Plant Training: SuperCropping
It is no secret that training plants is the best way to stimulate growth and increase yield.
BENEFITS OF SUPER CROPPING
- Yield & bud density
- Huge increases in flowering sites
- Tighter inter-nodal spacing
- Better canopy management
- Stem and branch strength
- Can increase overall yields
SuperCropping can come in handy if you have grown your plant a little too long in a vegetive state. Most short day plants can stretch quite a bit when the nights are longer than day, this is also what triggers them to flower as the day is now shorter causing the phytochrome to degrade and flood the plant with flowering hormones.
SuperCropping is a technique used to stem the flow of auxin and gibberellin, if this technique is applied at the end of the first week of flower the result will be less bolting/stretching.
Within a day, a SuperCropped stem can recover, if your variety of plant stretches until week 3 or later in flowering phase, it might be wise to SuperCrop once a week to prevent the canopy rising up too much. Having a level canopy is the desired result when SuperCropping regardless of whether you have a SCROG net or trellis.
This technique can be used in both of the vegetative and flowering phases of the plant, more commonly the technique is being used in flower for those with height restrictions or wanting to increase the fruit set on a strain that doesn’t produce as well. By doing this the lower branches will catch up to the main shoot helping maintain a consistent and level canopy. Maintaining a level canopy can result in increases in overall yield by allowing sufficient energy to all flowering sites for optimal yields, which previously would have been shadowed out by being hidden in the second/under canopy.
The best time to commence SuperCropping, is roughly 7-10 days into your plant's flowering phase, roughly when the branches of the plant commence their ‘stretch’ phase. This time length is indicative of a strain that would be fully mature in 8-10 weeks. For longer flowering varieties the stretch or translocation period can take up to 3 and a half weeks, for these varieties I’d encourage a weekly SuperCrop maintenance.
HOW TO PERFORM AN A-GRADE SUPERCROP
The technique is quite simple, with the branch you wish to SuperCrop you essentially find the first available bend location (usually 2-3 nodes down from the tip of the branch) crush the stem flat between your fingers and thumb, then carefully fold and bend the stem over to now face downwards. The trick is to avoid breaking or severing the skin of the stem you have crushed, as to make sure it holds the branch together still, allowing it to heal back stronger. If you break too much of the outer skin layer of the branch, the plant may not be able to recover.
First, select branches you wish to SuperCrop – find specific point on all branches to create some form of symmetry.
For the purpose of the tutorial, look at your little finger. The point in which the Super Crop is to be applied will be the space between both knuckles, on a plant the knuckles would represent an internode.
Squeeze this part completely flat! After the squeeze has been performed you’ll be able to bend/fold the stem in the direction desired and hopefully not break the 'skin' of the stem. That’s it!
If the squeeze has not been done correctly, more than likely the stem will actually snap, this is not the end of the world as they could still recover, however because of the now open wound, bacteria, pathogens and anything looking to feast may be attracted.
SuperCropping is classified as a High Stress Training (HST) technique, which will stress the plant out as a result. It is recommended if you do make use of SuperCropping, to avoid damaging too many branches in one session, as this can hurt the plant past the point of recovery.