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Old 10-11-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
Capt Cannabis
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Adding top layer of sand - some concerns...

Hey guys,

I have been battling pests for the first time during this grow, I believe they are fungus gnats. I have been using neem oil with no improvement. When the plants were younger I put a 1/2" layer of sand on the top of the soil on each plant and the bugs were gone within 48 hours. I was experiencing some issues with yellowing at the time, and I wanted to see what your experiences were when adding sand to your soil. The sand is not from the beach, from a local hardware store.

A few questions regaurding the use of sand:

1) What does sand do to the PH of my soil? Since the sand is on the top, the water and nutrients I give them go through the sand first. How does the top layer of sand affect the PH?

2) Should I do anything to the sand before using? It's coming from a huge pile outside the hardware store.

Any other issues or concerns I should be aware of?

Thanks very much,

The Captain
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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diotomacious earth will do a great job at killing soil born pests that need air to reproduce. Sorry, don't know about sand....
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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Id be careful about adding in sand, if you don't get the ratios right you'll end up with a poor mans cement, not very good for root growth. Diatomaceous earth which has been mentioned previously, I think would do the job, it works by speeding up the insects evaporation levels and basically dries em out. I read also that it will kill larvae by cutting them as they pass almost like rubbing against shards of glass.

Pyrethum bombs and or gnatrol(Bacillus Thuringiensis bacteria) works as well, maybe could consider a rotation of different applications. You could also look into IPM(integrated pest management) beneficial nematodes as well as predatory mites are available however I have no idea if it they were meant for treatments in cannabis. Could end up trading one pest for another. Good luck!-basket
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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diotomacious earth will do a great job at killing soil born pests that need air to reproduce. Sorry, don't know about sand....

^^ This....
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:28 PM   #5
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Sand works just fine, but what you want to do is determine whether or not it's calcareous, which will definitely change pH. Just take a small container of vinegar with you and pour some on the sand in question. If it bubbles, it's calcareous and will change pH. If not, you should be golden.

Use the sand.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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i used sand once that was for kids sandboxes with no issues
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:34 PM   #7
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stick w/ the DE.... got silica too booot.......best bet
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:36 PM   #8
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de does nothing when wet. i suggest both.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:37 PM   #9
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Me too....So far no problems....makes the plant/pot heavy though, so get used to the new weight...
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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Play sand, which is typically Si-based anyway, can also provide some Si. So do rice hulls. I find DE gets washed down through the soil pretty quickly.

How about adding some yellow sticky traps to your decorating scheme?
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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I guess I can't delete this post. This has happened to me three times now, I hit 'submit' and then I get a message saying that this forum requires I wait between posts. I don't get clicky with it, I think it's some glitch, either in the browser, or....?

Anyway, double-post. Sorry!
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:11 PM   #12
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Wow guys posted about 3 hours ago and I come back and check on the thread, and there are 10 replies! Thats awesome, thanks.

It seems like DE has given a lot of good results. Where do I get something like that? Hardware store? Hydro shop only? What else is it used for, or only plants?

I know the sand will get rid of the bugs in no time. Just worried about adverse affects from the sand. Seems like others have had pretty good results using sand too.

Thanks again for all of the quick replies, I am really impressed. This community is priceless, all the members look out for each other and thats what its all about.

Will keep checking in,

The Captain
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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none of that will work from my experience.
done the sand, d.e. powder, and 2 sizes of d.e stones, perlite, cedar,cinnamon, crabshell, topdressings. and bt didnt work for me either.
wanna find a natural remedy, still looking tho.
alternating with gonats, neem, and sm 90 now and its not really working

other stuff to try dryer sheets, potato slices, and pyretherin drench?

good luck
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:18 PM   #14
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D'E & BTI + sticky traps if ya got flyers, gotta be a combo!

been interested in green pesticides for a while. this & similar may be of some interest to you:http://www.nri.org/projects/adappt/docs/63-84.pdf

well worth a read that!
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Cannabis View Post
Hey guys,

I have been battling pests for the first time during this grow, I believe they are fungus gnats. I have been using neem oil with no improvement. When the plants were younger I put a 1/2" layer of sand on the top of the soil on each plant and the bugs were gone within 48 hours. I was experiencing some issues with yellowing at the time, and I wanted to see what your experiences were when adding sand to your soil. The sand is not from the beach, from a local hardware store.

A few questions regaurding the use of sand:

1) What does sand do to the PH of my soil? Since the sand is on the top, the water and nutrients I give them go through the sand first. How does the top layer of sand affect the PH?

2) Should I do anything to the sand before using? It's coming from a huge pile outside the hardware store.

Any other issues or concerns I should be aware of?

Thanks very much,

The Captain

My hort professor had some easy steps to help prevent fungus gnats and other soil-born critters.
1. Pour 2 inches of course sand - course so it cuts the soft bodies of the critters.
2. Finely crush some egg and oyster shells and top dress the soil with them - they act as a sharp defense barrier and also they contain up to 98% calcium carbonate so they are a great slow release source of calcium.
3. Then alwayys ALWAYS let your soil dry out in between waterings. gnats love the top couple inches of soil so you will cook their home. I always make sure that 3 inches of my soil is completely dry in between waterings.


I had a bad bag of SEA SOIL that had a ton of bugs. I used the sand technique to first combat the issue then I removed most of the sand and continued with the shells and the drying out of the soil in between waterings and I haven't had a large infection since.

I don't believe it would change the ph. But if left it has the chance to change your soil structure.

One of the best ways to battle them is to add lots of beneficial bacteria and fungi. There are also lots of beneficial predators like mini wasps the lay their eggs in the larvea etc.
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