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Centuries ago, people in Egypt found a way to increase the production of a fig trees. And ever since, people all over the world have been learning and developing new techniques to increase a plant’s production.
In this post, I am going to tell you everything I know about Low Stress Training marijuana plants. By the end of the post, I promise you will be able to start your own LST training on your weed plants.
What is Low Stress Training LST plant training?
Low Stress Training is a type of training for marijuana plants that can give you numerous benefits in a single growing season. With Cannabis LST, you can manipulate how to plants grows and what shape and height it reaches.
LST for cannabis will not stun your plants’ growth in any way. The plant will be shocked for only a few hours and will bounce back very quickly. There is nothing to lose n carrying out LST on your cannabis plants.
What is High Stress Training HST for cannabis?
High Stress Training includes forceful methods by which a grower can change the vigor, canopy, and overall structure of the cannabis plant by removing and cutting parts of a plant. HST methods are very stressful on your plants. They will need a few days to recovers from the shock.
The result of shocking and stressing out your plants will be evident when you see that your plant has recovered even stronger than before. HST will also increase the growth hormone in plants.
There is a big drawback to HST training. If you are not careful, then you can do more harm than good using HST.
LST vs. HST – Benefits
First, I am going to show you the benefits of carrying out Low Stress Training on your Cannabis plants.
Sometimes, the marijuana plants can grow larger on one side than the other. By training your plants, you can actually manage the overall shape and size of a cannabis plant easily.
When you start LST training your plants, you will surely see an impressive increase in the yields. This is because the plant is going to get more light, and hence more fuel to make buds.
Decrease the space needed
The first problem every grower faces when they grow marijuana indoors is the space. Using the LST method, you can train your plant to go in any direction you want and fill the gaps between rows and columns of plants. Trust me, you are going to save a lot of space doing so.
If you are using a Smart Grow Box for growing cannabis at home, then carrying out LST will hugely help you to fit the growing plant inside the grow box.
The buds are also going to grow denser when you use LST for cannabis. When you grow marijuana traditionally, you might notice the buds on the lower branches are often smaller and less dense than the top ones.
The reason for that is the light cannot reach the lower branches properly, resulting in the uneven size of buds. But with LST, the light is evenly distributed on every level of the plant, so you will see that the overall density of the buds will increase.
Even light distribution
When you grow autoflowering strains, you will notice that they grow very bushy, and because of that, light cannot reach every branch. But with LST, you can spread out the plant in all directions and make way for light to reach everywhere evenly.
- Super cropping your cannabis plant will make sure that your plant grows stronger, thicker branches.
- HST method can give you more budding sites and denser buds compared to the untrained plant.
- HST will increase the THC and CBD content in your marijuana flowers.
- Using HST methods will give you an overall greater yield and potency.
- Carrying out High stress training on your indoor cannabis plants will help you manage your vertical growing space in a more efficient way.
- Wounding the plant results in the production of more growth repair hormones. This will help the plant to grow robust and vigorous.
Different types of cannabis training techniques using Low Stress step-by-step growing method.
The types of LST methods available vary widely from person to person. There is no single procedure to carry it out. Depending upon the person, they can either spread it out sideways, spiral the plant branches or grow them out like a Christmas tree. There can be a combination of ideas as well.
LST is more of an art than science.
There are other ways to train your plants as well, which I am going to talk about in upcoming sections.
In this method, you are going to tie down the branches to get a higher yield. Let me explain this process in detail.
When the plant has grown 3 or 4 nodes (here, a node means a growth site with opposite leaves on it), you can be sure that it is ready for LST training. Take the primary branch, bend it a little towards the ground, and tie it down with whatever tool you have chosen. You can make holes in the pot to tie down the branches.
Make sure the tie material is soft so it does not damage the branch in any way. Once you have tied the branch down, it will slowly grow and turn towards the light.
Once it has grown beyond your last tying point, then tie down the newer part of the branch and let it grow. Keep securing the secondary branches of the marijuana plant regularly as they grow.
Make sure you start tying only when a new set of leaves have grown on the said branch. You have to continue the process until the plant reaches the flowering stage.
Once the plant has reached the flowering stage, it can grow very quickly in just one or two weeks. Therefore, for the first two weeks, I would advise you to keep an eye on your plant growth and tie-down branches as needed.
If you notice that a branch is growing faster than the others, then keep anchoring down that branch, so it does not interfere with our even canopy requirement. We need plants to be spread out and short, instead of bunched up and tall.
Remember, our goal here is to keep all the branches away from each other and create an even canopy to get them uniform light. If every budding site receives good lighting, you will get an overall increase in yield amount.
The screen of Green (SCROG) Method
SCROG is one of the most widely used LST methods all over the world. You might have already heard or read this word on marijuana forums or on Reddit.
If you are a complete beginner, then using SCROG is one of the best places to start. This method does not require any skills or prior knowledge. I’ll explain it in simple terms.
Generally, when the marijuana plant grows tall, the branches tend to stick together in a jumbled-up formation. This results in low light penetration in the lower part of the plant.
Autoflowering strains are not suitable for the SCROG method as their vegetative periods are very short. You can use SCROG in all the strains, which tend to grow taller quickly.
You won’t even need many tools to carry out this method. Just buying a net will suffice.
The main goal of this method is to separate the branches sideways instead of upwards. As you can see in the photo above, you need to hang the net above your plant and let it grow through it.
As the marijuana plant grows, direct different branches through different holes in the net. The net will keep the branches from sticking together and make room for light to penetrate the lower part of the plant.
Different types of cannabis High Stress Training techniques.
Topping is used widely to increase the number of cannabis flowers on a plant. HST Topping is not hard to carry out. In fact, even complete beginners can start using this HST method on their plants after a little guidance.
The basic principle of topping is to cut down a branch so two more can grow in its place. In marijuana plants, topping is done by cutting off the top of the main branch. When you cut the main branch, the lower branches get a chance to grow and take over the growing process.
The spot where the main branch was cut will grow two separate branches now. So, you will get two main colas now.
Now the plant will focus on growing two main colas instead of just one. This will increase the plant laterally and will give it a bushier look.
You can not only cut the main branch, but you can also use the same technique for all the branches of the cannabis plant.
At the end of the harvest season, you will see that the buds that have grown on the branches after topping are going to be a bit smaller in size than an untrained plant. But, the overall weight of the buds and the yield is surely going to increase.
Another benefit of topping a cannabis plant is that doing so will give you a wider plant. And wider plants have better light penetration than taller ones.
People also carry out topping to keep the height of the plant in check. Generally, indoor growers do not have a lot of vertical height to accommodate their plants. So, cutting off the main branch will slow down the plant’s vertical growth while giving you better yields.
The best time to start topping would be after your plant has grown 4+ excellent healthy nodes and a good root system. Topping young plants may lead to plants death or it turning a hermaphrodite.
HST Fimming was originally developed when growers made mistakes in the topping method. Fimming is very similar to topping, but this method will shock the plant ever more than topping. However, the results are also much better when done correctly.
You should start fimming after your plant has developed 3 or 4 healthy nodes. The way to carry out this process is the same as topping, but the only difference is that you are going to cut the plant a bit higher than you would do with topping.
Make a cut just above the node, where the growth tip of the plant is. Cut about 80% of the growing tip. When you cut it perfectly, you will see that instead of growing back two branches (as in topping), fimming will actually make your cannabis plant grow four main colas.
You can carry on doing this in other branches that you want to spread out. But remember, wait for the plant to come out of shock after cutting again. Fimming will require a longer vegetative period, so keep that in mind.
This technique will give you four different main branches that will grow sideways. Plus, it will even force the plant to grow more lower branches as well. Therefore, overall, you are going to get a huge benefit in terms of yields.
Super Cropping Method
Super cropping is one of the most damaging high stress training methods that you can carry out on a marijuana plant.
As weird as it may sound, you are actually going to damage and hurt the plant in order to get it to grow stronger.
When the plants grow on their own in the wild, sometimes they are damaged and bruised. To protect themselves, plants deploy a counter-response when damaged and grow out even stronger than before. When plants are in danger, they kick up their production levels of growth hormones and cannabinoids for their own safety.
People use this response to get their marijuana plants bushier and increase their yields. Super cropping can also increase the THC content of your buds.
Super cropping is started by choosing the branches that you want to train. If you have only one main cola, then select the point towards the top of the branch.
Make sure you select a place where the branch is green and bendable. Hard woody branches will snap and create problems for you. So, pliable green branches are best for super cropping.
If you have more than one cola, then make sure the selection points are on the same vertical height on all the branches.
Once you have decided on the points to perform HST, you are going to grab the branch and bend it. Press the branch between the thumb and the first finger.
Remember, we are not trying to break the branch. We are just pinching it so that it bends without damaging the outer layer of the branch. Wiggling the branch very slowly helps in softening the internal material.
Once the branch is bent, use something to anchor it wherever you want.
If you end up breaking the outer tissue of the branch, then quickly use tape to joint it back to normal. Most of the time, the branch will fix itself.
The way to know if you did super cropping correctly is to observe the branch when you leave it. The branch should rest at a 90-degree angle on its own.
It may seem like the branch is dead, but it will grow back the next day while forming a hardwood knuckle at the joint your bent. If you do not secure the bent cola, it will go back to its original position the next day. So, keep anchoring the branches after bending them.
Now you might be thinking, what is the benefit of super cropping?
When the branch is bent, the plant reduces the growing effort on that point and focuses more on other branches. So, you will start to notice other branches growing rapidly after super cropping one of the colas.
Plus, the hardwood knuckle that forms on the joint will transport water and other nutrients faster when compared to a normal untrained cola.
Carrying out super cropping will give you more buds, higher yields, and better space management.
Bonus: Mainlining – Cannabis Training Method
Mainlining is somewhat a hybrid version of the training methods mentioned above. During mainlining, the growers tend to focus on growing multiple primary branches instead of just one or two.
The biggest jumps in yield amounts can be seen in marijuana plants that have undergone mainlining training. The benefits of mainlining are:
- There is a substantial increase in buds production
- Very easy to carry out
- You just have to do it only once or sometimes twice
- Growing several marijuana plants in a small space is possible with mainlining
- You have total control over plant stretching
- The canopy size increases
You are not going to need any kind of equipment for mainlining. You have to wait until your cannabis plant has grown about 6 to 8 healthy nodes.
Next, you have to cut the plant leaving only three nodes from the bottom. Plus, you have to remove every leaf and growth under the 3rd node.
Now, you have a plant with one main branch and just two side colas making the Y shape. The next step is to tie down these two side branches parallel to the ground. Keep them anchored and let them grow horizontally.
The plant will divide all of its nutrients and growth hormones into these two side branches.
Your plant will slowly grow new leaves on each of the branches. Now you have to carry out the same process you did before and cut down everything above the 3rd node on these new side branches.
But keep in mind that this time we are not cutting everything below the 3rd node this time. Instead, just remove the growth on the second node and leave the first node as it is.
If you did everything as I said, you should have one main cola, two secondary colas, and eight tertiary branches on your plant (4 on either side). Keep in mind that you need to tie down all the new branches and keep them parallel to the ground.
Everything on the plant should be on roughly the same height. Now you just have to carry on daily chores of watering and providing everything your plant needs.
Congratulations, you now have a plant with eight dense branches. These branches will grow a higher number of buds on them, and you will get an overall increase in your yield.
Mixing HST and LST methods
Before I tell you more about using different techniques on a single plant, I want to warn you about the problems you could face. If you are not well trained, then you should not mix HST and LST methods on the same plant. If you make a mistake, you will risk killing your cannabis plant.
The benefits of combining LST and HST
- When you combine High Stress Training with Low Stress Training on the same plant in the same harvest season, you stand a chance to maximize the yields of your plant.
- You are not only going to get a higher amount of harvest, but the quality and potency of the buds is also going to up. A combination of these two training methods will force the plant to grow new budding sites and give you a higher number of flowers.
- Another big advantage of mixing HST and LST is that you can totally control the way your plant grows. You will be able to mould your plant in any way you like.
- People who are trying to grow sativa strains indoors are going to benefit a lot by mixing these techniques. As sativa plants are massive in size, using these two methods simultaneously will help you manage the huge size of the plant when growing indoors.
When you are training your plant, make sure you only start the process after your cannabis plant has grown 4 or 5 nodes. You don’t want lower or higher nodes than this because younger plants won’t survive the shock, and older ones would have already lost the time gap to maximize the growth. Don’t worry if you have missed this 4 to 5 nodes window. As they say, better late than never, right?
When you make cuts, remember to keep a little bit of the old branch left out as it will act as a V branch and keep all the newer branches together until they have grown independent.
Always take a closer look at the branches when you are bending them. You should bend the newer branches only as they are very flexible and soft. The older and harder ones might not sustain the bending and snap in two.
However, if you mistakenly break a branch while bending, don’t worry. Simply use a sticking tape and join them together, just like when you get a cast on your fractured bone. They will almost always heal themselves very quickly.
Ties should always be tied down away from the branches. We don’t want the ties to keep scraping the branches in any way. Use more than one tie if necessary to keep things properly tied down. Also, keep in mind that you might have to remove the ties as the plant grows, so place them wisely.
When using HST methods, make sure you use sterile and clean equipment for cutting. Wash your hands as well.
Give enough time to your plants to recover from a wounding shock. The branch which was wounded will grow out strong and would have a wooden knuckle over it. This is an indication that the branch has recovered completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main reason you are going to get an increase in yields is because when you carry out LST training on your marijuana plants, the number of budding sites increases, and hence you get more flowers.
Generally, indoor growers are after a wider and shorter plant with more “main” branches so they can increase the area where the flowers are going to grow. Therefore, training your plant to be shorter and wider is the way to go.
Another reason for the increase in yields is that when you spread out the branches, the light can evenly fall on every main branch of the plant. This results in better bud production.
No. It is too late now. Once the marijuana plant goes into the flowering stage, its structure is fully developed, and there is no scope for LST.
You should not disturb the plant in any way when the flowers are blooming. We don’t want to cause any disturbance to the THC formation inside the buds.
However, if you have been carrying out LST from the beginning, then you can continue to do it even after the flowers have sprouted. This is permitted as you will still be able to control the canopy and light penetration.
Yes, you can surely use the LST for your autoflowering strains. One thing to be very careful when using LST on these kinds of strains is that if you do the topping wrong (if you carry out the topping technique), the plant is not going to have enough time before flowering to recover. (Note: autoflowering strains go faster in just 2 to 3 months)
So, I suggest you totally skip the topping procedure when doing LST on autoflowering strains unless you know what you are doing.
I have seen several posts about people keeping their plants in total darkness before harvesting the buds. As per their reports, when the plant is kept in total darkness, it feels that it is going to die and quickly releases all of the THC resin in the system.
Therefore, when the grower harvests the buds, he will have the maximum amount of THC on the buds.
- 1 What is Low Stress Training LST plant training?
- 2 What is High Stress Training HST for cannabis?
- 3 LST vs. HST – Benefits
- 4 Different types of cannabis training techniques using Low Stress step-by-step growing method.
- 5 Different types of cannabis High Stress Training techniques.
- 6 Bonus: Mainlining – Cannabis Training Method
- 7 Mixing HST and LST methods
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions