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Quick Guide to Marijuana Training Techniques


by: Sirius Fourside

A cannabis plant growing in its typically, inefficient manner.Once a grower is able to successfully take a plant from seed (or clone) to harvest, a common new goal is: “How can I do it better?”

Although cannabis is a weed and has an easy time growing, it doesn’t grow in an efficient manner.

Cannabis tends to grow in the shape of a christmas tree, which unfortunately means that one part of the plant is usually getting much more light than the others.

That’s when “Cannabis Training” comes in!

Cannabis Training is when growers use established or improvised techniques to alter the natural growth pattern of a marijuana plant, usually to increase efficiency and yields.

There are already many methods available to train your plant. There are so many methods available in fact, that many people get confused or intimidated and opt to not try any of them.

Today, I’ll give you my cheat notes on the most popular methods of training plants:

  • Defoliation
  • Fimming
  • Topping
  • LST (Low Stress Training)
  • Main-Lining

 

Defoliation

Defoliation before, after and 8 days later.What It Does:

Defoliation is a controversial technique that involves removing fan leaves to increase energy spent on bud sites. Defoliation is also thought to limit the amount that a plant will grow vertically.

How To Do It:

To defoliate a plant, a grower would use their hands or scissors to remove fan leaves from the plant. These are the leaves that grow right under the bud site and has a long stem with just a single fan leaf on it.

Pros:

  • Easy to do.
  • Higher yields (more light to more bud sites = more bud)
  • Creates more space between branches for bud sites to capitalize on.
  • Tends to shorten the overall height of plants.
  • Decreases chances of White Powdery Mold

Cons:

  • A bit scary/dangerous; one wrong cut can remove future buds
  • Less room for error (deficiencies hit bud sites first)
  • Some growers claim defoliation actually stunts plant growth instead of helping
  • Sirius: I picked up defoliation after Nebula covered an article about its benefits. Since then, I defoliate in every grow and I’d definitely stand behind it as a valid way to increase efficiency and yields.

Read more about cannabis defoliation

 

Topping

What It Does:

Topping is a method used to essentially force the cannabis plant to have two main colas instead of the normal one. Main colas almost always have the highest concentration of buds (by weight), so yields are noticeably increased even if nothing else is done besides topping.

How To Do It:

Not only is Topping easy to do, but it only takes seconds and is totally done afterwards. To top your plant, you’ll need to wait until it grows at least 3 to 5 nodes. To finishing topping, simply cut off the newest node right above the leaves of the node below.

How to Top your marijuana plant.

Pros:

  • Super easy to do
  • Increases yields by a noticeable amount
  • One cut; do it once and it’s done!

Cons:

  • Can be intimidating to cut off the top of a plant.

Read more about topping

 

Fimming

What It Does:

Fimming is like topping in that it forces the plant to grow extra colas. However, fimming forces a plant to grow 4 main colas while topping only creates 2.

How To Do It:

As with topping, a grower should wait until their plant has at least 3 to 5 nodes before going through with fimming. When ready to fim your plant, pinch the leaves of the newest growth between your index finger and thumb. See the picture to the right for a detailed look.

How to FIM a plant.

Pros:

  • Super easy to do
  • Noticeable increase to yields
  • Works extremely well with LST
  • Pinch it once, and the work is all done.

Cons:

  • None! In the worst case (if not fimmed correctly), you’ll have a plant with a few weird looking leaves that still function.

Learn more about FIMing

 

LST (Low Stress Training)

2 views of a LST'd plantWhat It Does:

Low Stress Training - or LST - allows growers to change the actual shape of the plant by slowly bending the stems downward in a deliberate pattern. The stems will then grow vertically again, but now they will be better placed to allow light to contact more bud sites.

How To Do It:

Anyone who has done LST will agree that it’s an art in its own right. The basics are to use twistie-tie, twine, or something similar to tie to a stem. Next, the other end of the twistie-tie/twine/etc. is anchored in such a way as to bend the stem downward. This can be accomplished by tying the twine/etc. to the pot/bucket the plant is growing in. The stems are meant to be pulled away from each other to maximize growing space.

Pros:

  • Drastically increases yields when done correctly
  • Manages height of plants; makes shorter plants with more buds!
  • Makes much more effective use of lights
  • Works amazingly with fimming

Cons:

  • Can be dangerous for plants if bent too much at one time
  • Takes more work than some other training methods since plants will need to be LST’d multiple times (per branch)

Learn more about LST

 

Mainlining

What It Does:

Mainlining is a modified way of topping a plant multiple times to get it to distribute energy equally to all nodes. When done correctly, all remaining branches will get a equivalent amount of energy from the roots, and as such, grow to a similar size.

The base of a traditionally grown, and a main-lined plant.

How To Do It:

Before attempting mainlining, growers should be very comfortable with topping as it involves topping the same plant multiple times. Below is the abridged version of how to mainline a plant.

Please note that these steps are just to get you acquainted with what’s involved in mainlining, these are not complete steps!

  1. Wait for the plant to grow 5-6 nodes.
  2. Find a node with symmetrical branches.
  3. Top the plant down to that node, and allow plant to recover.
  4. After plant has recovered, top side branches again right above symmetrical nodes (same node on both sides).
  5. Repeat step 4 once more.
  6. Remove any small, larfy growth.

Pros:

  • Equal distribution of energy makes for a hearty, good looking plant
  • No small, larfy buds. All energy goes into huge colas
  • Makes for very efficient use of growing light

Cons:

  • Time consuming
  • Involves lots of cutting on the plant (topping) which can slightly increase total grow time
  • Doesn’t work with fimming

Read more about main-lining

 

Even though we’ve gone through all these, there are still more techniques to train your marijuana plants. In fact, there are two that are VERY popular that were skipped to keep this article from getting too lengthy.

If you want to find out more about them, check out our articles on:

ScrOG (Screen of Green)

ScrOG!

 

and Super Cropping

How to super crop your plants.

What’s that? You say we missed an awesome technique?

Let us know about it by replying to this email!

Happy Growing!

 


 

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