Heat Treatment for Cannabis Growers

The cannabis industry is booming, there’s no doubt about that. In the U.S. alone, it’s expected to surpass $30 billion in 2022.

At the end of this year, Missouri will vote for the legalization of recreational marijuana for those 21 and older, joining an ever growing list of states including Colorado, Illinois, and Arizona. The Missouri amendment also opens up opportunities for cultivation.

Many growers have already experienced some hurdles in maintaining the quality of their soil, and the overall cleanliness of their growing facilities. With new opportunities on the horizon, it’s crucial to be educated with the best methods with which to treat aka sterilize your soil. 

At Thermal Flow, we’re particularly fond of heat treatment to kill plant pathogens and other pests that may damage or outright wipe out your crops.

Effective Temperatures for Soil Sterilization

The term “sterilization” with regards to soil treatment isn’t the most accurate. True sterilization would kill all organisms within the soil, including the beneficial ones. Think of it more like pasteurization, i.e. milk and yogurt. 

After the heat treatment, you may also need to reintroduce some of the good microorganisms to best benefit the biological process of the soil and nutrient distribution. This will depend on the duration and temperature of the heat treatment. 

Just like our processes for bed bug remediation, the key for soil treatment is focused on target temperature and treatment time.

Moist soil (30 min treatment time) Organisms killed
120F (49C) watermolds (oomycetes)
145F (63C) most plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and viruses, worms, slugs, centipedes
160F (71C) plant pathogenic bacteria, soil insects
180F (82C) weed seeds
212F (100C) heat resistant plant viruses and weed seeds

Table data via Phytosphere

For most applications, utilizing electric or gas heaters will work, given the volume of the space. For smaller areas, electric heaters such as the 400 package are ideal for most pathogenic fungi and critters such as spider mites.

If you need to apply higher temps across larger areas though, propane heaters are the way to go. The 250,000 BTU Propane Heater can achieve higher temps for longer periods of time, while also maintaining temperature for spaces larger than 400 sq ft. 

As mentioned above, be alert when dealing with these higher temperatures, as anything above 212F/100C can destroy all organisms, including beneficial ones. Always refer to the data for temp according to the culprit you’re looking to eradicate, and do not heat for longer than 30 minutes at a time.

Maintain Clean, Healthy Soil for Cannabis Cultivatio

Now with your soil properly treated and primed, what’s to stop mold and critters from taking over the crop again? 

The vast majority of legally grown cannabis has very strict regulations during its sprouting, maturation, and harvest periods. Even more so for medical marjuanna, which is almost exclusively grown in controlled environment rooms. 

These grow rooms are essential for maintaining the same conditions and temperatures throughout the course of the plant’s growth cycle. Achieving these standards is made possible with sophisticated air control systems, and are sometimes aided by air scrubbers and movers

Outfitted with similar HEPA filters as the controlled environment rooms themselves, air scrubbers, such as the X-2480A 5-Speed Mini, achieve professional grade air purification in a compact design. 

Moisture and temperature control are critical in keeping your soil healthy. Naturally, those conditions that plants such as cannabis thrive on are ripe for mold and critter breeding. With effective heat treatment of the soil, and continued air filtration and purification, cannabis growers see more plentiful and higher quality yields. 

Heat treatment is beneficial across a wide array of applications. Thermal Flow is proud to provide heaters, air movers and scrubbers, and other climate control equipment for the cannabis growing industry. 

If you have any questions about our equipment before making the purchase, be sure to chat with our team of experts today.