High Stress vs Low Stress Training

Want a huge ganja garden come harvest? Of course you do…it’s the goal of most cannabis cultivators. And whether you’re growing one plant or 100, it’s all about harvesting as much weed as you possibly can.

A huge harvest takes work (no matter how many plants you’re growing), and there are certain things you can do to see the results you’re looking for. Understanding about training your cannabis plants is a definite need-to-know when growing your own garden.

Why Train Your Cannabis Plants?

Thick colas are the goalTraining plants is something growers do to harvest more bud. When cannabis is left to grow on its own, it will produce one main cola. And while this cola is apt to grow into a nice dense nug, it’s not going to give you the highest yield possible off that plant.

Training your plants, however, will allow for more even growth and produce more buds than just one large bud. There are different techniques that can exponentially increase your yield no matter how many plants you might be growing.

Training methods for growing marijuana are broken up into two different categories and are typically dependent on indoor vs. outdoor grows. These methods are known as low-stress training (LST) and high-stress training (HST).

Low-Stress Training (LST)

Low-stress training (LST) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a technique that doesn’t cause your plants any stress or damage them in the slightest. It’s a great way to train indoor plants and is a technique commonly used by experienced indoor growers.

There are few distinct types of low-stress training. These include: low-stress training (LST), sea of green (SOG), and screen of green (SCROG).

Low-Stress Training (LST)

This process of training your marijuana plants involves gently bending the plants as they grow. When branches become too long, they are simply tied down. This process continues through the entire vegetative cycle of the plant’s growth. Tying plants down in this method allows auxin (the hormone that influences the plant’s growth) to distribute more evenly throughout the plant. The result? More buds sprouting from this plant that’s been trained to grow in a circular pattern rather than just straight up with just one large cola.

Sea of Green (SOG)

Sea of green helps promote growthThe Sea of Green (SOG) method of training your cannabis plants forces flowering at a young age. It typically occurs when plants are only about two weeks into the vegetative stage, allowing growers to harvest much sooner than they would with conventional growing methods.

SOG is usually used when there is limited area in the grow room. It allows you to harvest as much as you can in as little time as possible. Essentially, growers get more harvests and more weed.

This training technique works best with 4 or more plants spaced within a 1 square-foot area. The objective is to create a canopy with all the plants together that allow for evenly distributed light. Seeds or clones should be under light for 18-24 hours until they reach a height of 10-12 inches, then be put on 12/12 to force flowering. The SOG method will produce a nice even canopy of buds

Screen of Green (SCROG)

This method involves using a screen on top of growing marijuana plants. Then you just wait for the plants to grow up through the screen. Once they do begin to stretch up through the screen, just gently tuck the branches back into the screen.

SCROG is a relatively easy and straightforward way to train your plants to maximize your harvest. Rather than grow straight up, plants grow out in a canopy through the screen, producing a big bouquet of beautiful buds when its all said and done.

High-Stress Training

High stress training is more common in outdoor growsHigh-stress training techniques are more commonly found in bigger outdoor growsIt’s important to keep in mind that HST should only be done during the plant’s vegetative state. The last thing you want to do is stress your plants out when they’re flowering. When done throughout the growth cycle of your plant, however, HST methods are a great way to get potentially huge yields in the fall. Following are a few of the most common ways to do so.

Topping

Topping your cannabis plants is about as easy as it gets. All you need to do for this simple method of HST is pinch the top of your plant between your fingernails, then break it off. This allows for two new branches to grow where before only the main branch would have grown.

Topping should be repeated throughout the vegetative growth cycle of your plant. This will allow your plant grow to its maximum density, training it to become full, healthy, and full of big, beautiful buds.

“Fuck I Missed” (FIM)

This is the more complex method of topping your plants. Instead of removing the entire top of the plant to produce two new stems, you only remove half of it, looking like you “missed” the top. The FIM training technique can result in 4 or more new growth sites on your plant.

While this method will produce more stems and eventually more buds, it’s also more complicated and easy to mess up. Plants also run a greater risk for developing an infection because a clean cut isn’t made on the plant. It’s also more time intensive and requires a tool rather than just your fingernail.

Super Cropping

This high-stress training technique works by slightly hurting your plants to some extent in a calculated way. Liking other training methods, super cropping should be done during the vegetative state, but when plants have matured with several healthy branches. The goal of super cropping is to harm the inner tissue of the stem without breaking the outside of the stem.

Super cropping is done by grabbing the branch and squeezing it between the forefinger and thumb where you want it to bend. You will then roll and wriggle the stem between your fingers for about 10 seconds to make it as loose as possible where you want it to bend. Do this until the stem is soft enough to bend but doesn’t break. Then secure the stem to stay bent with twist ties or regular zip ties.

Both low-stress and high-stress training can be done to increase your yields and have a bigger harvest, every harvest. Training cannabis plants to grow as much bud as possible has been done by growers for decades and is a sure way to see the success you’re looking for when venturing into the world of growing your own.

Jen Keehn

About the author: Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic therapy.