Low Stress Training (LST) is a great technique used to increase overall yield, primarily used earlier on when plant stems and branches are flexible.
Traditional grow vs LST grow
If a plant is left to grow in its natural state the flow of gibberellins and auxin flow one way upward, this is named Apical dominance, a process where all energy flows one way to produce a single inflorescence. Low stress training allows the grower to train branches flat so all internodal growth will turn up towards the light and develop off the stem with much better consistency and inflorescence uniformity, apical dominance has now been re-distributed returning many equal sized buds.
The initial benefits of LST are an increased amount of airflow and a huge increase in light exposure. Better airflow is a great benefit of LST gardening and can have a tremendous impact on your plants allowing better airflow, which in turn gives greater CO2 availability. These two factors on their own are a great reason to train your plants like this, some of the most successful perpetual gardeners combine multiple techniques together, and most, if not all, would employ the LST in the vegetative phase in conjunction with other methods.
How to perform Low Stress Training
There is no special tool or trick just, manipulation and tying branches down using a multitude of product innovations available. Good old garden twine or wire tied down and fix in place will work perfectly.
Bending any well-developed branch is risky so gradually perform your LST using tension if you find the branches are too strong and woody, then you must gradually adjust the tension each day until the desired branch or canopy level has been achieved.
This brings us straight into the next tip for LST, always aim to perform your LST while your plant has malleable branches, often found in the vegetative phase of growth.
Which training method is best?
It’s way too subjective to say which is better, I guess by trialing all of the available training methods you get to form your own preference. Remember, different training methods have different pros and cons, you will use each depending on a variety of factors, LST being the safest and easiest training method by far.