Although you can grow weed plants wild and free, you may find that a little training can dramatically increase your yield or help control the size and shape off your plant. The main method that are used are low stress training (LST) and high stress training (HST). The latter causes physical damage to the plant to get the desired results, so only use it during the vegetative stage, when there is time to recover. For the same reason, this method is not recommended for auto flowering strains.
How it works
Cannabis plants contains hormones called auxins that cause the growth of buds. These auxins are most concentrated at the top of the main bud. As well as promoting bud growth, the auxins also inhibit bud growth elsewhere on the plant. Removing the apical bud halts the inhibiting effect, increasing auxin levels elsewhere, resulting in multiple new apical buds.
High stress training (HST) techniques
This is used to increase yield and decrease height. This whole apical bud (or more off the plant) is cut away at a 45 degree angle, causing the two side shoots below to become new apical buds. Topping can be repeated on the new growth, resulting in the development of even more bud sites.
The FIM (F**k i missed)Method:
Was created by a grower who tried to top a plant, missed, and only removed part of the apical bud. This resulted in several new bud sites rather then the two achieved by topping. For this method use sharp scissors and cut about 80 percent from the apical bud. This can be repeated on any new growth.
This method is when you miss the cut line as shown above and only snipping part off the top leaning a gap to where the topping line should be. This is a lot more effective and can get repeated throughout the growth off the plant just be careful not to do it too early.
Pinching with FIMing gives you the same results but just doesn’t give the plant as much shock to do this you just pinch the new growth where you would normally snip the FIM line what this would do is create the same divide and growth of new branches.
For this method off training, lower leaves and side shoots are removed. This does not increase the total yield but it will increase the size of your main buds, eliminate “popcorn” (the scraggly ends)
This involves squeezing and bending the stem into a 90 degree angle, applying enough pressure that you feel a slight cracking in the stem and can fold it over like a kinked hose. This can be repeated on other suitable branches. Over time the bend will heal and the plant will produce auxins in other areas that are exposed to lots of light, resulting in bushy, bud smothered plants.
Low Stress Training (LST) Techniques:
Bending and tying
Here plants are trained to grow horizontally by bending and tying them down using wire or string. Anytime the plant is tied down it will grow back towards the light, so regular bending and tying are needed. Like super cropping, this spreads auxin production along the stem, resulting in more bud sites.
Screen Of Green (SCROG):
This is similar to bending and tying, but the plant is grown beneath a wire screen. As the plant grows, it is bent down and tied to the screen, resulting in a dense, shallow, canopy of buds. SCROG is usually combined with lollipopping and topping/FIMing
Sea Of Green
The Sea of Green method reached Holland from Seattle, Washington in May of 1985. It was carried there by Northern Lights Greg
This is also another popular technique that can be confused with the above. Th is involves having 4 or more plants that can be in vegetative stage for a minimum off two weeks veg stage before flipping the 12/12 and starting bloom, this method is aimed more towards the growers who have a lack off room and want to make the most out off it by growing at a much faster pace you may be producing around 0.5-2 ounces per plant depending on the environment but it is worth it as you can see a turn around off harvest within 60 days. SOG systems generally work better with indica varieties because of their short stature and single primary cola. Sativas can work, but they are typically too “leggy” for the SOG system to work well. Best is to top sativa strains a few days before changing the light cycle to 12/12.
Advantages off Sea Of Green
- Big yields in a small growing area
- Faster vegging and flowering times, which means faster harvests
- More efficient use of lighting & space
- These grows are great sources for clippings and future clones
Disadvantages off Sea Of Green
- Larger amounts of plants can cause serious legal issues
- Can only use cuttings or has to be a strain known for it
- Requires strong lights
When starting sea off green use vegetative stage on 18 hours off light and 6 hours dark. It possible to increase this to 20/4 or 22/2 a lot off growers like to use these timings as it gives the plants a little more time to stretch. With sog use can stay on this stage for as little as 3 days but I wouldn’t recommend as you won’t get as much yield and it’s hard to pull off first time. Also consider your space as you will have to be using a lot more plants in this
The aim is to fill your space once moved to a 12/12 schedule where these plants will stay short and produce a even canopy. By gathering the plants and making your space is compacted restricts side branching as will focus all its energy in growing upwards towards the lights.
As you can see training is a very simple thing to do and the results speak for themselves if you haven’t trained any plants before i wouldn’t recommend diving straight into super cropping for example as its more off a riskier technique and you can stunt your plants quite easilly by the smallest mistake and pay the consequences throughout the grow as sometimes it can also effect the final yield.