Trichoderma is a genus of fungi that helps protect plant roots against soil-borne pathogenic fungi while also promoting healthy growth and nutrient uptake. Learn more about how Trichoderma can benefit your cannabis grow operation.
Maybe you’ve come across the term Trichoderma in conversation with other weed growers, while researching ways to improve your cannabis grows, or even on product labels and descriptions. So what is this stuff? And why do people seem to love it so much? Keep reading for answers to all of these questions and more.
What Is Trichoderma?
Trichoderma is a large genus of soil-dwelling fungi that contains many species. They are found in nearly all types of soils and ecosystems across the globe. Trichoderma feed off other various fungi, and they grow well in soils with lots of plant roots – which they love to colonize. However, properly identifying and classifying Trichoderma species can be difficult because they don’t have many easily identified physical differences (morphological differences). In fact, for a long time scientists only knew about one singleTrichoderma species! But today, at least 33 unique kinds have been discovered.
What Is Trichoderma Used For?
Trichoderma products are commonly used in agriculture and domestic gardening because Trichoderma itself is known to attack and feed on other fungi and bacteria. In turn, this makes Trichoderma an effective way to control a variety of different pathogens. ways:
- To treat seeds prior to planting
- As a soil amendment before planting
This growth stimulant and biocontrol agent is administered during the plant’s growth process.
What Are the Benefits of Trichoderma for Cannabis?
Below are some of the benefits associated with using Trichoderma in a cannabis grow.
1. Better Root Development
Trichoderma are a type of fungi that thrive in the rhizosphere, which is the area around plant roots. They feed off bacteria and other fungi, and can be applied directly to your seeds or potting soil. Once they come into contact with roots, they’ll colonise the root surface.
Trichoderma strains (such as T. harzianum, or T-22) areArguably more rhizosphere competent than other fungi and can colonise plant roots rapidly . Plants grown with Trichoderma have repeatedly been shown develop larger, healthier root systems. When compared to plants grown without the fungi, it is clear that Trichoderacolonisation creates a better environment for growth.
2. Protection From Pathogens
Trichoderma protect plants by various means. For example, they can attach to other fungi and secret enzymes that break down the cells of the host (while being protected from its own enzyme production). Also, Trichoderma can generate antibiotics and metabolites that attack plant pathogens directly.
Not only does Trichoderma excel at receiving nutrients in the rhizosphere, but it can also quickly deplete other fungi’s resources. Furthermore, studies have shown that Trichoderma is effective in annihilating plant-eating nematodes’ eggs and young. Additionally, having Trichoderma present near roots has been proven to help plants generate defence chemicals against above-ground and soil-borne diseases.
3. Improved Plant Health and Fruit Production
Not only does Trichoderma help to grow roots and control plant diseases, but it also boosts the general growth of plants and their capacity to create nutrient-rich fruit (or buds). Several studies have shown that, for example, Trichoderma produces acidic metabolites which break down organic compounds in soil – thus helping the root system absorb more nutrients.
By secreting organic acids, Trichoderma fungi help to sustain optimal soil pH levels for nearby plants. This process allows those plants that prefer slightly acidic soils – such as cannabis – to maximise nutrient uptake. In addition, studies have shown that Trichoderma can also secrete “hormone-like” compounds which stimulate a plant’s growth both above and below ground.
4. Natural and Environmentally Friendly
Trichoderma is a completely natural option as compared to chemical pesticides/herbicides. Trichoderma species are present naturally in soil ecosystems, and introducing them into your cannabis garden will probably not have any negative effect on the plant and animal life nearby. Even though Trichoderma has been known to cause allergic reactions and other health problems for some people, the fungi is usually considered safe when used correctly (more info below).
Unlike other chemicals, Trichoderma-treated soil is non-toxic to animals and plants. In fact, it’s beneficial to the microbial life forms needed for a healthy living soil.
5. Soil Detoxification
Trichoderma doesn’t just help growth – it can also cleanse old or polluted soil. Studies have found that Trichoderma can break down heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, copper, zinc and arsenic. These dangerous materials are often used in chemical pesticides, weed killers and fertilisers.
In fact, research has demonstrated that Trichoderma can even degrade organic pollutants such as diesel. Meanwhile, many types of Trichoderma are very resilient to chemical toxins, like pesticides.
How to Use Trichoderma to Grow Healthier Cannabis Plants
Fortunately, using Trichoderma to support your cannabis grow operation is quite simple. We recommend utilizing Trichoderma in one of the following three ways for best results.
Note: Always use gloves, protective eyewear, and a face mask when handling Trichoderma products as it may irritate the skin, eyes, and/or respiratory tract.
To Coat Seeds Prior to Planting
Coating your seeds in Trichoderma has been shown to increase resistance against pathogens such as Fusarium and Pythium, according to studies. Here’s how you can do it:
- Put a small amount of Trichoderma powder in a clean and dry Petri dish or plate.
- Use tweezers to gently place your seeds into the powder.
- Plant your seeds directly into soil or in their starter blocks to germinate.
TheTrichoderma you applied to your germinating seeds will automatically start colonizing the roots once they sprout. This not only provides extra protection against root problems and pathogens, but also helps promote growth from day one.
To Amend Soil Prior to Growing
Before you plant, adding trichoderma to your soil can give your plants a growth boost. There are two ways to do this:
- You can add Trichoderma to your entire soil mix at a ratio of roughly 1g of Trichoderma powder or granules per litre of soil, and combine thoroughly.
- Or, you can just add 5g of Trichoderma to the top layer of your soil, where it’ll come into direct contact with your plant’s roots. To do this, simply sprinkle Trichoderma powder or granules into the hole where you’ll be planting your seedlings.
To Support Plants As They Grow
Here’s how to use Trichoderma in your cannabis grow: add it to water and apply the mixture directly to your plants’ soil, similar to liquid fertiliser.
- Combine 5g of Trichoderma with 1l of unchlorinated water, and water as normal.
- For optimal growth and protection from pests, repeat this process every 2-3 weeks.
Microbial and Fungal Support for Your Cannabis Plants with RQS Rhizobacter
We’re big believers of organic cannabis cultivation at RQS because it not only grows a natural product with great aromas and flavours, but also helps us reduce the negative environmental impact of growing weed. Minimising your ecological footprint is essential, and our Rhizobacter formula can help. Our product is 100% natural and created from algae that boost the growth of microbes and fungi, like Trichoderma at the root zone of plants–all without causing harm to the environment. In addition, Our formula will assistance in protecting your plants against pathogens, strong root growth promotion ,and improvement in nutrient uptake leading to optimal plant health.
Here’s how to use Royal Queen Seeds Rhizobacter:
- Add 1 gram of Rhizobacter to every liter of soil and mix well.
- Transplanting instructions: Add 1g of Rhizobacter to the hole you’ll transplant your seedling or plant into. Next, add your chosen plant or seedling. Top off with additional soil as needed, then water generously.
- To use as a soil drench: Mix 1 gram of Rhizobacter with 1 litre of water, and soak the topsoil around your plant every 21 days.
A Note on Mycorrhizae and Nematodes
The term mycorrhiza is commonly used in talks about organic cannabis farming. However, many growers do not fully understand what it entails. Mycorrhiza refers to the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and fungi– deriving from the Greek words ‘myco’ meaning fungal, and ‘rhiza’ meaning root.
Mycorrhizal plant supplements introduce mycorrhizal fungi spores to plants, which then growth the for proliferation of these beneficial fungi. These CGI fungi improve water and nutrient uptake in the rhizosphere while deterring pathogens, similar to Trichoderma species. Although different commercial manufacturers use various fungal strains in their products, at Easy Roots we utilize the following species of fungi:
- Rhizophagus irregularis
- Entrophospora colombiana
- Glomus spurcum
- Glomus mosseae
- Glomus geosporum
- Glomus clarum
- Glomus etunicatum
Rhizobacter is similar to our Easy Roots Mycorrhiza Mix in that it can be used as a soil amendment or drench. To add it to soil, simply mix 4g of Mycorrhiza Mix into the topsoil of each plant and place 1g directly into the planting hole. For use as a drench, mix 5g of Mycorrhiza Mix into 1l of non-chlorinated water and apply to the soil every 2–3 weeks for best results.
Unlike Trichoderma and mycorrhizal fungi, nematodes are not beneficial to the health of your soil. In fact, they can actually harm your plants. Nematodes are unsegmented roundworms that can be found in virtually every ecosystem on the planet. While there are some plant-parasitic nematodes that you’ll want to keep as far away from your cannabis as possible, most nematodes actually benefit soil and plant life. In short, nematodes consume bacteria and therefore help regulate bacterial numbers in a soil ecosystem. They also guard your plants against insects that mean them harm. Species of the Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae families are usually available at garden centres, and they’re known to be good for plants.
Trichoderma: A Natural Way to Boost Root Health and Plant Growth
Trichoderma is a great eco-friendly way for cannabis growers to not only stimulate root growth, but also help with nutrient uptake. This fungi will protect your plants from various pathogens and it doesn’t produce any toxic runoff like some synthetic alternatives might. So next time you’re considering chemicals, think about using Trichoderma first!