Marijuana grows like many other plants do – straight up. Often times, especially in a small growing space such as a tent, it’s necessary to change the the growing pattern. This can be done using low stress training techniques like bending the plant down. Find out how to top and train weed plants like a pro.
Other growers like to get more hard core, and top their plants once, or multiple times, to produce many top kolas instead of one. Some will snap the stem to create a surge of growth hormones.
These tricks may result in increased yield, but that’s a big maybe. It really depends on your environment, and also the genetics of the plant. If you’re looking to get immense yields, they must be used in combination with great feeding, and great weather. Don’t expect a quick topping to suddenly double your yield, as that will not happen.
Removing fan leaves is a big no-no. I’ve heard many of my friends tell me they remove them, but they are actually one of the main sugar producers of the plant. In order to make fat, dense buds, the plant converts the nutrients you give it into sugars. This is often done by the fan leaf, and so removing them tends to reduce yield.
Low Stress Training
One of the easiest ways to control your marijuana is by doing a bit of low stress training. This is a process by which you slowly get the stalk of the plant used to a curved growth trajectory rather than one which goes straight up. This is done by pulling down the main stem, as well as the branches, as you can see in the above pictures.
As you manipulate the plant with the tie downs, the branches will begin to grow differently, adapting to its new circumstances. This will eventually create a more bushy and controlled growth pattern. Also, it will distribute the nugs more evenly along the plant, rather than just having one huge growth, and a bunch of small popcorns.
The easiest way to achieve this is to attach a string or a wire to the plant, and pull down on it. I like to attach the strings to the sides of my plant pots, but you can do it to the grow tent’s frame or whatever else. Try to do this without breaking the stem, or strangling the stalk by tying it too tightly.
Using low stress training, you can make all kinds of growth patterns. The most common one is a S-shape, but some people like to make an L kind of shape, where the stalk just goes completely sideways, and the branches shoot upwards.
If you do break the stem, support it up with some kind of stick, and then try to wrap the breaking point. It will heal back up in due time.
It’s easy to get creative and make this work for you. An alternative to low stress training is pruning, another great way to control height.
For tent growing, cabinet growing, growbox growing, pruning is basically essential. It’s used to keep a plant nice and bushy by removing branches as it grows. This results in the upward growth essentially being stunted, and all the energy instead grows sideways.
This technique is usually started at around week 3-4, and only to be done during veg state. If you mess around with pruning a flowering plant, the same thing will happen – growth will be stunted, but this time, it’s the growth of your buds!
To prune a plant, just cut the branch or stem at a 45 degree angle. For every cut you make, that node at which you cut the plant will develop 2 shoots instead of one. This can be done time and time again down the nodes, to create a very bushy plant.
There are restraints on this depending on the genetics mostly. Some plants will be able to push their new shoots a lot farther than others. Also, just because the shoots double does not mean that the volume of flowers will double. Sometimes it will, sometimes there will just be two smaller kolas instead of a big one.
Pruning - Topping or FIMming
Topping is a great use of pruning, where you theoretically strive to increase the volume of the main kolas. This is done by cutting off the the top of the plant, just above the last branch. When new shoots arise, you will notice that there are two rather than just one.
Theoretically, this could double the mass of your main kola, but that’s not always the case. Make sure that your growing environment is perfect, and that you’re giving really nice nutrients. Check out my page where I talk about FIMing, and how that changes the game by providing 4 off-shoots rather than 2.
Pruning – Keeping Plants Short
To keep plants short with pruning, you need to really go hard. You’re trying to divert all the upwards growth into outward growth. This means pruning off as many branches as you can, waiting for new growth, and then pruning off the other branches.
This will result in a multiplying of off-shoots every time you clip a branch, resulting in intense outward growth, and very limited upward growth. Do this starting week 3, and then do it again in perhaps the 5th week.
A quick warning, don’t cut off too many branches, as the plant does have a certain threshold of pain. If you cut off more than around half of the branches, there is a decent chance of the plant dying, or at least having an extreme shock. This will not be good for yields, as it may take new growth a longer time to come in.