Cannabis Plant Training is vitally important whether you are in a commercial setting or in a grow closet or tent. In fact if you grow in a small space it is even more important because height is usually more limited.
When I first started growing I just let my plants grow any which way. As a newbie I was just happy they grew and made smokable flowers. I did a lot of research on the weed forums back in those days. I did not have any friends that grew so that is where I got my information. Some was good and some not so much.
Although years as commercial vegetable farmer gave me a pretty good background in growing plants in general none of my knowledge was cannabis specific. About all I knew was it was an annual plant and there were males and females and the girls made the flowers. I knew it needed a lot of light and growing it was similar to growing tomatoes.
The first thing I learned was longer veg times made bigger plants that yielded more. Although this is generally true it is not the best way to go for growing in a closet even though I had 8 foot ceilings. But that is how I started and boy howdy with a 2 month veg I grew some large plants, got some good yields and produced some pretty decent bud.
The problem was I got a lot of popcorn buds and larf on the bottoms. I learned to lollipop and that fixed that. But now I had tall plants that had lots of tall, empty stems and my crop was in the top 2 feet of a 5-6 foot plant.
As you can see from the picture below it worked but really things were out of control. Plants were always getting too close to the light. I was running HPS in those days. You cant see the bottom 2 feet from this picture but there was no yield from it, just wasted space.
To me this was not the answer. It made no sense to veg that much and have all that wasted space. I am sure you have seen pictures of commercial grows with beautiful buds on top and the bottom half bare. I knew this was not the answer for me and if you are in a closet or tent it is not the answer for you either. So we need Cannabis plant training techniques that work for smaller grow spaces.
Cannabis Plant Training For Big Farm Yields In Small Spaces
I am going to focus on 3 ways to train your weed for high yields. You also will get top quality buds because these training systems help avoid shading and maximize your light to them. They will also control plant height so plants wont get away from you in stretch.
First we need to understand a few things about our plants. Marijuana plants along with most other plants share a trait called apical dominance. Simply put they are designed to grow upwards and toward the light. This may be fine outside because as the sun moves through the sky it hits them from multiple angles. However in our grow rooms the light comes from directly above so shading becomes a problem.
To grow weed indoors we need to control and tame apical dominance. The tendency to grow upwards is controlled by plant hormones called auxins. Branches on top have higher levels of auxins than those lower down. Generally if we pull a branch down or cut off its top lower branches will get these auxins and try to take over.
Normally a weed plant will grow tall and make a large single cola at the expense of all the buds further down. We dont want this. With proper training we will have more colas. They will be smaller but they will outweigh a large single cola plant. Here are the 3 weed training methods I recommend. I will only give a brief overview of each here but I will be covering them in detail.
SOG OR SEA OF GREEN
SOG is more of a grow system than a cannabis plant training system. In sea of green the idea is to flower many identical young clones as single stem plants. This creates a flat canopy that is even in height and exposes each plants top cola to maximum light. This works best with strains that dont branch much and naturally grow a single main cola.
SCROG OR SCREEN OF GREEN
Growing a SCROG makes use of a screen to train plants horizontally. You keep pulling side branches under the screen until it is almost full and then flower them. You get a flat even canopy with all buds getting great light. It does take a longer veg time but you can fill a 4 x 4 space with a single plant. Works great for sativa or other branch vigorous strains.
MANIFOLDING OR MAINLINING
Manifolding tops a plant above the 3rd node and selects 2 branches to train horizontally. It has a T shape. As the branches grow out they are topped again and the plant will produce flower sites along these branches. It looks like a candelabra. These tops are equal because they come off the plant at the same height. They require more training topping, tying down or LST and possibly super cropping. But they require much less work once flowered. I am doing a 4 arm manifold here but this picture is only day 1.
HERE IS SOME MAC 1 TRAINED TO A MANIFOLD
Here is what manifold training can do for you.
Looks pretty good! I only have 2 plants in this tray. But I have double tops that 10-12 SOG plants would provide. They are evenly spaced and mostly even in height. They will all get great light exposure which is what we are after.
Scrogging Cannabis Plant Training
Scrogging or screen of green is a great way to maximize yield in small spaces. Plants are trained flat on a screen. This means you need a lot less plants to fill your space. It is great for growers who have to work with a plant count. If you do it right all your tops will be pretty even in height which maximizes your lighting. Here is a grow I recently did. I broke my rule and used more than one strain. So one plant really took over. It was a challenge but even still everything did well.
SCROGGING MENDO BREATH APPLE FRITTER PLATINUM CANDY – Aeroponics DIY
Here is a general guide to scrogging https://weedmaps.com/news/2016/08/grow-guide-how-to-scrog-like-a-pro/