reduction of weeds and plant debris, growers remove the preferred habitat, potential food sources, or breeding areas. This is effective at combating all four stages

·       Traps - The use of UV light traps and pheromone lures helps manage the population of adult moths when properly positioned and employed.

Spray treatments can be added to cultural control strategies and are highly effective for the larval stage, however they may not be approved for all locations or all crops.

Biological Control Agent (BCA) Options

Various species of Trichogramma wasps target the egg stage of many Lepidoptera. These biological control agents (BCAs) can be released either in a loose bulk carrier throughout the crop or as eggs on cards that can be hung on plants. As the Trichogramma eggs hatch, the wasps emerge and hunt down Lepidoptera eggs to parasitize. Once eggs have been attacked by wasps, the pest life cycle halts. Weekly applications should begin in early June to catch the first generation of eggs and continue throughout production through August. 

Different species of Trichogramma prey on different Lepidoptera species. Contact your GGSPro BCA specialist for help determining which species is most appropriate for your operation.



Griffin Lepidoptera Control Products

Product NameSupplierSpeciesSizeItem Number
Tricholine
Bioline
T. Brassicae
20K or 10K pupae
SB0451-04, SB0451-01
TRICHOforce B
Beneficial Insectary
T. Brassicae
10K pupae
30TBH
Trichogramma
Beneficial Insectary
Mixed
100k pupae
30TBH

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