Indoor Garden Update - and Deeper Look at Thrips Damage

Hello Everyone,

Today I trimmed up the cannabis garden.

Generally I only remove damaged foliage, which for my indoor garden is usually minimal, but this time a thrips infestation occurred, and their damage was substantial but did not destroy the entire garden.

I lost 3 plants from the thrips and was left with 4. I'm ok with that because now I can grow these one's out a little bigger, and hopefully yield some fat buds.

I'll show some before and after photos of the plants, as well as some (semi) macro photos of the damaged leaves.


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Here we have 4 healthy cannibis plants, with the exception of some damaged foliage from the thrips.

After removing the damaged foliage, we are left with:


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Let's have a look at some closer shots:


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After the trimming, I'm pretty happy with how the plants look, and there is no doubt in my mind that the next two weeks will be an explosion of growth, after which I will need to change light cycles for flowering.

I'm going to try to grow them as big as possible before switching, while taking into consideration that there is still a 1-2 week window of (height) growth during the change in growth phases.

Now let's talk about the thrips:


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What are thrips and how do they have such an impact on the foliage?

Thrips are classified as small hemimetabolic insects.

They feed on the foliage, sucking out the vital nutrients.

The damage that occurs looks like a shiny (almost slimy) looking substance which doesn't show much in photographs, but here we can see how it looks like sugar has been sprinkled on the surface, and the leaf itself suffers from what looks like cancerous dead spots.

Thrips are very tiny and hard to see with the naked eye. I did not spot many of them, and after eradicating them, I was unable to find any carcasses , although I'm sure there are plenty there.

They notably are vast as a species, containing many variants of the bug, but the effects are mostly the same on gardens.

The rate at which they multiply is explosive, with the onset of the colony doubling in size within the first 4 days. In this sense population can take on a freakish exponential factor, and taking action immediately is critical.

Females do not need males to reproduce, and laying of their eggs causes further damage and deformation of plant growth.

Thrips live pretty comfortably in the soil itself, and enjoy warmer temperatures. So an enclosed tent is a prime space for them to do their damage.

There are a few different methods for getting rid of thrips.
Insecticidal soap and neem oil are effective but maybe not the best way.. As these solutions could cause some undesired effects with the plants if not applied properly, and tend to give off some pretty unpleasant odors with my experience using them.

Natural remedies like introducing predatory insects like ladybugs, lacewings and trichogramma wasps are also effective for reducing populations of thrips.

The method I used was diatomaceous earth (fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms) which proved to be highly effective at getting rid of them pretty much immediately. A little more detail about how I eradicated them can be found in this previous post.

Research sources:
https://www.koppertus.com/news/2019/ten-facts-about-thrips/
https://www.epicgardening.com/thrips/

Here are some more photos of the damage:


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The darker leaves were from the purple cheese plant, the only one growing that survived the onslaught.
They are naturally darker, and for some reason the thrips went hard on this plant. They must have known it's dank stuff :D


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After all is said and done, the garden is looking fantastic, and the trim opened up a little tent space for the plants to fill out now.

Let's look from a little further back:


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Plenty of space for them to grow :)

I will likely need to raise the purple lights, or I may remove them altogether.

Right now I am building a greenhouse, which will act more like just another indoor tent..

The greenhouse will be maybe half of the size of this tent, with the intent to use as a seedling starter space, and will then utilize my tent for 12/12 light cycles only, with more of the natural looking light LED's added.

Now let's have a look at the rest of the family:


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The lettuce is in the back, and the mixed variety flowers are up front.
I have no experience growing flowers or lettuce so I don't know if they look really good, but I think they do!


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This particular succulent has been with me for a couple of years now, so I can say with full confidence that it is very healthy currently, and I have a few of them growing. One is outdoors, and there is the big mother plant and a smaller mother plant. It's a plant that just clones itself (with a little help from me.) and they make really great gifts because they are easy to care for and pretty beautiful plants, especially when they blush, like they are for me :)

The blush on succulents is highly desirable, and this plant without the blush is not super pretty. It will be mostly green and can etiolate (stretch) rather easily.


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The larger Graptosedum bronze appears more green, but I'm working on blushing it out right now. The intense light (being closer to the lights) will promote some new and very much needed growth for the Graptosedum's, as they took a beating from the thrips too, but they are also recovering just fine :)

That's it for today.

I will have more updates soon, I'm looking forward to witnessing the explosion of growth that I know is on the way.
End stages of vegetation are always exciting for me, because when the plants are healthy in vegetation, it is usually a good sign of the flowers to come.

Thank you for stopping by, have a great day! -@futuremind

Sort:  

Thrips are such a pain. I have found they tend to die down once flowering begins, since there so small they would get stuck from the resin. Another thing I have done in the past was set mouse sticky traps on the soil .

They sure are. I even found a few more on the foliage after making this post :(
I gave the top soil another treatment and hopefully that will finish the job.

Good to know flowering helps reduce them too, thank you for sharing, it makes sense totally.

Thanks for the comment and support!

Yeah you basically have to declare war. Probably a good 5-7 days of spraying would do the trick. And less foliage the better.

ah hrips, hey sure are a pain.

For sure, I even found more after this post and thought they were gone. Gave the top soil another treatment, hopefully that will finish the job.
Thanks for the comment and support!

I see that you like too much to take care of the plants and see them grow, I am glad to see that your little ones achieved a good height.

Thanks a bunch! More to come soon, they are exploding in growth just like I thought they would :)

Glad you sorted things out! Good job. No expensive and/or harmful products used!
Thanks for the pics. It's still a bit hard to tell, but that does look similar to what I'm dealing with. I should do another application of DE :))

Thanks man! I definitely like that diatomaceous earth, it gets the job done.

I agree about the photos, it is still hard to really see the damage very well. I use this camera currently:
https://kodakpixpro.com/cameras/astro-zoom/az421

and it is not a terrible camera but very tricky to take macro photos with. Sometimes everything lines up just right and it all works, but the biggest problem is the rechargeable battery inside, which loses charge rather fast.

For every good photo there are probably five I don't choose, and one battery charge will get me about 30 minutes of captures if I have the flash going. I should probably hack this thing and install a big lithium ion battery, then I would have more time to fine tune photos, but the camera still is not that great. I try to make due best I can with it though.

Another application probably isn't a bad idea for me either, was thinking about it earlier.

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