Cannabis Plant Training: A guide to help improve your cannabis grow

Outdoor marijuana growers can let their plants grow as nature intended. But indoor marijuana growers may need to resort to cannabis plant training for various reasons, such as to keep a tall plant to a more reasonable height. Or they may choose to do so to optimize their yield.  Here are 8 cannabis plant training techniques you can use to get the best from your marijuana.

Important: The first four cannabis plant training techniques are suitable for use on autoflowering plants.  The second four should be kept for photoperiod strains only.

Beginners Cannabis Plant Training

This isn’t an official technique but if it’s your first grow and you’re nervous about cannabis plant training, then it’s a great way to get started. It will help to increase your marijuana yield.  All you do is bend the main stem to a right angle (90 degrees) while the plant is still young.  Secure it with a plant tie until it holds its shape. Watch your plant develop lots of extra colas as the other branches have space to grow up.

Low stress training

cannabis-plant-training-pineapple-kush Pineapple Kush

This is basically the next step up in cannabis plant training and it’s worth learning as it can really increase your yield.  It’s much the same idea as the previous technique. But this time instead of just bending the main stem, you bend all the branches away from the middle of the plant as it grows. So instead of turning into a Christmas tree, it develops more of a rectangular shape.  This makes it much easier for the grow lights to reach all the different parts of the plant. It also decreases your chances of mould.

Supercropping

Supercropping is a bit more difficult to master, but if you’ve set your heart on growing Sativas then it’s a handy skill to know.  The key to supercropping is to choose stems which are still on the greener side. Rather than ones which are basically wood.  Then you want to loosen up the inner tissue by holding the stem firmly and wriggling it between your fingers.  Once you have damaged the inside enough to make the stem pliable, then bend it. Again the basic idea is to create a flat, rectangle shape.  Supercropping is a great way not just to lower the height of plants but to promote even growth. Rather than having one or two stems which just shoot up way ahead of the others.  Even though the idea of supercropping is that you bend the stem without damaging the outer skin of the plant, if you do wind up delivering a cut don’t panic.  Secure it with duct tape and leave it.  The chances are your plant will repair itself nicely.

Screen of Green

The Screen of Green system is actually really simple in both theory and practice. It just means you have to buy an extra piece of equipment, namely a mesh screen.  You train your plant to put its stems through the holes in the mesh as it grows . This results in a  flat shape which makes it easy for the grow lights to do their work. And you also get support for your buds as they mature.

The following techniques should not be used on autoflowering plants.

cannabis-plant-training-toppingTopping and FIMing

Topping and FIMing both have the same basic idea, namely to encourage the plant to grow several colas instead of just one, main cola. They achieve it in different ways.  With topping, the top of the plant’s main stem is completely removed when it is a seedling. With FIMing, it is only shaved.  Although FIMing is, technically, the better option since it is less stress for the plant, in practice, unless you get it absolutely right, it is more likely to fail.

Manifolding

Manifolding is essentially a variation on topping and the difference is that you top the plant twice. So that it forms a sort of candelabra shape.  The advantage of manifolding is that it can supercharge your yield. As buds will grow bigger and longer as well as more uniformly.  The disadvantages of manifolding is that if you get it wrong, it can really damage your plant. But if you get it right, you can still expect it to add significantly to your grow time. As in at least one week, maybe up to two.

Defoliation

cannabis-plant-training-defoliationDefoliation is another “handle-with-care” strategy.  The basic idea is simple enough, you remove the fan leaves to give the growing buds the maximum exposure to light.  The key is to do this at the right time and to the right degree.  You only defoliate right before the switch to the flowering stage. And once or twice during the flowering stretch period, when the plant is undergoing its most rapid growth.  During this period, you only remove the fan leaves which are blocking the buds, from receiving the full benefit of the grow lights.  Once this is done, you leave it until harvest time. Only remove more fan leaves before harvest if there is a compelling reason for doing so. Just before harvest you can then start removing the fan leaves as part of the trimming process.

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