Discover everything you need to know about using Trichoderma in your cannabis grow operation. Trichoderma is a geus of fungi known for its ability to colonize plant roots and fight off many soil-borne pathogenic fungi. Additionally, it produces antibiotics and metabolites that promote healthy growth and nutrient uptake in plants.
If you’re a cannabis grower, then chances are you’ve come across the term Trichoderma before. Maybe other growers mentioned it to you, or maybe you came across it while researching ways to improve your cannabis grow operation. You might have even seen it on labels or descriptions of soil amendments, fertilizers, and store-bought substrates. But what exactly is Trichoderma? And why do so many cannabis growers swear by its benefits? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this important element in successful cannabis cultivation.
What Is Trichoderma?
The genus Trichoderma contains many soil fungi that can be found in a variety of soils and ecosystems across the globe. These fungi feed off other fungi and love to colonize areas with high densities of plant roots. Though they have few morphological differences, properly identifying and classifying Trichoderma species is difficult. In fact, for a long time it was believed that there was only a single Trichoderma species; however, today we know there are at least 33 unique species within this genus.
What Is Trichoderma Used For?
Trichoderma is a fungus that commonly used in agriculture and domestic gardening. It attacks other fungi and bacteria, which makes it effective in controlling various pathogens. Trichoderma products are used in the following ways:
- To treat seeds prior to planting
- As a soil amendment before planting
- As a growth stimulant and biocontrol agent administered during growth
What Are the Benefits of Trichoderma for Cannabis?
Some of the key benefits to using Trichoderma in a cannabis grow are listed below.
1. Better Root Development
Trichoderma are a fungi that love to colonize plant roots and live in the rhizosphere, where they feed off bacteria and other fungi. you can apply Trichoderma directly to your seeds, potting soil, or around the root zone of growing plants; once they come into contact with the roots Cortex , colonization will begin almost immediately. Trichoderma (such as T. harzianum, or T-22) are considered “highly rhizosphere competent” and can colonise plant roots as they grow. Plants grown with Trichoderma have repeatedly been shown to develop larger, healthier root systems than plants grown without the fungi.
2. Protection From Pathogens
Trichoderma protects plants from pathogens by various means. For example, they can attach to other fungi and produce enzymes that break down their cells slowly (at the same time protecting themselves from the enzymes produced). Another way Trichoderma can protect plants is by producing antibiotics and metabolites that attack plant pathogens directly.
Not only do Trichoderma compete for nutrients in the rhizosphere, but they can also starve other fungi. Additionally, Trichoderma have been known to destroy plant-eating nematode eggs and juveniles. It is thought that having Trichoderma around the root zone enables plants to produce natural defence chemicals against pathogens both below and above ground.
3. Improved Plant Health and Fruit Production
Not only does Trichoderma help with root growth and controlling plant pathogens, but it also aids in the overall growth of plants and their ability to produce high-quality fruit (or buds). Studies have shown that Trichoderma produces acidic metabolites that break down organic matter in soil, which then promotes better nutrient uptake by the roots.
This secretion of organic acids not only helps to control soil pH, but also keeps plants at a pH level where they can better absorb nutrients – particularly those that prefer slightly acidic soil, such as cannabis. Trichoderma has also been shown to secrete “hormone-like” compounds that promote both above and below-ground growth in plants.
4. Natural and Environmentally Friendly
Trichoderma is 100% natural, which sets it apart from chemical pesticides and herbicides. Trichoderma species already exist in soil ecosystems; adding them to your cannabis garden shouldn’t have negative consequences for the plant or animal life nearby. Although Trichoderma has been shown to cause allergic reactions and other health problems in some people, when used properly, the fungi are usually safe (more information below). Adding Trichoderma to your soil won’t toxify it for animals or ruin other plants in your garden. In fact, it’s beneficial for the microbes that are essential to sustaining healthy living soil.
5. Soil Detoxification
Trichoderma not only purifies old or polluted soil but also degrades heavy metals often found in pesticides and herbicides. Studies have even shown that Trichoderma can break down organic pollutants like diesel. At the same time, many species of Trichoderma are resistant to chemicals toxins, such as pesticides.
How to Use Trichoderma to Grow Healthier Cannabis Plants
In light of the information presented above, many cannabis cultivators opt to use Trichoderma in order to support their grow operation – which is fortunately a very easy process. We suggest using Trichoderma in one of three ways:
Because Trichoderma products may irritate the skin, eyes, and/or respiratory tract, always use gloves, protective eyewear, and a face mask when handling them.
To Coat Seeds Prior to Planting
If you want your seeds to be resistant to pathogens, coat them in Trichoderma before planting. It’s easy:
- To start, add a little Trichoderma powder to an unused Petri dish or plate.
- Gently place your seeds into the powder using a set of tweezers.
- Place your seeds in starter blocks or directly into the soil to help them germinate.
Trichoderma, a root colonization fungi, will automatically establish itself on your germinated seeds and stimulant root growth from the first day. Not to mention, it provides protection against pathogens that could otherwise cause seedling problems like wilting and damping off.
To Amend Soil Prior to Growing
There are a few ways you can use Trichoderma as an effective soil amendment before planting:
- Trichoderma can be added to your entire soil mix at a ratio of 1g per litre of soil, and combined thoroughly.
- The other option is to add 5g of Trichoderma to the topmost layer of your soil, which will then come into contact with your plant’s roots. Doing this is simple–just sprinkle Trichoderma powder or granules into the hole where you’ll be planting your seedlings.
To Support Plants As They Grow
Another method of using Trichoderma in your cannabis grow is to mix it with water and use it as you would a liquid fertilizer, applying it directly to the base soil of your plants.
- To create this mixture, add 5g of Trichoderma to 1l of unchlorinated water. Once those are combined, you can water your plants as usual.
- Protect your plants and encourage their growth by repeating this process every 2 to 3 weeks.
Microbial and Fungal Support for Your Cannabis Plants with RQS Rhizobacter
We’re big proponents of organic cannabis cultivation here at RQS not just because the final product is more natural and tastes/ smells great, but also because it lessens our impact on the environment. Rhizobacter is an excellent way to reduce your ecological footprint. Our 100% natural formula, created from algae, does not damage the environment like many other products and actually promotes the growth of beneficial microbes and fungi at the root zone of your plants. In addition to maintaining plant protection against pathogens, Rhizobacter also strengthens root growth and optimizes nutrient uptake for healthier plant growth overall.