Plant Training: A-Grade's Four Mains Technique
To reduce unwanted energy flowing through to unwanted branches and stems which in turn redistributes to the remaining flowering sites. Don’t be fooled into thinking the four main branches technique is going to produce insufficient yield, the lateral branching that develops in the first 3 weeks of switching the photoperiod from growth to flowering is staggering.
The four main branches, in most cases develop 8-12 new main branches that grow off the main four if spreading them during early flower has been done correctly, depending on variety the most I’ve ever achieved with this technique is 16.
This brings us to the next important part of this technique, the early training and spreading of specific branches. The training must be performed within or before the first 2-3 weeks of flowering or if you leave it too late, you’ll have a very pretty looking plant but the yield will likely not reach its genetic potential. Spreading branches and tying them down is not hard at all takes very little time, just a few minutes each day for 1-2 weeks and you'll reap the benefits.
Branch spreading lets in more light which will help facilitate growth under the top canopy. You can achieve this different ways; whether you have tied off your branches and fixed into place, adjusting tension daily by employing the LST method using tools like Quick-Stix to hold down your branches, doesn’t matter which way you do it, it’s just got to be done.
So pick your tools and method to force your branches to spread out and grow laterally, rather than vertically.
Setting up four main branches
Follow these steps:
Grow the seedling or clone until it has developed 6 internodes, similar to how mainlining starts off.
1) Cut the plant back to the 3rd internode, usually leaving a 2-3cm piece of stem in place above the cut, this helps with recovery and in most times prevents infection from affecting any new growth.
2) Remove the lowest set of internodes, in most cases these will be symmetrical (seedling) if your plant is asymmetrical (clone) in growth remove the 2 lowest nodes.
3) There will be four branches remaining, these now need to be pruned lightly and tied down, these will grow to be your four main branches.
4) Prune the first set of opposing internodes on each of the four main branches you have left.
5) Once tied down, wait for the growth tips to turn upward then switch photoperiod when ready if there is no apparent shock or stress.
6) Gradually spread branches apart as the plant grows during the next 3 weeks, and that’s it!
Good luck and happy harvesting!