The art of gardening extends far beyond simply planting a seed and watching it grow. Gardeners, especially those cultivating cannabis, understand that optimizing a plant’s environment and growth pattern can lead to significantly improved yields. One of the key techniques to maximize the yield of your cannabis plants is “plant training.”
What is Plant Training?
Plant training refers to the manipulation of plant growth to create a more desired shape or structure. This is done to maximize light exposure, improve air circulation, and promote more budding sites, leading to a higher yield. By redirecting the energy of the plant, you can encourage it to produce more buds.
Benefits of Plant Training:
Increased Yields: By exposing more of the plant’s canopy to light and optimizing its structure, you can dramatically increase bud production.
Better Light Penetration: Training ensures that light reaches the lower branches, promoting overall plant health and more even bud growth.
Improved Air Circulation: A well-trained plant allows for better air movement, reducing the risk of mold and pests.
Efficient Use of Space: Especially important for indoor growers with limited space, training can help you make the most out of your growing area.
Control Over Plant Height: This is particularly useful for growers with height restrictions.
Common Plant Training Techniques:
1. Low Stress Training (LST):
Low Stress Training involves gently bending the stems and securing them in place to create a more horizontal canopy. This helps ensure that light penetrates to the lower branches.
Steps for LST:
Gently bend the branches away from the center of the plant.
Use soft ties to secure the branches in their new positions.
Continue to adjust and reposition branches as the plant grows.
2. High Stress Training (HST):
This technique involves more aggressive methods such as cutting or snapping branches, which can cause the plant to undergo a stress recovery period.
Common HST methods include:
Topping: Cutting off the top of the main stem to encourage the growth of two main colas instead of one.
FIMing (F*** I Missed): Similar to topping, but you only remove about 75% of the tip, resulting in multiple new growth sites.
Super Cropping: This involves pinching and bending stems until they’re nearly broken, forcing them to heal in a horizontal position.
3. Screen of Green (SCROG):
In the SCROG method, a screen is placed above the growing medium and the plant is trained to grow horizontally through the screen. This creates a flat canopy that maximizes light exposure.
Steps for SCROG:
- Place a screen 20-25cm above the growing medium.
- As the plant grows, weave the branches into the screen.
- Continue guiding the growth until about 70% of the screen is filled.
4. Sea of Green (SOG):
Instead of focusing on training individual plants, SOG involves growing many small plants close together. This method is ideal for quick harvests and smaller grow spaces.
Steps for SOG:
- Plant many seeds or clones close together.
- Allow them to vegetate for a short period.
- Switch to the flowering stage before they get too large.
Plant training is an invaluable technique for cannabis growers looking to maximize their yields. Whether you’re growing indoors with space restrictions or outdoors and looking to optimize light exposure, training methods can significantly boost your harvest. As with any gardening technique, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for your particular setup and strain. Remember, the goal is a happy, healthy, and high-yielding cannabis plant!