The importance of proper training techniques in cannabis cultivation cannot be overstated. Training increases bud yields, reduces pest risk and improves overall plant quality and structure.
Many growers are turning to training methods like topping, FIMing and main-lining to manipulate cannabis plants into growing more evenly spaced bud sites beneath the grow lights. The result is a much more flat canopy under the lights, which helps maximize light exposure and yields.
Cannabis cultivation is all about getting the most out of each plant, which means implementing several training techniques. These allow growers to encourage dense, even canopy formation; facilitate large, compact cola production; increase nutrient uptake; deter bacterial spread; and shorten flowering time for an early harvest.
Choosing the right training technique depends on your specific goals. If you want to produce larger colas, then you might consider using the screen of green (SCRoG) training method. This involves tucking new growth under a metal or plastic screen that is attached to the base of the plant’s canopy.
This technique is particularly useful when cultivating small autoflowering varieties, as it allows you to distribute light more evenly across the growing space. It is also an excellent choice for growers who are working with limited space and want to make the most of their growing area.
The best time to train a plant is when it is young and still in the vegetative stage. This is the ideal time to redirect the plant’s energy from multiple growth sites to a few, as this is when it will be producing buds.
Another important time to train a plant is when it’s nearing the end of its flowering period. This is because it can be easy to break branches under strong winds during the final weeks of flowering if the plants aren’t properly staked or trained.
Indoor growers often use the low stress training (LST) method to prevent their plants from breaking branches. This technique uses gentle bending, tying down, and staking of the plant’s lower lateral branches that have sprouted at the base of the main stem after topping.
LST works well in both outdoor and indoor cultivation as it can stop branches from bending or breaking under the weight of buds. It also reduces the risk of bud breakage under strong winds.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced grower, it’s crucial to learn about the different types of training techniques available. Once you understand the benefits of each, it’s easy to select one that will best suit your needs.
High Stress Training
Cannabis plants are subjected to a wide variety of training techniques that can improve their performance and increase yields. Encouraging a dense, even canopy; encouraging large, compact cola production; reducing flowering time to make an early harvest; and increasing overall yield are some of the many reasons growers train their plants.
Most growers prefer low stress training to achieve optimal results in their crops, but high stress training also has its place. It can be applied to both indoor and outdoor cannabis crops.
The two most common types of high stress training are topping and fimming. Both utilize strategically executed cuts during the vegetative stage to promote lateral bud formation. Topping involves removing the growing tip of the plant and replacing it with two side branches. The fimming technique, on the other hand, replaces the apex with three or more branches.
When applied correctly, these techniques can increase the number of lateral buds on a plant, resulting in higher yields of quality buds with relatively high THC levels. However, not all marijuana strains respond well to these techniques, so it’s important to carefully research and apply them only on strong, healthy plants.
It is also possible to overdo the amount of high stress training that a cannabis plant receives, which can have negative consequences. A plant that has been over-trained may exhibit stunted growth, androgens, or a high incidence of broken stems.
Another common high stress technique is super cropping, which involves pinching an area of a plant’s stem and tying it down to boost nearby bud production. As the tying process weakens the stem, it sends more energy to that area to heal, boosting nearby bud production and yield.
Using duct tape to assist in the healing process can also be useful, as this can reduce the stress on the damaged tissue. It is essential to follow a good training routine and monitor a plant’s response to the technique. Otherwise, high stress training can cause severe damage and negatively impact a plant’s health and yield.
Low Stress Training
Whether you’re growing cannabis indoors or outdoors, proper training techniques can boost your yield significantly. In fact, growers who use low stress training methods may see their crop increase by 50% ++ when the technique is done well.
LST (low stress training) is a great way to maximize the amount of light that can reach lower branches and buds, resulting in a much more even canopy and superior yields. This technique is a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation.
It works by bending and tying down unruly stems to create a more uniform structure that opens the plant up to more light, increasing the yield from each branch. It’s also easy to do, and it won’t damage your plants.
However, it’s important to note that this method is best utilized before your cannabis plants enter the flowering phase. This is because the extra stress they’re exposed to can cause them to be weaker and less able to recover from it before blooming begins.
This is why it’s important to begin low stress training as soon as your seedlings are a few weeks old. It’s not a good idea to wait too long, as the stems and shoots that you’re trying to bend might become too stiff and difficult to do without breaking them.
A good place to start is at the base of your plant, where there are several robust nodes. Depending on your climate, this can be around six to eight nodes.
Next, simply start bending down the tallest stems and tying them down as soon as they get too tall, making sure to bend all of them at the same level and secure them with a twisty tie or similar device. Repeat this process until all of the branches in your grow are about the same height and distance from the light source.
The key to this process is using soft, ‘rubber coated’ garden wire that won’t scratch or cut into your plant as it tries to push its way back into an upright growth pattern. This can be a bit of a pain to do at first, but you’ll have plenty of practice and the results will be worth it in the end.
Defoliation is the process of removing leaves from plants for pruning, and many cannabis growers use it to increase yields. It is backed by research that shows older plant leaves take up more water, light and other nutrients than newer leaves.
Some cannabis growers will also defoliate during the flowering stage to expose buds for maximum potency. In this case, removing leaves will allow more air circulation throughout the grow room and improve light penetration into buds.
The amount of defoliation should be determined by growers depending on their experience and the plant being grown. It is generally recommended that a small, consistent amount of defoliation should be applied. This is especially important in the flowering stage when growers want to ensure that all their main buds are exposed.
It is important to note that too much defoliation can lead to nutrient stress, which will ultimately reduce the plant’s health and production potential. In addition, removing too many leaves can interrupt efficient transpiration. This can result in excess nutes building up in the root zone, which could cause cooking or nutrient lockout.
To achieve optimal defoliation, growers should be mindful of their current grow conditions and temperatures. In general, applications should be made on warm and sunny days. During extended periods of cloudiness or cool temperatures, application rates should be increased accordingly.
Ideally, defoliation should be carried out at least a week before the beginning of flowering. It is often best to do it a second time about three or four weeks into the flowering stage. This will help prevent a buildup of leaves that will block the buds from receiving sunlight and will make it easier to determine how many leaves should be removed at any given time.
In determining how much to defoliate, it is essential to consider a few factors including the size of the plant, its level of shading caused by the canopy of leaves, air circulation and light power/penetration. It is a case of trial and error to find a balance that allows the plant to thrive while still allowing for optimal harvests.