Plant training techniques to increase yields
When your plants are in a vegetive state they can become very large in a little under 4 weeks, try not to let them grow too large when growing indoors it’ll only mean light starved flowers and hours of trimming later on. This is where plant training comes in handy.
There are many techniques when it comes to plant training, let’s explore a few;
Lolli-popping is a training technique that relies on “the less is more” approach, by removing light starved or weaker less developed growth, the grower aims to create a 'Lollipop' like structure to the plant with heavy defoliation, leaving the plant looking similar to a Lollipop by having long, bare branches and all the plant mass near the top half of each branch.
This concept is aimed at increasing the flower size per branch providing a significant increase in weight and floral development by forcing the plant to redirect all its energy to the remaining growth on the plant, not wasting any on maintaining plant mass that will not be harvested.
Main-lining or Manifolding
The concept here is that each growth node or main branch forms its own cluster network of branches that as a result of the training receive an equal distribution of nutrient solution.
Training is performed throughout the vegetation phase of the seedling as this will “set-up” our plant structure ready for the flowering phase, it is also much easier to shape a younger seedling than it is an established clone, which is worth keeping in mind if time constraints become an issue, both seedling and clonal main-lining can successfully be achieved. End result is larger yields but the tradeoff is a longer vegetating period.
Main-lining was coined by nugbuckets and he has done a very impressive tutorial page and pictured explanation so after reading this jump over and use his pictures as reference for what you’re trying to do. Google link here
SCRoG (Screen Of Green) is a very popular plant training technique where the grower would 'top' (cut the main stem off at the top) a vegging plant and encourage/weave the branching or new growth through a horizontal trellis net to keep the height of the plant consistent and canopy flat. This can take some practice to get right but once you have figured it out it’s a great way a to maximize yields in height restricted spaces.
Once your trellis net or SCRoG screen is completely full, you will need to remove all growth under the main canopy, leaving this growth to develop will result in undesirable outcomes, usually fluffy and undeveloped buds due to lack of light. If you look under the canopy you can see the shade, anything that exists in this space should be removed, i.e. thin stems with weak growth patterns. Yields are maximized for the space as this training method aims to boost efficiency of your grow relative to its environment.
LST - Bending/Tying down
Last but not least we have what is commonly called 'LST' (Low stress training), in reference to bending or tying down your plants branches. This is essentially a manual form of SCRoG training as you are bending your branches and tying them down to restrict vertical growth and keep your plants short and consistent in canopy level while manipulating your plants development to your desired shape or size.
This is a very effective and basic beginners way of training your plants with little to no stress, or 'LST'.
There are many other forms of plant training, these seem to be the most popular currently and all would fall into the category of Low Stress Training (LST), posing little risk to your plants health by using these techniques.
If there are any question you have or you have coined your own technique submit it in the comments section! Happy growing!